Surveillance of adenoviruses and noroviruses in European recreational waters

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 S. J. Nascimento, George Papageorgiou, Saskia Rutjes, Jane Sellwood, Regine SzewzykMark David Wyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Exposure to human pathogenic viruses in recreational waters has been shown to cause disease outbreaks. In the context of Article 14 of the revised European Bathing Waters Directive 2006/7/EC (rBWD, CEU, 2006) a Europe-wide surveillance study was carried out to determine the frequency of occurrence of two human enteric viruses in recreational waters. Adenoviruses were selected based on their near-universal shedding and environmental survival, and noroviruses (NoV) selected as being the most prevalent gastroenteritis agent worldwide. Concentration of marine and freshwater samples was done by adsorption/elution followed by molecular detection by (RT)-PCR. Out of 1410 samples, 553 (39.2%) were positive for one or more of the target viruses. Adenoviruses, detected in 36.4% of samples, were more prevalent than noroviruses (9.4%), with 3.5% GI and 6.2% GII, some samples being positive for both GI and GII. Of 513 human adenovirus-positive samples, 63 (12.3%) were also norovirus-positive, whereas 69 (7.7%) norovirus-positive samples were adenovirus-negative. More freshwater samples than marine water samples were virus-positive. Out of a small selection of samples tested for adenovirus infectivity, approximately one-quarter were positive. Sixty percent of 132 nested-PCR adenovirus-positive samples analysed by quantitative PCR gave a mean value of over 3000 genome copies per L of water. The simultaneous detection of infectious adenovirus and of adenovirus and NoV by (RT)PCR suggests that the presence of infectious viruses in recreational waters may constitute a public health risk upon exposure. These studies support the case for considering adenoviruses as an indicator of bathing water quality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1025-1038
Number of pages14
JournalWater Research
Issue number3
Early online date29 Oct 2010
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011


  • adenoviruses
  • noroviruses
  • bathing water
  • river water
  • sea water
  • recreational water
  • water quality


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