NANObeST - Mission scenarios

For the development of the analytical instruments, mission scenarios typical for the THW and other aid organizations were used as a starting point.

1)      Microbial contamination:

a. Timely detection and quantification of microbial contamination in raw water sources: It is, especially in the early phase of a mission, important to screen potential raw water sources for fecal contamination. On the one hand, this reduces the risk for the volunteers; on the other hand, it prevents the water purification plant to be installed at an unfavorable location. The same applies to the rehabilitation (reactivation) of wells, especially during international missions.   

b. Quality control of supplied drinking water: In crisis situations, drinking water has to be subject to constant monitoring while being supplied to the population, e.g. from water tank trucks, and also during the water purification process. Here, the total bacterial count can detect microbial pollution of the sample, and indicates a lack of sanitation and an onset of contamination in the drinking water reservoir.

A waiting period of one and a half to two days due to the currently available method of analysis is hardly acceptable in these situations.

2)      Hazard identification for helpers: To accommodate helpers during large scale operations, unused buildings are often used. Since the drinking water systems might have been inoperative for a prolonged period of time, a contamination with legionella is likely. As conventional methods take at least seven days to analyze legionella, a faster analysis is indispensable.

3)      Analysis of toxins and prevention of the spread of disease: Particularly during the foreign missions of SEEWA, the presence of toxins, above all the cholera toxin, must be expected. The hygienic conditions on-site are often disastrous. The spread of infectious diseases like cholera can be stopped or at least confined if the toxins can be detected and identified directly.