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Water Res. 2004 Jul;38(12):2927-33.

Survival of infectious Poliovirus-1 in river water compared to the persistence of somatic coliphages, thermotolerant coliforms and Poliovirus-1 genome.

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LCPME-UMR 7564 CNRS-UHP, Faculté de Pharmacie, 5 rue Albert Lebrun, B.P. 403, 54001 Nancy, France.


The microbiological quality of water is currently assessed by search for fecal bacteria indicators. There is, however, a body of knowledge demonstrating that bacterial indicators are less resistant to environmental factors than human pathogenic viruses and therefore underestimate the viral risk. As river water is often used as a resource for drinking water production, it is particularly important to obtain a valid estimation of the health hazard, including specific viral risk. This work was conducted to compare the survival of infectious Poliovirus-1 used as a pathogenic virus model to the persistence of, on the one hand, thermotolerant coliforms commonly used as indicators and on the other hand, to somatic coliphages and Poliovirus-1 genome considered as potential indicators. We studied the behavior of infectious Poliovirus-1 and the three (potential) indicators of viral contamination in river water at three different temperatures (4 degrees C,18 degrees C and 25 degrees C). This experiment was performed twice with river water sampled at two different periods, once in winter and once in summer. Our results showed that the survival of thermotolerant coliforms can be 1.5-fold lower than infectious Poliovirus-1. In contrast, under all our experimental conditions, somatic coliphages and Poliovirus-1 genome persisted longer than infectious Poliovirus-1, surviving, respectively, 2-6-fold and about 2-fold longer than infectious Poliovirus-1. According to our results exclusively based on survival capacity, somatic coliphages and viral genome, unlike thermotolerant coliforms appear to be better indicators of viral contamination in river water. Moreover, the disappearance of viral genome is well-correlated to that one of infectious virus irrespective of the conditions tested.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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