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Molecular detection of multiple viral targets in untreated urban sewage from Greece

Author(s): Kokkinos Petros | Ziros Panos | Mpalasopoulou Αggeliki | Galanis Alexis | Vantarakis Apostolos

Journal: Virology Journal
ISSN 1743-422X

Volume: 8;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 195;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Abstract Background Urban sewage virological analysis may produce important information about the strains that cause clinical and subclinical infections in the population, thus supporting epidemiological studies. Methods In the present study, a twenty one-month survey (November 2007 to July 2009) was conducted in order to evaluate the presence of human adenoviruses (hAdV), hepatitis A viruses (HAV), hepatitis E viruses (HEV), Noroviruses (NoV), and human Polyomaviruses (hPyV) in untreated sewage samples collected from the inlet of Patras' municipal biological wastewater treatment plant, located in southwestern Greece. Nucleic acid amplification techniques were applied for viral nucleic acid detection. Positive samples were confirmed by sequencing and comparative phylogenetic analysis was performed on the isolated viral strains. Results In total, viruses were detected in 87.5% (42/48) of sewage samples. AdVs, PyVs, HAV, and NoVs were detected in 45.8% (22/48), 68.8% (33/48), 8.3% (4/48), and 6.3% (3/48) of the samples collected from the plant's inlet, while HEV was not detected at all. Adenovirus types 8 (Ad8), 40 (Ad40) and 41 (Ad41) were recognized, while JC and BK polyomaviruses were recorded. Noroviruses were identified as GII.4. HAV was typed as genotype IA. Conclusions Our study demonstrates the advantages of environmental surveillance as a tool to elucidate the molecular epidemiology of community circulating viruses. We underline the need of environmental surveillance programs in countries such as Greece with inadequate and problematic epidemiological surveillance system and no environmental surveillance system currently in action.
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