A study of enteric viruses in raw and treated sewage from two secondary treatment plants, which received sewage from Oslo city (plant A) and small municipalities in Hedmark county in Norway (plant B), showed high levels of noro-, adeno-, and bocavirus throughout the year. A seasonal variation was observed for adeno- and GII norovirus with higher levels during winter and bocavirus that had more positive samples during winter. The virus concentrations in raw sewage were comparable in the two plants, with medians (log10 genome copies per liter) of 6.1, 6.3, 6.0, and 4.5 for noro GI, noro GII, adeno-, and bocavirus, respectively. The level of hepatitis E virus was not determined as it was below the limit of quantification. The mean log10 virus reduction was 0.55 (plant A) and 1.44 (plant B) with the highest reduction found in the plant with longer hydraulic retention time. The adenoviruses were dominantly serotype 41, while serotype 12 appeared sporadically. Of the 102 raw and treated sewage samples that were tested, eight were positive for hepatitis E virus of which four were from treated sewage. Two of the four obtained gene sequences from hepatitis E virus originated from the rural sewage samples and showed high similarity with a genotype 3 strain of hepatitis E virus detected in local piglets. Two other hepatitis E virus sequences obtained from urban sewage samples showed high similarities with genotype 3 strains isolated from urban sewage in Spain and a human genotype 1 isolate from India. The study gives information on the levels of noroviruses in raw and treated sewage, which is valuable to risk assessment, information indicating that some infections with hepatitis E viruses in Norway have a regional origin and that human bocavirus 2 and 3 are prevalent in the Norwegian population.
Common blue mussels (Mytilus edulis), horse mussels (Modiolus modiolus), and flat oysters (Ostrea edulis) obtained from various harvesting and commercial production sites along the Norwegian coast were screened for the presence of norovirus by a real-time reverse transcription (RT)-nested PCR assay and for possible indicators of fecal contamination, i.e., for F-specific RNA bacteriophages (F-RNA phages) by plaque assay and for human adenoviruses and human circoviruses by nested PCR assay. The aims were to obtain relevant information for assessing the risk of transmission of enteric viruses by shellfish and to investigate the potential of various indicator viruses in routine screening. Noroviruses were detected in 6.8% of the samples, and the indicators were detected in 23.8% (F-RNA phages), 18.6% (adenoviruses), and 8.0% (circoviruses) of the samples. A seasonal variation was observed, with the exception of circoviruses, with more positive samples in the winter. A positive correlation was found between F-RNA phages and noroviruses. However, F-RNA phages were present in only 43% of the norovirus-positive samples. The results show that mussels from the Norwegian coast can constitute a risk of infection with enteric viruses and that routine testing of samples may be justified. Advantages and disadvantages of various options for screening are discussed.
The prevalence of serum antibodies against Norwalk virus among military recruits in Norway was investigated using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). A total of 1017 sera were assayed for anti-Norwalk virus total antibodies (ig), of which 300 (29.5%) were positive. Of 227 positive sera, 10.6 and 15.4% were positive for IgA and IgM, respectively, while 2.2% were positive for both. The prevalence of antibodies against Norwalk virus in south-east Norway was significantly higher than that in northern Norway.