Two rural spring drinking water supplies were studied for their enteric virus levels. In one, serving about 30 dwellings, the water was chlorinated before distribution; in the other, which served a dairy and six dwellings the water was not treated. Samples of treated (40 l) and untreated (20 l) water were taken under normal and heavy rainfall conditions over a six weeks period and concentrated by adsorption/elution and organic flocculation. Infectious enterovirus in concentrates was detected in liquid culture and enumerated by plaque assay, both in BGM cells, and concentrates were also analysed by RT-PCR. Viruses were found in both raw water supplies. Rural supplies need to be analysed for viruses as well as bacterial and protozoan pathogens if the full microbial hazard is to be determined.

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