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Int J Environ Health Res. 2013 Dec;23(6):544-64. doi: 10.1080/09603123.2013.769205. Epub 2013 Feb 22.

Waterborne human pathogenic viruses of public health concern.

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a Discipline of Microbiology, School of Life Sciences , University of KwaZulu-Natal (Westville) , Durban , South Africa .


In recent years, the impending impact of waterborne pathogens on human health has become a growing concern. Drinking water and recreational exposure to polluted water have shown to be linked to viral infections, since viruses are shed in extremely high numbers in the faeces and vomit of infected individuals and are routinely introduced into the water environment. All of the identified pathogenic viruses that pose a significant public health threat in the water environment are transmitted via the faecal-oral route. This group, are collectively known as enteric viruses, and their possible health effects include gastroenteritis, paralysis, meningitis, hepatitis, respiratory illness and diarrhoea. This review addresses both past and recent investigations into viral contamination of surface waters, with emphasis on six types of potential waterborne human pathogenic viruses. In addition, the viral associated illnesses are outlined with reference to their pathogenesis and routes of transmission.

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