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Norovirus test for drinking water using a smart phone can be cheap and quick: photos



Water supply services need rapid ways of checking contamination in drinking water supplies, including norovirus, which causes intestinal distress. Scientists are trying to facilitate testing for the virus.

Rehan Hasan / EyeEm / Getty Images / EyeEm


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Rehan Hasan / EyeEm / Getty Images / EyeEm

Water suppliers need quick ways to check for contamination in the supply of drinking water, including norovirus, which causes intestinal distress. Scientists are trying to make the virus easier to test.

Rehan Hassan / EyeEm / Getty Image / EyeEm

The norovirus tends to tell the news when an outbreak of cruise ships occurs. But the virus affects many more people than vacationers in the ocean.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 20 million people suffer from acute bowel disease from norovirus each year in this country. It is responsible for more than half of all cases of foodborne illness in the United States.

It may also fall into municipal water supplies when old pipes or storm overflows cause pollution of the wastewater by norovirus with drinking water.

"When we have a massive epidemic related to drinking water quality, the norovirus is likely to cause this infection," says environmental biologist Kelly Reynolds of Arizona Mel University and Enid Zuckerman of Tucson Public Health College. [19659008] Water suppliers regularly check for contamination, but Reynolds says existing norovirus tests take time and require sophisticated laboratory equipment.

So when Tucson's water program turned to her for help to improve the status quo, Reynolds thought she knew how to find a cheaper and faster approach.


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