Densely populated coastal regions of the world generate large quantities of domestic sewage sludge which is often disposed into the marine environment. Present in these wastes are human pathogenic viruses which are capable of surviving for prolonged periods of time in the marine environment and transmitting disease to humans by a number of potential routes of which swimming and consumption of marine foods are the most significant. Hepatitis A virus and Norwalk virus outbreaks associated with shellfish consumption continue to occur in the United States. Three separate epidemiological studies have also shown an association between shellfish consumption and increased risk of hepatitis A infection in consumers. An epidemiological association between non-A and non-B hepatitis has also been demonstrated. A review of the risks of infection, clinical illness and mortality associated with enteroviruses suggests that the presence of these viruses in shellfish and bathing waters presents a significant risk to the consumer.