Fecal source tracking in a wastewater treatment and reclamation system using multiple waterborne gastroenteritis viruses

Zheng Ji, Xiaochang C. Wang, Limei Xu, Chongmiao Zhang, Cheng Rong, Andri Taruna Rachmadi, Mohan Amarasiri, Satoshi Okabe, Naoyuki Funamizu, Daisuke Sano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Gastroenteritis viruses in wastewater reclamation systems can pose a major threat to public health. In this study, multiple gastroenteritis viruses were detected from wastewater to estimate the viral contamination sources in a wastewater treatment and reclamation system installed in a suburb of Xi’an city, China. Reverse transcription plus nested or semi-nested PCR, followed by sequencing and phylogenetic analysis, were used for detection and genotyping of noroviruses and rotaviruses. As a result, 91.7% (22/24) of raw sewage samples, 70.8% (17/24) of the wastewater samples treated by anaerobic/anoxic/oxic (A2 O) process and 62.5% (15/24) of lake water samples were positive for at least one of target gastroenteritis viruses while all samples collected from membrane bioreactor effluent after free chlorine disinfection were negative. Sequence analyses of the PCR products revealed that epidemiologically minor strains of norovirus GI (GI/14) and GII (GII/13) were frequently detected in the system. Considering virus concentration in the disinfected MBR effluent which is used as the source of lake water is below the detection limit, these results indicate that artificial lake may be contaminated from sources other than the wastewater reclamation system, which may include aerosols, and there is a possible norovirus infection risk by exposure through reclaimed water usage and by onshore winds transporting aerosols containing norovirus.

Original languageEnglish
Article number170
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Dec


  • Fecal source tracking
  • Viral contamination
  • Wastewater reclamation
  • Waterborne gastroenteritis viruses


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