Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Human norovirus in groundwater remains infective after two months

Date:
October 21, 2011
Source:
American Society for Microbiology
Summary:
Researchers have discovered that norovirus in groundwater can remain infectious for at least 61 days.

Researchers from Emory University have discovered that norovirus in groundwater can remain infectious for at least 61 days. The research is published in the October Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Related Articles


Human norovirus is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis.The disease it causes tends to be one of the more unpleasant of those that leave healthy people unscathed in the long run, with diarrhea and vomiting that typically last for 48 hours. Norovirus sickens one in 15 Americans annually, causing 70,000 hospitalizations, and more than 500 deaths annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The results answer a question of great importance to public health, which had driven researcher Christine Moe and her colleagues to conduct this research: If well water becomes contaminated with noroviruses--perhaps from leaking sewer lines or a septic tank -- how long do these noroviruses survive in water, and when would it be safe to drink from that well?

To answer that question, they prepared a safety-tested virus stock solution. They then put a known amount of this solution into a container of groundwater from an Atlanta well, which had met Environmental Protection Agency drinking water standards.

The researchers then tested the virus infectivity at days naught, 4, 14, 21, 27, and 61, by having volunteers drink the water on those days. The durability of the virus' infectivity was unexpected, says Moe. Most of the 13 volunteers became infected at various time points, exhibiting among them the complete range of norovirus symptoms, which endured for as long as five days post challenge. "We were surprised to observe that even the volunteers that drank the water 61 days after we had added the virus still got infected with the norovirus," says Moe.

Norovirus may remain infective far longer than 61 days. The researchers stored the groundwater at room temperature in the dark, using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction to determine how much viral RNA remained after 622 days, and again after 1,266 days. They found no reduction after the first interval, and very little at the end of the second interval. Unfortunately, funding was insufficient to test infectivity in human volunteers beyond day 61.

"This study provides further evidence of the need to treat groundwater used for drinking water," says Moe, adding that the Environmental Protection Agency and other decision-makers who regulate drinking water need to take these findings into account, particularly since roughly half the US population relies upon groundwater for drinking.

To ensure that the volunteers' health would not be compromised, the investigators conducted the study in a special research unit of Emory University Hospital, while taking a variety of other precautionary measures.

Anticipating a question about who would volunteer to participate in a study with such potentially unpleasant consequences, Moe says that some volunteers have said that "they want to see how good their immune system is, and whether they will actually get sick." Three of the 13 volunteers did not become sick. One volunteer was the local librarian "who came to the research unit with a huge bag of books that she wanted to read while she was in the study," says Moe.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. S. R. Seitz, J. S. Leon, K. J. Schwab, G. M. Lyon, M. Dowd, M. McDaniels, G. Abdulhafid, M. L. Fernandez, L. C. Lindesmith, R. S. Baric, C. L. Moe. Norovirus Infectivity in Humans and Persistence in Water. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 2011; 77 (19): 6884 DOI: 10.1128/AEM.05806-11

Cite This Page:

American Society for Microbiology. "Human norovirus in groundwater remains infective after two months." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111020161337.htm>.
American Society for Microbiology. (2011, October 21). Human norovirus in groundwater remains infective after two months. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111020161337.htm
American Society for Microbiology. "Human norovirus in groundwater remains infective after two months." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111020161337.htm (accessed November 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Following the closure of schools and universities in Guinea because of the Ebola virus, students look for temporary work or gather in makeshift classrooms to catch up on their syllabus. Duration: 02:14 Video provided by AFP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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