Solid - associated viruses in a polluted estuary
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These studies were part of a series of investigations carried out by our laboratory to assess virus pollution of marine resources in coastal Texas waters. Galveston Bay has been the focal point for these studies because it is an important shellfish resource, and is a popular recreational area. The 1600-km2 bay area has been the overall leading fisheries resource site in Texas. An annual commercial harvest of 2.08 million kg was calculated for the 1962-1976 interval . We have shown previously that enteric viruses can be recovered from bay water, sediments, and shellfish at several sites . The goal of present studies is to obtain a better idea of virus-solids interactions and their influence upon public health assessments involving recreational annd shellfish waters. Results from field studies seeking to determine and quantitate enterovirus distribution between water-suspended and sediment-associated solids in Galveston Bay were coordinated with laboratory modeling of virus-solids interactions in estuarine waters. The object of the modeling studies was to evaluate the influence of environmental factors upon virus distribution and to cast new light on the potential for spread of virus from polluted to nonpolluted waters. We were especially interested to obtain information about rotavirus and to compare rotavirus and enterovirus distributions in Galveston Bay waters. New information on virus distribution in sediments, important to public health assessments, was obtained with a new sediment-associated virus sampler developed by us and used to distinguish between the virus content of uppermost and compact sediment layers.