Human papillomaviruses (HPV) are extremely common viruses that cause warts and date back thousands of years. The diseases can be transmitted in both men and women by contact and the virus is a well-established cause of cervical cancer.
In a relatively recent discovery, the viruses have been detected in urban wastewaters and in contaminated surface waters.
Why is this important to you?
This virus can be used to monitor pollution, especially human impact, and adequate management of wastewater around the globe.
As a result of this recent discovery, researchers involved with the Global Water Pathogens Project (GWPP) have put together the most up-to-date information on HPVs as a waterborne pathogen for the purpose of providing a key reference point in development of quantitative guidance for sanitation practices.
Here are 5 new facts about HPV:
- Papillomaviruses are found in urine, feces and sewage, and may thus be considered potential waterborne contaminants. Viruses from human skin can also find their way into sewage.
- 81% of raw sewage and 100% of sewage sludge samples collected tested positive for HPV.
- 56% of river water samples collected tested positive for HPV.
- HPV6 and 11 were the most prevalent genotypes detected in sewage samples. These genotypes are considered low-risk for serious disease. However, high-risk genotypes were also present in these samples.
- HPV is an extremely stable virus resistant to common water disinfectants.