ENVIRONMENTAL SURVEILLANCE OF NOROVIRUS IN ARGENTINA REVEALED DISTINCT VIRAL DIVERSITY PATTERNS SEASONALITY AND SPATIO-TEMPORAL DIFFUSION PROCESSES
BLANCO FERNÁNDEZ, M.D.; TORRES, C.; POMA, R.; RIVIELLO-LÓPEZ, G.; MARTÍNEZ, L.C.; CISTERNA, D.; RAJAL, V.; NATES, S.V.; MBAYED, V.A.
SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT
ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV
Lugar: Amsterdam; Año: 2012 p. 262 - 269
Norovirus (NoV) contamination was evaluated in five rivers of Argentina between 2005 and 2011. NoV was present in all sampled rivers, with distinct NoV patterns in waters impacted by different-sized communities. In rivers affected by medium-sized populations (Salta and Córdoba cities) only one or two genotypes were present, GII.4 being the main one, with winter seasonality. In contrast, in the much more heavily populated area of Buenos Aires city the prevalent GII.4 was accompanied by several additional genotypes (GII.4, GII.b, GII.2, GII.7, GII.17, GII.e and GII.g) and one ungenotyped GII NoV, with no clear seasonality. GII.4 2006b was the main variant detected (60.9%). Phylogeographic and phylodynamic analyses performed in region D of the VP1 gene showed a most recent common ancestor in 2002 and a substitution rate of 3.7×10−3 substitutions per site per year (HPD95%=2.3×10−3−5.2×10−3) for this variant still involving a significant population size with a slight decrease since 2008. The spatio-temporal diffusion analysis proposed Europe as an intermediate path between the American Continent and the rest of the World for NoV dissemination. Given the importance of NoV as a cause of epidemic gastroenteritis and the likelihood of its environmental transmission, the results of this work should increase public and institutional awareness of the health risk involved in sewage discharges into the environment. Environmental surveillance of enteric viruses could be a very useful tool not only to prevent waterborne outbreaks, but also to describe the epidemiology of the viruses. The detailed analysis of the viral genomes disposed into the environment contributed to the characterization of the dissemination, diversity and seasonality of NoV in its natural host population. In future studies, environmental surveillance and molecular analysis should be complemented with a quantitative viral risk assessment for estimating the disease burden from viruses in the environment.