Seasonality of enteric viruses in groundwater-derived public water sources

Sorensen, James P.R.; Aldous, Phil; Bunting, Sarah Y.; McNally, Susan; Townsend, Barry R.; Barnett, Megan J.; Harding, Tessa; La Ragione, Roberto M.; Stuart, Marianne E.; Tipper, Holly J. ORCID:; Pedley, Steve. 2021 Seasonality of enteric viruses in groundwater-derived public water sources. Water Research, 207, 117813. 11, pp.

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We investigated the seasonal prevalence of seven enteric viruses in groundwater-derived public water sources distributed across the dominant aquifers of England. Sampling targeted four periods in the hydrological cycle with typically varying microbial risks, as indicated using a decade of Escherichia coli prevalence data. Viruses were concentrated onsite by filtration of raw groundwater, and extracted nucleic acid (NA) was amplified by qPCR or RT-qPCR. Seven out of eight sources, all aquifers, and 31% of samples were positive for viral NA. The most frequently detected viral NA targets were Hepatitis A virus (17% samples, 63% sites), norovirus GI (14% samples, 38% sites), and Hepatitis E virus (7% samples, 25% sites). Viral NA presence was episodic, being most prevalent and at its highest concentration during November and January, the main groundwater recharge season, with 89% of all positive detects occurring during a rising water table. Seasonal norovirus NA detections matched its seasonal incidence within the population. Viral NA is arriving with groundwater recharge, as opposed to persisting for long-periods within the saturated zone. Neither total coliforms nor E. coli were significant predictors of viral NA presence-absence, and there was limited co-occurrence between viruses. Nevertheless, a source with an absence of E. coli in regularly collected historical data is unlikely to be at risk of viral contamination. To manage potential groundwater viral contamination via risk assessment, larger scale studies are required to understand key risk factors, with the evidence here suggesting viral NA is widespread across a range of typical microbial risk settings.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Soils and Land Use (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 0043-1354
Additional Keywords: GroundwaterBGS, groundwater, virus, risk, indicator, E. coli, hepatitis virus
NORA Subject Terms: Health
Date made live: 13 Dec 2021 15:03 +0 (UTC)

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