Julius Tieroyaare Dongdem, Susan Damanka and Richard Asmah.
Viral gastroenteritis is responsible for pediatric morbidity and mortality, time loss and also an economic burden in developing countries. Norovirus is known to cause 90% of all epidemic nonbacterial outbreaks worldwide. Astroviruses are second only to rotavirus as cause of viral gastroenteritis worldwide. Nevertheless, in most diarrheal cases, neither norovirus nor astrovirus is routinely screened for in stool or environmental samples, thus, data on health impact of waterborne disease is lacking in developing countries like Ghana. Since the presence of these viruses in drinking water are potential health threats, the aim of this study was to collect water samples within the distribution network of the Weija Water Works and test for norovirus and astrovirus contamination using molecular methods. Two litres of each sample was concentrated 4,000 fold. Viral ssRNA was extracted from all concentrates by the phenol /chloroform method and purified with the RNaid�?® kit. Ten samples which had previously tested positive for rotaviruses were selected for norovirus and astrovirus detection. Each sample was reverse transcribed, amplified by PCR and analyzed by gel electrophoresis. Norovirus GII type was not detected. Four and three out of the ten samples tested positive for GI norovirus and astrovirus respectively. By virtue of molecular weight, we isolated different strains of norovirus and one strain type of astrovirus. The level of viral contamination increased particularly at the region furthest from the treatment plant.
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