Affordable Enteric Virus Detection Techniques Are Needed to Support Changing Paradigms in Water Quality Management

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In light of water quality monitoring paradigms shifting to a more holistic approach, it is essential that environmental microbiologists embrace new methodological developments in clinical virology to create rapid, laboratory‐free methods for the identification of wastewater pollution. It is widely accepted that routine monitoring of fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) does not adequately reflect human health risks associated with fecal pollution, especially risks posed by viruses. Enteric viruses are typically more resistant to wastewater treatment and persist longer in the environment than FIB. Furthermore, enteric viruses often have extremely low infectious doses. Currently, the incorporation of sanitary surveys, short‐term monitoring of reference pathogens, exploratory quantitative microbial risk assessments, and predictive ecological models is being championed as the preferred approach to water management. In addition to improved virus concentration methods, simple, point‐of‐use tests for enteric viruses and/or improved viral indicators are needed to complement this emerging paradigm and ensure microbial safety worldwide.

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CLEAN - Soil, Air, Water, v. 43, issue 1, p. 8-12