Assessment of burden of virus agents in an urban sewage treatment plant in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sewage discharge is considered to be the main source of virus contamination in aquatic environments. There is no correlation between the presence of viruses and the presence of fecal coliforms in water; therefore virological markers are needed when monitoring contamination. This study investigates DNA and RNA virus concentrations in wastewater and evaluates a potential virus marker of human contamination. Influent and effluent samples were collected twice a month throughout a 1-year period. Viruses were detected using quantitative polymerase chain reaction protocols; nucleotide sequencing was carried out for virus genotyping. Human adenovirus (HAdV) and polyomavirus JC (JCPyV) were the most prevalent viruses found in influent samples (100%) with a virus load that ranged from 106 to 105 genome copies per liter (gc l–1). Norovirus genogroup II (NoV GII) and human astrovirus (HAstV) were less prevalent, and ranged from 104 to 103gc l–1. Quantitative data on virus profiles in wastewaters stress the high level of rotavirus species A environmental dissemination and address the potential of HAdV as a useful virological marker of virus contamination in aquatic environments. This study corroborates other studies performed in developed countries on DNA viruses as good markers of human fecal contamination.