Skip common site navigation and headers
United States Environmental Protection Agency
Exposure Research
Begin Hierarchical Links EPA Home > Research & Development > Exposure Research > Publications/Presentations > End Hierarchical Links

 

The Significance of Enteric Viruses and Waterborne Illness

spacer
spacer
Abstract:With growing concern over drinking water safety, considerable attention has been directed towards microbial pathogens in source waters, and the adequacy of current methods used to detect, monitor and treat for these pathogens. The focus has been on bacterial and protozoan pathogens such as E. coli and Cryptosporidium, when in fact, pathogenic viruses are estimated to account for more than half of all waterborne disease outbreaks. This is significant because, despite recent advances in this field, routine monitoring of human viruses in water supplies is essentially non-existent, for several reasons. Viruses are by far the most difficult group of pathogens to detect and confirm in source water. Use of available methods is limited by prohibititive cost and lack of facilities and trained personnel. Current molecular methods used to detect, identify and confirm viruses from clinical samples cannot be applied directly to most source waters. Due to the low infectious dose of many human enteric viruses, the application of these methods to source waters is limited by the need to concentrate virus from large sample volumes (up to 200L) of water. Organic and inorganic components which tend to inhibit molecular viral detection methodology are typically present in source water and co-concentrate along with virus. The presence of virus should be of particular concern in small communities with poor source waters and rudimentary or inadequate treatment. It is also thought that the risk increases in high density urban areas, since many wastewater treatment processes reduce, but do not completely inactivate viral pathogens. The result is that many illnesses are not traced to a drinking or recreational water source, and thus the true impact of viruses on human health is unknown. A crucial need exists to: i) develop feasible and effective detection and monitoring methods, ii) use these to estimate viral pathogen occurrence and frequency in water supplies in order to better understand outbreaks and iii) develop strategies for the control of these pathogens.
spacer
Citation:Ruecker, N. J., J. Lawrence, H. G. Peterson, G. S. Fout, G. Appleyard, and N. Christofi. The Significance of Enteric Viruses and Waterborne Illness. Presented at 10th National Conference and 1st Policy Forum on Drinking Water, Halifax, Nova Scotia, April 27-30, 2002.
spacer
spacer
Contact: Mary P. O'Bryant - (919)-541-4871 or obriant.mary@epa.gov
spacer
Division: Microbiological & Chemical Exposure Assessment Division
spacer
Branch: Biohazard Assessment Research Branch
spacer
Product Type: Abstrct/Oral
spacer
Presented: 04/27/2002
spacer
Related Entries:
spacer
Bullet Item Detecting Ccl-Related, Emerging Waterborne Human Viruses and Viral Indicators for Exposure Assessment
spacer Relationship Reason:   A Project of the Product
spacer
spacer
spacer

 

ORD Home | Search EPA | Search NERL | Search EIMS | Contacts | Help

 
Begin Site Footer

EPA Home | Privacy and Security Notice | Contact Us

Last Updated on Monday, October 22, 2007
URL: http://cfpub.epa.gov