Failure of indicator bacteria to reflect the occurrence of enteroviruses in marine waters

C. P. Gerba, S. M. Goyal, R. L. LaBelle, G. F. Bodgan

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141 Scopus citations


The results of several studies conducted along the upper Texas Gulf coast, where a substantial amount of quantitative virological data were collected, are compared to bacteriological indicators and other environmental factors on a statistical basis. Variables common to all these studies were analyzed by multivariate regression. Although multivariate analysis indicated that the number of viruses detected in water was related to rainfall, salinity, and total coliforms in the water, the amount of variation in the number of viruses accounted for by these factors was not large enough to make them good predictors. Enteroviruses were detected 43 per cent of the time in recreational waters considered acceptable as judged by coliform standards, and 44 per cent of the time when judged by fecal coliform standards. Enteroviruses were detected 35 per cent of the time in waters which met acceptable standards for shellfish-harvesting. Our failure to correlate the occurrence of enteroviruses in marine waters with indicator bacteria, and the frequent occurrence of enteroviruses in water which met current bacteriological standards, indicates that these standards do not reflect the occurrence of enteroviruses, and perhaps other human pathogenic viruses, in marine waters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1116-1119
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1979


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