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J Appl Microbiol. 2012 Mar;112(3):605-13. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2672.2012.05231.x. Epub 2012 Jan 31.

Molecular detection and genotyping of human noroviruses in influent and effluent water at a wastewater treatment plant in Japan.

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1
Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA. kitajima.masaaki@gmail.com

Abstract

AIMS:

To investigate the prevalence, seasonality and genotype distribution of human noroviruses (NoVs) in wastewater in Japan.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

Influent and effluent water samples were collected monthly for a year from a wastewater treatment plant and examined for the presence of genogroups I and II (GI and GII) NoVs. Using real-time reverse transcription (RT)-PCR assays, 12 (100%) influent and six (50%) effluent samples were positive for both GI and GII NoV genomes, with a higher prevalence in winter. A total of 152 different NoV strains, comprising 84 GI and 68 GII strains, were identified using seminested RT-PCR assays followed by cloning and sequence analysis. These strains were classified into nine GI genotypes (GI/1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12 and 14) and 13 GII genotypes (GII/1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15 and 16), showing considerable genetic diversity.

CONCLUSIONS:

Based on the partial capsid gene sequences, we identified a great number of NoV strains belonging to many genotypes, demonstrating that genetically diverse NoV strains are co-circulating in aquatic environments and human populations.

SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY:

Our results clearly demonstrate the seasonal trend and genetic diversity of NoVs in wastewater.

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