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Assessment of airborne virus contamination in wastewater treatment plants


Masclaux, Frédéric G; Hotz, Philipp; Gashi, Drita; Savova-Bianchi, Dessislava; Oppliger, Anne (2014). Assessment of airborne virus contamination in wastewater treatment plants. Environmental Research, 133:260-265.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Occupational exposure to bioaerosols in wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) and its consequence on workers׳ health are well documented. Most studies were devoted to enumerating and identifying cultivable bacteria and fungi, as well as measuring concentrations of airborne endotoxins, as these are the main health-related factors found in WWTP. Surprisingly, very few studies have investigated the presence and concentrations of airborne virus in WWTP. However, many enteric viruses are present in wastewater and, due to their small size, they should become aerosolized. Two in particular, the norovirus and the adenovirus, are extremely widespread and are the major causes of infectious gastrointestinal diseases reported around the world. The third one, hepatitis E virus, has an emerging status.
GOAL AND METHODS: This study׳s objectives were to detect and quantify the presence and concentrations of 3 different viruses (adenovirus, norovirus and the hepatitis E virus) in air samples from 31 WWTPs by using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) during two different seasons and two consecutive years.
RESULTS: Adenovirus was present in 100% of summer WWTP samples and 97% of winter samples. The highest airborne concentration measured was 2.27×10(6) genome equivalent/m(3) and, on average, these were higher in summer than in winter. Norovirus was detected in only 3 of the 123 air samples, and the hepatitis E virus was not detected.
CONCLUSIONS: Concentrations of potentially pathogenic viral particles in WWTP air are non-negligible and could partly explain the work-related gastrointestinal symptoms often reported in employees in this sector.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Occupational exposure to bioaerosols in wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) and its consequence on workers׳ health are well documented. Most studies were devoted to enumerating and identifying cultivable bacteria and fungi, as well as measuring concentrations of airborne endotoxins, as these are the main health-related factors found in WWTP. Surprisingly, very few studies have investigated the presence and concentrations of airborne virus in WWTP. However, many enteric viruses are present in wastewater and, due to their small size, they should become aerosolized. Two in particular, the norovirus and the adenovirus, are extremely widespread and are the major causes of infectious gastrointestinal diseases reported around the world. The third one, hepatitis E virus, has an emerging status.
GOAL AND METHODS: This study׳s objectives were to detect and quantify the presence and concentrations of 3 different viruses (adenovirus, norovirus and the hepatitis E virus) in air samples from 31 WWTPs by using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) during two different seasons and two consecutive years.
RESULTS: Adenovirus was present in 100% of summer WWTP samples and 97% of winter samples. The highest airborne concentration measured was 2.27×10(6) genome equivalent/m(3) and, on average, these were higher in summer than in winter. Norovirus was detected in only 3 of the 123 air samples, and the hepatitis E virus was not detected.
CONCLUSIONS: Concentrations of potentially pathogenic viral particles in WWTP air are non-negligible and could partly explain the work-related gastrointestinal symptoms often reported in employees in this sector.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic and Policlinic for Internal Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute (EBPI)
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:14 Jul 2014 06:49
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:57
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0013-9351
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2014.06.002
PubMed ID:24981824

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