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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2011 Feb;77(4):1466-74. doi: 10.1128/AEM.01996-10. Epub 2010 Dec 23.

Nationwide groundwater surveillance of noroviruses in South Korea, 2008.

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Department of Microbiology, College of Medicine, the Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Republic of Korea.


To inspect the norovirus contamination of groundwater in South Korea, a nationwide study was performed in the summer (June to August) and winter (October to December) of 2008. Three-hundred sites designated by the government ministry were inspected. Water samples were collected for analysis of water quality, microorganism content, and viral content. Water quality was assessed by temperature, pH, turbidity, residual chlorine, and nitrite nitrogen content. Microorganism contents were analyzed bacteria, total coliforms, Escherichia coli, and bacteriophage. Virus analyses included panenterovirus and norovirus. Two primer sets were used for the detection of norovirus genotypes GI and GII, respectively. Of 300 samples, 65 (21.7%) were norovirus positive in the summer and in 52 (17.3%) were norovirus positive in the winter. The genogroup GI noroviruses that were identified were GI-1, GI-2, GI-3, GI-4, GI-5, GI-6, and GI-8 genotypes; those in the GII genogroup were GII-4 and GII-Yuri genotypes. The analytic data showed correlative relationships between the norovirus detection rate and the following parameters: water temperature and turbidity in physical-chemical parameters and somatic phage in microbial parameters. It is necessary to periodically monitor waterborne viruses that frequently cause epidemic food poisoning in South Korea for better public health and sanitary conditions.

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