To investigate the diversity of human caliciviruses (HuCVs) in wastewater from small- to medium-sized communities in five provinces of South Africa (SA).
METHODS AND RESULTS
Wastewater samples (51) were screened for norovirus (NoV) GI, GII, GIV and sapovirus (SaV) using real-time reverse transcription (RT)-PCR. Partial capsid nucleotide sequences were analysed for genotyping. At least one HuCV was detected in 42 samples (82%) with NoV GI being detected in 15 (29%), NoV GII in 32 (63%) and SaV in 37 (73%) samples. NoV GIV was not detected. Five NoV GI genotypes (GI.1, GI.3, GI.4, GI.8 and GI.unassigned), eight NoV GII genotypes (GII.2, GII.3, GII.4, GII.6, GII.7, GII.12, GII.13 and GII.17) and six SaV genotypes (GI.2, GI.3, GI.6, GI.7, GII.1 and GII.2) were characterized.
Many NoV and SaV genotypes were detected in wastewater, demonstrating a high genetic diversity of HuCVs in the surrounding communities. Caliciviruses were characterized from several provinces in SA, indicating widespread occurrence in the country.
SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY
This study provides valuable new data on CVs circulating in SA, including the first data on SaV strains from wastewater in Africa. Environmental surveillance is especially important in countries like SA where outbreak reporting systems or routine HuCV surveillance is lacking.
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