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Journal of Water and Health In Press, Uncorrected Proof © IWA Publishing 2012  |  doi:10.2166/wh.2012.011

Comparison of enterovirus and adenovirus concentration and enumeration methods in seawater from Southern California, USA and Baja Malibu, Mexico

Lauren M. Sassoubre, David C. Love, Andrea I. Silverman, Kara L. Nelson and Alexandria B. Boehm

Environmental and Water Studies, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-4020. E-mail: aboehm@stanford.edu
(corresponding author) Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, 94720-1710 E-mail: nelson@berkeley.edu

First received 5 January 2012; accepted in revised form 22 April 2012. Available online 30 May 2012


ABSTRACT

Despite being important etiological agents of waterborne illness, the sources, transport and decay of human viruses in recreational waters are not well understood. This study examines enterovirus and adenovirus concentrations in coastal water samples collected from four beaches impacted by microbial pollution: (1) Malibu Lagoon, Malibu; (2) Tijuana River, Imperial Beach; (3) Baja Malibu, Baja California; and (4) Punta Bandera, Baja California. Water samples were concentrated using a flocculation-based skim milk method and dead-end membrane filtration (MF). Viruses were enumerated using cell culture infectivity assays and reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-QPCR). Across concentration and quantification methods, enteroviruses were detected more often than adenoviruses. For both viruses, MF followed by RT-QCPR yielded higher concentrations than skim milk flocculation followed by RT-QPCR or cell culture assays. Samples concentrated by skim milk flocculation and enumerated by RT-QPCR agreed more closely with concentrations enumerated by cell culture assays than MF followed by RT-QPCR. The detection of viruses by MF and RT-QPCR was positively correlated with the presence of infectious viruses. Further research is needed to determine if detection of viruses by rapid methods such as RT-QPCR can be a useful water quality monitoring tool to assess health risks in recreational waters.

Keywords: adenovirus; beach water quality; cell culture; enterovirus; QPCR


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