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Quantification of Human and Animal Viruses to Differentiate the Origin of the Fecal Contamination Present in Environmental Samples

BioMed Research International
Publication Date
  • Ecology
  • Geography
  • Medicine


Many different viruses are excreted by humans and animals and are frequently detected in fecal contaminated waters causing public health concerns. Classical bacterial indicator such as E. coli and enterococci could fail to predict the risk for waterborne pathogens such as viruses. Moreover, the presence and levels of bacterial indicators do not always correlate with the presence and concentration of viruses, especially when these indicators are present in low concentrations. Our research group has proposed new viral indicators and methodologies for determining the presence of fecal pollution in environmental samples as well as for tracing the origin of this fecal contamination (microbial source tracking). In this paper, we examine to what extent have these indicators been applied by the scientific community. Recently, quantitative assays for quantification of poultry and ovine viruses have also been described. Overall, quantification by qPCR of human adenoviruses and human polyomavirus JC, porcine adenoviruses, bovine polyomaviruses, chicken/turkey parvoviruses, and ovine polyomaviruses is suggested as a toolbox for the identification of human, porcine, bovine, poultry, and ovine fecal pollution in environmental samples.

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