Molecular detection of waterborne human and bovine enteric viruses in a multi-use coastal watershed in Southeast Georgia, USA
Fong, Theng Theng
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The stringent host specificity of enteric viruses makes them good library-independent markers for identification of water pollution sources. Here we developed molecular assays targeting human enteroviruses (HEV), bovine enteroviruses (BEV) and human adenoviruses (HAdV) to examine the microbiological water quality in the lower Altamaha River, Georgia. Water samples were collected monthly from five tidally influenced stations, and analyzed by (RT)-nested PCR and dot-blot hybridization. Human adenoviruses, HEV and BEV were detected in 36.67%, 56.67% and 36.67% of surface water samples. Two-thirds of the samples tested positive for either HEV or HAdV and simultaneous recovery occurred in 25.71 % of samples. Recovery of these viruses was directly related to dissolved oxygen and streamflow, and inversely related to water temperature, rainfall and chlorophyll-a concentrations but not significantly related to coliform indicator levels. Viral detection by PCR is an easy-to-use tool for rapid assessment of fecal contamination sources.