Hepatitis E virus and coliphages in waters proximal to swine concentrated animal feeding operations

Jennifer Gentry-Shields, Kevin Myers, Nora Pisanic, Christopher Heaney, Jill Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


North Carolina is the second leading state in pork production in the United States, with over 10 million swine. Swine manure in NC is typically collected and stored in open-pit lagoons before the liquid waste is sprayed onto agricultural fields for disposal. Components of this waste may be able to impact surface water quality with the potential for human exposure. This study examined viruses of public health concern in creeks adjacent to swine concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) spray fields. Surface water samples (n. =. 154) were collected from public access waters in proximity to swine CAFO spray fields for six months and were tested for hepatitis E virus (HEV) and coliphages. HEV was detected in one sample. Somatic coliphages were detected in 98% of samples (geometric mean 24. ±. 4.1. PFU per 100. ml), and F. + coliphages were detected in 85% of samples (geometric mean 6.8. ±. 5.0. PFU per 100. ml). Only 3% (21) of the F. + coliphage isolates were RNA phage, and all of the F. + RNA coliphages belonged to genogroup I. Although the pervasiveness of swine CAFOs in this area prevented a comparison with samples from un-impacted sites, the near ubiquity of coliphages, as well as the presence of HEV, suggests that current waste management practices may be associated with the dissemination of viruses of public health concern in waters proximal to CAFO spray fields.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)487-493
Number of pages7
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015


  • Coliphage
  • Concentrated animal feeding operation
  • Hepatitis E virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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