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Res Microbiol. 2001 Mar;152(2):179-86.

Qualitative and quantitative molecular detection of enteroviruses in water from bathing areas and from a sewage treatment plant.

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Laboratoire de virologie, Université Victor Ségalen Bordeaux 2, France.


Pathogenic enteric viruses can be introduced into the environment as a result of human activities. Enteroviruses are regularly detected in environmental waters or shellfish and can provoke potentially serious diseases. Some authors believe that enteroviruses could represent an interesting indicator of viral contamination in the environment. Since molecular approaches seem to be promising for the detection of these viruses, we developed a simple qualitative RT-PCR procedure for enteroviruses, together with a quantitative RT-PCR assay using RNA internal standard. After one-tube-RT-PCR, this standard and wild enterovirus RNA were detected by differential hybridization with specific probes and a fluorimetric reaction. The quantification of enteroviruses, conducted in a sewage treatment plant, showed a decreasing number of genomic copies from the entrance to the exit (from 3.8 x 10(5) to 5.4 x 10(4) RNA copies/mL) but indicated the presence of enterovirus RNA in the neighboring river (2.2 x 10(3) RNA copies/mL). In bathing areas, enterovirus RNA was detected in 16 out of 226 samples, with copies numbers ranging from 3.7 x 10(2) RNA copies/mL to 7 x 10(4) RNA copies/mL.

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