This study was aimed to identify and test the antibiotic sensitivity of bacterial isolates of public health concern from Lake Hawassa. Human and livestock activities in and around the lake adversely influence the quality of the lake water and pose a health risk for those people which are being exposed to the water. Therefore identifying pathogenic bacterial isolates and their antibiotic sensitivity pattern can be important to manage the associated public health impacts and give information to health workers in the area about the drug of choice. Seventy-nine (79) bacterial isolates such as Escherichia coli 22 (27.06%), Klebsiella species. 12 (16.47%), Citrobacter 11 (12.94%), Proteus species. 9 (10.59%), Shigella 9 (10.59%), Staphylococcus aureus 8 (9.41%), Pseudomonas aeruginosa 6(7.06%), and Salmonella 5 (5.88%), respectively were isolated from the lake. Of the total (79) isolates, 75(94.94), 74(96.20), 2 (2.53%) and 2 (2.53%) of them were resistant to amoxicillin, ampicillin, norfloxacillin, and kanamycin, respectively. High resistance of all bacteria to amoxicillin and ampicillin was seen in the study area which outermost the resistance seen in other similar study. The results indicated that persistent use of antibiotics against human diseases may pollute the lake water and their impact on developing antibiotic resistant may be a serious threat in both health and environment. Therefore, proper measure should be taken against different sources of contaminants that deteriorate the Lake water. Health professionals should pay attention while prescribing amoxicillin and ampicillin to treat patients suffering from infection caused by pathogenic bacteria isolated from the study area.
Key words: Public health, antibiotic sensitivity, lake water, bacterial isolate, Hawassa, Ethiopia.
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