Torque teno virus (TTV) is prevalent worldwide in general populations but at present is not related with any specific pathology. Its presence in faeces and its remarkable environmental stability suggest the possibility of using it as an indicator of faecal contamination in the environment. To evaluate the waterborne spread of TTV and its possible relationship with human pathogen enteric viruses, water samples were collected monthly for a year (May 2004–April 2005) from a river receiving the effluent of the treatment plant of the city of Pisa, concentrated and assayed with bimolecular tests (PCR, RT-PCR). TTV was detected in three samples (25%) while 16% of samples were positive for enteroviruses, 33% for rotaviruses, 8% for noroviruses genotype 1 and 25% for noroviruses genotype 2. Only two TTV samples (June and January) were also positive for rotavirus and norovirus, respectively. The detection of TTV in water confirmed its possible faecal-oral route of transmission but data are still insufficient to draw conclusions about the role of TTV as a viral indicator.

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