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Contaminant Type: Microbial

Caliciviruses are one of the most common causes of acute gastroenteritis. Drinking water is one potential pathway for viral ingestion.

Members of the Calicivirus family (Caliciviridae)are non-enveloped small viruses with single-stranded positive-sense RNA genomes. The term Calicivirus includes four genera: (i) Norovirus, (ii) Sapovirus, (iii) Vesivirus, and (iv) Lagovirus. Norovirus (NV), a common type of Calicivirus, has been identified as one of the most common causes of acute gastroenteritis in industrialized countries as well as third world nations. Around 90 percent of nonbacterial outbreaks in Europe and 96 percent of outbreaks in the United States can be attributed to NV. [1227, 1235]

Epidemiological data show that water is a common source of outbreaks. Infection can also be spread by contact with infected people or contaminated surfaces, food, and air. Virus concentrations in source waters may peak with sewage overflow due to heavy rain fall. Virus contamination can also result from leaking septic tanks or pipes. [1225, 1238]

There is very little information available about the fate and transport characteristics of Caliciviruses, including typical lifetimes in the environment. [1225, 1238]

Health effects associated with Caliciviruses include vomiting, dehydration, and in some cases fatality, particularly in elderly or immune-compromised people. [1227]

Caliciviruses are listed on the third Contaminant Candidate List (CCL 3), which was published in August 2009. This status means that Caliciviruses are a potential candidate for drinking water regulatory consideration. EPA will evaluate the need for a drinking water regulation at some time in the future. As a candidate for future regulatory consideration, large drinking water utilities must monitor for Calicivirus in order to collect more information about occurrence in drinking water systems. [1221, 1235]

There is currently very little information about occurrence of Caliciviruses in drinking water systems. [1225, 1238]

Date of Literature Search: June 2009

1218 Gerba. C., Riley, K., Nwachuku, N., Ryu, H. and Abbaszadegan, M.; 2003; Removal of Encephalitozoon intestinalis, calicivirus, and coliphages by conventional drinking water treatment; J. Environ. Sci. & Health; A38:7: 1259
1221 Abbaszadegan, M., Monteiro, P., Nwachuku, N., Alum, A. and Ryu, H.; 2008; Removal of adenovirus, calcivirus, and bacteriophages by conventional drinking water treatment; J. Environ. Sci. & Health; 43:2:171
1224 Thurston-Enriquez, J., Hass, C., Jacangelo, J. and Gerba, C.; 2003; Chlorine inactivation of adenovirus type 40 and feline calcivirus; Appl. & Env. Microbiol.; 69:7:3979
1225 Husman, A., Bijkerk, P., Lodder, W., Berg, H., Pribil, W., Cabaj, A., Gehringer, P., Sommer, R. and Duizer, E.; 2004; Calicivirus inactivation by nonionizing (253.7-nanometer-wavelength [UV]) and ionizing (gamma) radiation; Appl. & Env. Microbiol.; 70:9:5089
1227 Poschetto, L., Ike, A., Papp, T., Mohn, U., Bohm, R. and Marschang, E.; 2007; Comparison of the sensitivities of noroviruses and feline calicivirus to chemical disinfection under field-like conditions; Appl. & Env. Microbiol.; 73:17:5494
1235 Thurston-Enriquez, J., Haas, C., Jacangelo, J., Riley, K. and Gerba, C.; 2003; Inactivation of Feline calicivirus and Adenovirus type 40 by UV radiation; Appl. & Env. Microbiol.; 69:1:577
1238 Urakami, H., Ikarashi, K., Okamoto, K., Abe, Y., Ikarashi, T., Kono, T., Konagaya, Y. and Tanaka, N.; 2007; Chlorine sensitivity of feline calicivirus, a norovirus surrogate; Appl. & Env. Microbiol.; 72:17:5679