The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to detect human enteroviruses in river and seawater samples in comparison with cell culture analysis. Extraction of the RNA from the sample was achieved by adsorption to size-fractionated silica in the presence of guanidinium thiocyanate. Good correlation was obtained between the two methods. For most samples it was not found necessary to carry out an initial cell culture passage prior to RT-PCR analysis, and RT-PCR was found to be as sensitive and more rapid than cell culture.

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