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Monitoring of environmental water is crucial to protecting humans and animals from possible health risks. Although numerous human-specific viral markers have been designed to track the presence of human fecal contamination in water, they lack adequate sensitivity and specificity in different geographical regions. We evaluated the performances of six human-specific viral markers [Aichi virus 1 (AiV-1), human adenoviruses (HAdVs), BK and JC polyomaviruses (BKPyVs and JCPyVs), pepper mild mottle virus (PMMoV), and crAssphage] using 122 fecal-source samples collected from humans and five animal hosts in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. PMMoV and crAssphage showed high sensitivity (90–100%) with concentrations of 4.5–9.1 and 6.2–7.0 log10 copies/g wet feces (n = 10), respectively, whereas BKPyVs, JCPyVs, HAdVs, and AiV-1 showed poor performances with sensitivities of 30–40%. PMMoV and crAssphage were detected in 40–100% and 8–90%, respectively, of all types of animal fecal sources and showed no significantly different concentrations among most of the fecal sources (Kruskal–Wallis test, P > 0.05), suggesting their applicability as general fecal pollution markers. Furthermore, a total of 115 environmental water samples were tested for PMMoV and crAssphage to identify fecal pollution. PMMoV and crAssphage were successfully detected in 62% (71/115) and 73% (84/115) of water samples, respectively. The greater abundance and higher mean concentration of crAssphage (4.1 ± 0.9 log10 copies/L) compared with PMMoV (3.3 ± 1.4 log10 copies/L) indicated greater chance of detection of crAssphage in water samples, suggesting that crAssphage could be preferred to PMMoV as a marker of fecal pollution.
Food and Environmental Virology – Springer Journals
Published: May 13, 2019
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