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Detection of Human Enteric Viruses in French Polynesian Wastewaters, Environmental Waters and Giant Clams.


Lack of wastewater treatment efficiency causes receiving seawaters and bivalve molluscan shellfish to become contaminated, which can lead to public health issues. Six wastewater samples, five seawater samples and three batches of giant clams from Tahiti (French Polynesia) were investigated for the presence of enteric viruses, but also if present, for the diversity, infectivity and integrity of human adenoviruses (HAdV). Enteroviruses (EV), sapoviruses (SaV) and human polyomaviruses (HPyV) were detected in all wastewater samples. In decreasing frequency, noroviruses (NoV) GII and HAdV, rotaviruses (RoV), astroviruses (AsV), NoV GI and finally hepatitis E viruses (HEV) were also observed. Nine types of infectious HAdV were identified. HPyV and EV were found in 80% of seawater samples, NoV GII in 60%, HAdV and SaV in 40% and AsV and RoV in 20%. NoV GI and HEV were not detected in seawater. Intact and infectious HAdV-41 were detected in one of the two seawater samples that gave a positive qPCR result. Hepatitis A viruses were never detected in any water types. Analysis of transcriptomic data from giant clams revealed homologues of fucosyltransferases (FUT genes) involved in ligand biosynthesis that strongly bind to certain NoV strains, supporting the giant clams ability to bioaccumulate NoV. This was confirmed by the presence of NoV GII in one of the three batches of giant clams placed in a contaminated marine area. Overall, all sample types were positive for at least one type of virus, some of which were infectious and therefore likely to cause public health concerns.

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