A hepatitis E outbreak, which occurred on a small isolated island, provided an opportunity to evaluate the association between the number of hepatitis E cases in the community and the concentration of virus detected in sewage. Samples were collected from the different sewage treatment plants from the island and analyzed for the presence of hepatitis E (HEV) virus using real-time RT-PCR. We demonstrated that if 1–4 % of inhabitants connected to a WWTP were infected with HEV, raw sewage contained HEV at detectable levels. The finding that such a small number of infected people can contaminate municipal sewage works raises the potential of the further distribution of the virus. Indeed, investigating the routes of transmission of HEV, including the potential for sewage effluent to contain infectious HEV, may help us to better understand the epidemiology of this pathogen, which is considered to be an emerging concern in Europe.
- Hepatitis E virus
- Wastewater treatment plant
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis