Total microbial quality assessment and geographical information system were used for evaluating the quality
of water and the spatial distribution of diarrhoea cases in Tshikuwi, a rural community in South Africa,
during an outbreak of diarrhoea. The water-abstraction points included two groundwater storage tanks,
namely Tank 1 and Tank 2 and the Khandanama river. Indicator microbial counts for total coliforms, faecal
coliforms, enterococci, and heterotrophic bacteria exceeded the limit for no risk as stipulated by the South
African water-quality guidelines for domestic use for Tank 1 and the Khandanama river. Vibrio
species were prevalent in the Khandanama river. The spatial distribution of diarrhoea cases
showed a hot-spot of diarrhoea cases close to Tank 1 and the Khandanama river. Results of chi-square
analysis showed that the proportion of infection from each water source was different or that infection
depends on the type of water source (α=0.05). The demonstrated spatial clustering of diarrhoea cases might
have been influenced by the poor microbial quality of water used from Tank 1 and the Khandanama river.
The results further highlight the urgent need of water-treatment facilities and monitoring of water quality
in rural communities of South Africa.