Q-266. Viruses Found in Sewage and Their Potential to Indicate Fecal Pollution in Coastal Waters

E. M. Symonds, K. Rosario, M. Breitbart;
Univ. of South Florida, Saint Petersburg, FL.

The presence of pathogenic viruses in coastal environments is potentially an important tool in evaluating water quality and health risks. Millions of viruses are excreted in fecal matter and bacterial indicators do not correlate with the presence of pathogenic viruses. Enteroviruses have been used to identify fecal pollution in the environment; however, other viruses transmitted via the fecal-oral route could indicate fecal pollution. The purpose of this research is to develop a baseline understanding of the diversity of viruses found in raw sewage and to assess their presence in the marine environment. PCR was used to detect Adenoviridae, Herpesviridae, Papillomaviridae, Reoviridae, Hepadnaviridae, Caliciviridae, Paramyxoviridae, Tobamoviridae, and Picobirnaviruses in viruses concentrated from raw sewage throughout the United States and from five marine environments ranging in their proximity to dense human populations. Adenovirus, Norovirus, Pepper Mild Mottle Virus, and Picobirnavirus were detected in raw sewage but absent in the marine environment, making these viruses potential markers of fecal pollution in marine environments. Since Pepper Mild Mottle Virus was consistently found in human sewage but not in feces from other animals, this virus may be a useful for source tracking of fecal contamination. Furthermore, this research uncovered previously unknown sequence diversity in human Picobirnaviruses. This baseline understanding of viruses in raw sewage and the marine environment will enable educated decisions to be made regarding the use of viruses in water quality assessments.