Scientists already knew that OC withstands the activated sludge treatment process used by many sewage treatment plants (STPs) and that the metabolite is released in STP wastewater, but the amount of OC reaching waterways as a result of this had not been measured. Therefore, the goal of the current study was to assess differences in the occurrence of OC in these waters over the course of a seasonal flu outbreak.
OC concentrations were highest in all samples during the peak of the seasonal flu outbreak, with the highest concentration, 293.3 nanograms per liter (ng/L), measured in discharge water from a conventional activated sludge-based STP. However, OC levels in discharge samples varied significantly depending on the type of sewage treatment method used, with a substantially lower peak concentration (37.9 ng/L) measured in discharge from an STP that used ozonation as an additional (tertiary) treatment.
The points where treated effluent is discharged into waterways tend to be warmer and resist freezing in winter, making them attractive spots for wild waterfowl. When influenza A virus in the birds’ droppings encounters active Tamiflu metabolite in the water, the scene is set for resistance to develop. Previous studies have reported that the concentrations of OC required to disable 50% of influenza virus—a measure of the drug’s effectiveness—ranged from 80 to 230 ng/L. Thus, the peak drug concentrations observed in this study may be high enough to promote the emergence of drug-resistant influenza strains in waterfowl exposed to OC-contaminated waterways.
Seasonal flu epidemics cause tens of millions of respiratory illnesses and 250,000 to 500,000 deaths worldwide each year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO recommends Tamiflu for both treatment and prevention of flu, and the drug is considered an important first-line defense in the event of a flu pandemic, including the current pandemic of H1N1 flu. However, there are widespread reports of resistance to Tamiflu among seasonal influenza. A growing number of similar reports in regards to novel H1N1 influenza highlight the need for measures to control the emergence and spread of drug-resistant viral strains.
“Ozonation as tertiary treatment will substantially reduce the OC load in STP effluent during an influenza epidemic or pandemic," wrote first author Gopal C. Ghosh and colleagues. “Further research is needed to investigate the fate of antiviral drugs at every unit process in the STPs.”
Other authors of the paper include Norihide Nakada, Naoyuki Yamashita and Hiroaki Tanaka. This study was partially supported by The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.
The article is available free of charge at http://www.ehponline.org/docs/2009/0900930/abstract.html.
EHP is published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. EHP is an Open Access journal. More information is available online at http://www.ehponline.org/. Brogan & Partners Convergence Marketing handles marketing and public relations for the publication and is responsible for creation and distribution of this press release.
Jenn Betz | Newswise Science News
Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
27.06.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
27.06.2017 | Information Technology
27.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy