Survival of infectious prions in water

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

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The objective of this study was to evaluate the fate of infectious prions in water. Prion diseases such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy also known as "mad cow disease", can be spread by ingestion of animal tissue and feces, suggesting that transmission via water may be possible. Few studies have evaluated the fate of prions in water and most have used assays that were not capable of determining whether or not the prions were infectious. In this study, known concentrations of infectious prions (PrP Sc) were added to deionized water, tap water, and treated wastewater. Water samples were incubated at mesophilic and thermophilic temperatures for up to for 8 weeks. The standard scrapie cell assay (SSCA) and the ELISPOT (Enzyme Linked Immuno-Spot) reaction was performed to determine the quantity of infectious prions that survived incubation. A large reduction of PrP Sc was observed during the course of the experiments at every temperature. A maximum rate of inactivation in water occurred under thermophilic conditions. The results suggest that temperature and dissolved organic matter influence inactivation. Previous studies report that prions were very resistant to degradation; however, the methods used did not distinguish whether or not prions were infectious. Our data show that infectious prions are susceptible to inactivation in water.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationWater Distribution Systems Analysis 2010 - Proceedings of the 12th International Conference, WDSA 2010
Pages454-458
Number of pages5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 30 2012
Event12th Annual International Conference on Water Distribution Systems Analysis 2010, WDSA 2010 - Tucson, AZ, United States
Duration: Sep 12 2010Sep 15 2010

Publication series

NameWater Distribution Systems Analysis 2010 - Proceedings of the 12th International Conference, WDSA 2010

Other

Other12th Annual International Conference on Water Distribution Systems Analysis 2010, WDSA 2010
CountryUnited States
CityTucson, AZ
Period9/12/109/15/10

Keywords

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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology

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