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Water Res. 2006 Jul;40(12):2387-96. Epub 2006 Jun 5.

Quantitation of hepatitis A virus and enterovirus levels in the lagoon canals and Lido beach of Venice, Italy, using real-time RT-PCR.

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Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, CA 92182, USA.


In order to assess the microbial water quality of the lagoon canals of Venice, Italy and nearby beach on Lido island, a study was conducted using real-time RT-PCR to enumerate levels of hepatitis A virus (HAV) and enteroviruses in these marine waters over a 3-year period from 2003 to 2005. A total of 17 sites (9 lagoon canal and 8 beach sites) were assayed. For the canals of the Venice Lagoon, 78% were positive for both HAV and enteroviruses, with levels ranging from 75 to 730 and 3 to 1,614 genome copies/L, respectively. At Lido beach, HAV was never detected, but enteroviruses were detected in all Lido beach samples at levels ranging from 2 to 71 genome copies/L. There was a statistically significant correlation between thermotolerant coliform densities and HAV levels (p=0.0002), but the relationship between thermotolerant coliform densities and enterovirus levels was not significant (p>0.05). Despite the fact that enteroviruses were detected at low levels in the surfzone at Lido beach, the risk for enteroviral infection (calculated using the beta-Poisson model) for recreational exposure from swimming, was in the range of 1.9 x 10(-3) - 6.1 x 10(-2), yielding a disease risk at or below the level (5% for gastroenteritis) deemed acceptable by European Guide standards.

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