Rethinking the Significance of Reovirus in Water and Wastewater

Walter Q. Betancourt, Charles P. Gerba

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The genus Orthoreovirus contains nonenveloped viruses with double-stranded gene segments encased in a double-layered icosahedral capsid shell. These features constitute major determinants of virion stability in the environment and virion resistance against physical and chemical agents. Reovirus (ReoV) is the general term most commonly used for all virus strains that infect humans and nonhuman animals. Several studies have demonstrated the frequent occurrence of ReoV in wastewaters and natural waters, including surface and ground waters from different geographical areas. Most of these studies have reported higher concentrations of ReoV than any other enteric virus analyzed. They are more commonly isolated in chlorine-disinfected wastewaters than other enteric viruses, and appear to survive longer in water. The ability of ReoV to form large aggregates, even with different types of enteric viruses (e.g., poliovirus) and their ability to undergo mechanisms of gene segment reassortment among different serotypes may also explain their greater stability. Different approaches have been applied for concentration of ReoV from water; however, the recovery efficiency of the filtration methods has not been fully evaluated. Recently, molecular methods for identification of ReoV strains and quantification of virus genome have been developed. Studies have shown that the overall detection sensitivity of ReoV RNA is enhanced through initial replication of infectious virions in cell culture. More studies are needed to specifically address unresolved issues about the fate and distribution of ReoV in the environment since this virus is not commonly included in virological investigations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-173
Number of pages13
JournalFood and Environmental Virology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Reovirus
  • Transmission
  • Wastewater
  • Water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Food Science
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Virology


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