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Water Res. 2009 Mar;43(4):1117-25. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2008.11.053. Epub 2008 Dec 16.

Prevalence of norovirus and factors influencing virus concentrations during one year in a full-scale wastewater treatment plant.

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Division of Medical Microbiology, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Linköping University, 58185 Linköping, Sweden.


Norovirus (NoV) is a leading cause of acute gastroenteritis and is often spread via wastewater contamination. Little is known about how the wastewater treatment process affects norovirus, and which factors influence virus concentrations. To investigate this, we collected wastewater samples monthly during one year at eight different key sites at the municipal wastewater treatment plant in Gothenburg, Sweden. Virus particles were concentrated using ultracentrifugation, viral RNA was subsequently extracted, and transformed into cDNA by reverse transcription. The quantification was performed with real-time PCR assays for NoV genogroups I (GGI) and II (GGII), respectively. We found seasonal changes of NoV genogroups, with the highest concentration of NoV GGII during the winter months, and the highest concentration of NoV GGI during the summer months. Virus transmission in wastewater was more stable for NoV GGI, with NoV GGII demonstrating larger seasonal peaks. Virus reduction took place at similar rates in the primary settling, and in the activated sludge in combination with the secondary settling. Different physicochemical parameters and incoming virus concentrations were correlated to reduction of NoV between different treatment sites. This study gives new information about NoV transmission and virus reduction in a wastewater treatment plant.

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