Diverse norovirus genotypes identified in sewage-polluted river water in South Africa

10 Apr 2013

This study aimed to assess norovirus (NoV) contamination and genotype diversity in surface water in Gauteng, South Africa. Between January 2008 and December 2010, three rivers, namely Klip, Suikerbosrant, and Rietspruit were monitored for NoV genogroup (G)I and GII. Viruses were recovered using the glass wool adsorption-elution technique and detected by real-time reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction. From 2008 to 2010, NoVs were detected in 66% (70/106) of Klip river samples. The Rietspruit and Suikerbosrant rivers were contaminated with NoV in 95% (20/21) and 21% (5/24) of samples, respectively. NoV-positive samples comprised of 33% GI, 29% GII and 38% of both GI and GII strains. Based on partial capsid gene analysis (region C), 16 NoV genotypes (6 GI, 10 GII) were identified. The major genotypes detected were GI.4, GI.5 and GII.4. These rivers could be a potential source of NoV infection for communities using the water for domestic or recreational purposes.