A number of biological and chemical tests have been developed over the years to determine whether a person was drowned. This study focuses on the potential of a microbiological test for detecting common bacterial markers of water faecal pollution such as faecal coliforms (FC) and faecal streptococci (FS) as possible indicators of drowning. A promising previous study was carried out on central and peripheral blood samples of 42 drowned victims (20 cases in saltwater and 22 cases in freshwater) and 30 notdrowned bodies. To improve the accuracy of our previous results and also in order to investigate a possible cause of a false positive due to pulmonary passive diffusion and subsequently endogenous or exogenous bacterial invasion of the blood in the post-mortem interval (PMI), the FC and FS test was applied to bodies submerged in water but died from causes other than drowning. In the present study, blood samples collected from the left ventricle (LV), right ventricle (RV), femoral artery (FA) and, femoral vein (FV) of 10 drowned victims (5 cases in freshwater and 5 cases in seawater) and 3 not-drowned individuals with bodies submerged in water for a while after death have been analysed. Preliminary results are in agreement with other reports dealing with diatoms and marine bacteria that suggest to exclude the hypothesis of a passive penetration of sufficient quantities of drowning medium into circulation after death or during the agonal period. Based on our results there is also no evidence of a relevant dissemination of endogenous micro-flora from the gastrointestinal tract affecting the FS and FC test. There are still several other factors that could influence the applicability of post-mortem FS and FC cultures for the diagnosis of drowning and they need further investigations. The present article provides only a glimpse of the potential of the FS and FC test as bacteriological method for the diagnosis of drowning.
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1016/j.forsciint.2008.09.004|
|Codice identificativo ISI:||WOS:000262065300003|
|Codice identificativo Scopus:||2-s2.0-56749185557|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|