Norovirus is a leading etiological agent of viral gastroenteritis. Because of relatively mild disease symptoms and frequent asymptomatic infections, information on the ecology of this virus is limited. Our objective was to examine the genetic diversity of norovirus circulating in the human population by means of genotyping the virus in municipal wastewater. We investigated norovirus genogroups I and II (GI and GII) in municipal wastewater in Japan by pyrosequencing and quantitative PCR (qPCR) from November 2012 to March 2013. Virological surveillance for gastroenteritis cases was concurrently conducted in the same area. A total of fourteen distinct genotypes in total (GI.1, 3, 4, 6, 7, GII.2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, and 17), with up to eight genotypes detected per sample, were observed in wastewater using pyrosequencing; only four genotypes (GI.6, GII.4, 5, and 14) were obtained from clinical samples. Seventy-eight percent of norovirus-positive stool samples contained GII.4, but this genotype was not dominant in wastewater. The norovirus GII.4 Sydney 2012 variant, which appeared and spread during our study period, was detected in both the wastewater and clinical samples. These results suggest that an environmental approach using pyrosequencing yields a more detailed distribution of norovirus genotypes/variants. Thus, wastewater monitoring by pyrosequencing is expected to provide an effective analysis of the distribution of norovirus genotypes causing symptomatic and asymptomatic infections in human populations.
- Virological surveillance
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Water Science and Technology
- Waste Management and Disposal
- Ecological Modeling