Survival of infectious prions in water

Syreeta L. Miles, Kazue Takizawa, Charles P. Gerba, Ian L. Pepper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to evaluate the fate of infectious prions in water. Known concentrations of infectious prions were added to deionized water, tap water, and wastewater. Samples were incubated at 25°C, 37°C, and 50°C for 1 to 8 weeks. The standard scrapie cell assay (SSCA) which includes the ELISPOT (Enzyme Linked Immuno-Spot) reaction was performed to determine prion infectivity and quantity as a function of time. A reduction of infectious prions was observed at 25°C, 37°C, and 50°C ranging between 0.5-log 10 and 1.4-log 10 in one week. Results suggest that organic matter was instrumental in protecting infectious prions, allowing them to remain infectious for a longer period of time. Thus, our data effectively show a quantifiable reduction of infectious prions in water and identifies some of the components that may influence infectivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)938-943
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Environmental Science and Health - Part A Toxic/Hazardous Substances and Environmental Engineering
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • Prions
  • infectivity
  • survival
  • temperature
  • wastewater
  • water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering


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