Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Viruses bathe in rivers and at the beach, too, European study finds

Date:
July 9, 2011
Source:
Plataforma SINC
Summary:
European researchers have found viruses in nearly 40% of more than 1,400 bathing water samples gathered from coastal and inland areas in nine countries, including Spain. The concentrations found are low, but the scientists are calling for these microorganisms to be monitored in recreational waters, above all at times when their populations skyrocket, as is the case after heavy rains.

Researchers collecting samples of water at beach to analyze for presence of viruses.
Credit: UB

European researchers have found viruses in nearly 40% of more than 1,400 bathing water samples gathered from coastal and inland areas in nine countries, including Spain. The concentrations found are low, but the scientists are calling for these microorganisms to be monitored in recreational waters, above all at times when their populations skyrocket, as is the case after heavy rains.

The European Bathing Water Directive establishes maximum levels for bacteria, in particular Escherichia coli and intestinal enterococcus, which must not be exceeded in order to maintain water quality. For viruses, however, the regulation only suggests that scientific studies should be carried out to help determine reference parameters and reliable detection methods.

Against this backdrop, 16 research groups from the Virobathe project, which is financed by EU funds, analysed the presence of adenoviruses (viruses with DNA) and noroviruses (which have RNA and cause gastroenteritis) in 1,410 samples of swimming water, both freshwater and seawater, in nine European countries. In Spain, for example, scientists from the University of Barcelona (UB) focused on the beaches at Gavà.

The overall results showed that 553 samples contained viruses (39.2% of the total), above all adenoviruses (in 36.4% of the samples, compared with just 9.4% for noroviruses), and more were found in freshwater than saltwater. A small selection of samples also showed that a quarter of the microorganisms had infectious capacity.

Adenoviruses are associated with gastroenteritis in children, some respiratory infections, ear infections and conjunctivitis, although a large part of the population has already been in contact with them and so is resistant to infection by most of the strains.

The study, which has been published in the journal Water Research, says that the presence of infectious adenoviruses and noroviruses in water samples "could pose a risk to health."

More microorganisms after storms

"In general, adenoviruses do not necessarily pose a significant risk to the population (if they are common strains that have already infected most people in childhood and if they remain at low levels). However, we know that virus numbers in bathing waters increase following heavy rains, meaning they could end up reaching dangerous levels," says Rosina Girones, director of the UB's Laboratory of Water and Food Viral Pollution and co-author of the study.

Viruses take longer than bacteria -- which are used as standard indicators -- to return to acceptable levels following heavy rains. In addition, many virus communities survive waste water treatment processes better than bacteria, and are more resistant to seawater.

The researcher highlights the importance of this study: "It shows that we already have a reliable technique that can be easily standardised (quantitative PCR) for detecting and quantifying viruses in bathing waters, which makes it possible to estimate the faecal contamination and quality of water. Aside from this there is no clear correlation between the levels of bacterial indicators cited in the regulation and the presence of the viruses studied."

The data obtained also lend support to the idea of using measurements of human adenoviruses, which are excreted all year long in every geographical area, and are found in 100% of waste water samples, as an indicator of viral water contamination. The Catalan laboratory is one of the promoters of this initiative in Europe.

The Spanish group is currently also participating in the international Viroclime project with four other EU countries and Brazil, in order to analyse the impact of climate change on the dispersal of pathogenic viruses in rivers, lakes and at beaches.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Plataforma SINC. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. A. Peter Wyn-Jones, Annalaura Carducci, Nigel Cook, Martin D’Agostino, Maurizio Divizia, Jens Fleischer, Christophe Gantzer, Andrew Gawler, Rosina Girones, Christiane Höller, Ana Maria de Roda Husman, David Kay, Iwona Kozyra, Juan López-Pila, Michele Muscillo, Maria São José Nascimento, George Papageorgiou, Saskia Rutjes, Jane Sellwood, Regine Szewzyk, Mark Wyer. Surveillance of adenoviruses and noroviruses in European recreational waters. Water Research, 2011; 45 (3): 1025 DOI: 10.1016/j.watres.2010.10.015
  2. Sílvia Bofill-Mas, Byron Calgua, Pilar Clemente-Casares, Giuseppina La Rosa, Marcello Iaconelli, Michele Muscillo, Saskia Rutjes, Ana Maria Roda Husman, Andreas Grunert, Ingeburg Gräber, Marco Verani, Annalaura Carducci, Miquel Calvo, Peter Wyn-Jones, Rosina Girones. Quantification of Human Adenoviruses in European Recreational Waters. Food and Environmental Virology, 2010; 2 (2): 101 DOI: 10.1007/s12560-010-9035-4

Cite This Page:

Plataforma SINC. "Viruses bathe in rivers and at the beach, too, European study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110708082612.htm>.
Plataforma SINC. (2011, July 9). Viruses bathe in rivers and at the beach, too, European study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110708082612.htm
Plataforma SINC. "Viruses bathe in rivers and at the beach, too, European study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110708082612.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — New conservation measures for shark fishing face an uphill PR battle in the fight to slow shark extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pakistan's 'killer Mountain' Fails to Draw Tourists After Attack

Pakistan's 'killer Mountain' Fails to Draw Tourists After Attack

AFP (Sep. 12, 2014) — In June 2013, 10 foreign mountaineers and their guide were murdered on Nanga Parbat, an iconic peak that stands at 8,126m tall in northern Pakisan. Duration: 02:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Solar Storm To Hit This Weekend, Scientists Not Worried

Solar Storm To Hit This Weekend, Scientists Not Worried

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — Two solar flares which erupted in our direction this week will arrive this weekend. The resulting solar storm will be powerful but not dangerous. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Ozone Layer Is Recovering, But It's Not All Good News

The Ozone Layer Is Recovering, But It's Not All Good News

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — The Ozone layer is recovering thickness! Hooray! But in helping its recovery, we may have also helped put more greenhouse gases out there. Hooray? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins