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Article

Potentially Infectious Novel Hepatitis A Virus Strains Detected in Selected Treated Wastewater Discharge Sources, South Africa

1
Department of Medical Virology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X323, Gezina, 0031 Pretoria, South Africa
2
School of Health Systems and Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, 0002 Pretoria, South Africa
3
National Health Laboratory Service, Tshwane Academic Division, 0002 Pretoria, South Africa
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Sébastien Lhomme
Viruses 2020, 12(12), 1468; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12121468
Received: 12 October 2020 / Revised: 14 December 2020 / Accepted: 14 December 2020 / Published: 19 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Progress in Hepatitis A Virus Research)
Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is a waterborne pathogen of public health importance. In South Africa (SA), unique HAV subgenotype IB strains have been detected in surface and wastewater samples, as well as on fresh produce at the point of retail. However, due to the use of molecular-based assays, the infectivity of the detected strains was unknown. Considering the potential shift of HAV endemicity from high to intermediate, which could increase the risk of severe symptomatic disease, this study investigated the identity of HAV strains detected before and after viability treatment of selected wastewater discharge samples. For one year, 118 samples consisting of sewage, treated wastewater discharge and downstream dam water were collected from five wastewater treatment plants (WWTP 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5). Unique HAV IB strains were detected in samples from all five WWTPs, with 11 of these strains carrying amino acid mutations at the immunodominant and neutralisation epitopes. A quasispecies dynamic of HAV has also been detected in sewage samples. The subsequent application of viability PCR revealed that potentially infectious HAV strains were discharged from WWTP 1, 2, 4 and 5 into the dam. Therefore, there is a potential risk of HAV exposure to communities using water sources downstream the WWTPs. View Full-Text
Keywords: hepatitis A virus; viability PCR; wastewater discharge; South Africa; novel HAV variant hepatitis A virus; viability PCR; wastewater discharge; South Africa; novel HAV variant
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MDPI and ACS Style

Rachida, S.; Taylor, M.B. Potentially Infectious Novel Hepatitis A Virus Strains Detected in Selected Treated Wastewater Discharge Sources, South Africa. Viruses 2020, 12, 1468. https://doi.org/10.3390/v12121468

AMA Style

Rachida S, Taylor MB. Potentially Infectious Novel Hepatitis A Virus Strains Detected in Selected Treated Wastewater Discharge Sources, South Africa. Viruses. 2020; 12(12):1468. https://doi.org/10.3390/v12121468

Chicago/Turabian Style

Rachida, Saïd, and Maureen B. Taylor. 2020. "Potentially Infectious Novel Hepatitis A Virus Strains Detected in Selected Treated Wastewater Discharge Sources, South Africa" Viruses 12, no. 12: 1468. https://doi.org/10.3390/v12121468

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