Science Inventory



Fout, G S. OCCURRENCE OF ENTERIC VIRUSES IN SURFACE WATERS. Presented at USGS Workshop "Building Capabilities for Monitoring & Assessment of Public Health Microbiology, Columbus, OH, March 14-16, 2000.


Overarching Objectives and Links to Multi-Year Planning

This task directly supports the Drinking Water Research Program Multi-Year Plan's long term goal to "develop scientifically sound data and approaches to characterize and manage risks to human health posed by exposure to waterborne pathogens and chemicals" under GRPA Goal 2 (Clean and Safe Water). The overarching objective is to provide the Office of Water, Agency risk assessors and managers, academics, the scientific community, state regulators, water industry and industry spokes groups with exploratory occurrence and exposure data on human enteric viruses. These data will improve the quality of risk-based assessments and tools used by the Agency to set regulations, policies and priorities for protecting human health and allow the Agency to assure the public that the appropriate methods are being used to demonstrate that drinking water is safe from pathogenic agents.

Specific Subtask Objectives:

o Conduct an exploratory occurrence studies on emerging human waterborne pathogenic viruses and viruses on the Contaminant Candidate List (CCL) in water (Subtask A; to be completed by 9/05 in support of LTG 1 (due 2010)).

o Determine the relationship of bacterial virus indicators to human enteric virus occurrence in the above studies (Subtask A; to be completed by 9/05 in support of LTG 1 (due 2010)).

o Develop a non-invasive assay for measuring human exposure to viruses (Subtask B; to be completed by 9/05 in support of LTG 1 (due 2010)).


Human enteric viruses cause a number of diseases when individuals are exposed to contaminated drinking & recreational waters. Vaccination against poliovirus has virtually eliminated poliomyelitis from the planet. Other members of enterovirus group cause numerous diseases. Hepatitis A and E have caused large waterborne hepatitis outbreaks. 2nd leading cause of illness in U.S. is acute nonbacterial gastroenteritis, which results from infection of suseptible individuals with members of caliciviridae, astroviridae, reviridae & adenoviridae families. First step in establishing risk of waterborne disease from these viruses is to determine levels of occurrence in contaminated waters. This requires methods to recover, identify and measure concentration of viruses in affected waters. Rapid polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methods have been developed to measure virus levels in environmental water. This study was performed to determine whether a multiplex PCR method developed to characterize the occurrence of enteroviruses, reoviruses, rotaviruses, hepatitis A and Norwalk virus in groundwater could be used iwth surface waters. The method was tested using surface waters from 5 USGS NAWQA Program sites selected to provide good geographic coverage of the U.S. and to span a range of hydroclimatic and land-use settings. All sites were found to be positive for two or more of the virus groups during the course of the study. The PCR findings from the NAWQA sites will be used to illustrate these problems and the proper interpretation of PCR-positive results.

Record Details:

Product Published Date: 03/14/2000
Record Last Revised: 06/21/2006
Record ID: 60289