U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


Main content area

Human and Bovine Viruses and Bacteria at Three Great Lakes Beaches: Environmental Variable Associations and Health Risk

Corsi Steven R., Borchardt Mark A., Carvin Rebecca B., Burch Tucker R., Spencer Susan K., Lutz Michelle A., McDermott Colleen M., Busse Kimberly M., Kleinheinz Gregory T., Feng Xiaoping, Zhu Jun
Environmental Science & Technology 2016 v.50 no.2 pp. 987-995
Enterovirus, Protozoa, Rotavirus A, summer, microbiological risk assessment, risk, beaches, swimming, viruses, water temperature, Campylobacter jejuni, vertebrate viruses, humans, Bos taurus polyomavirus 1, cattle, cloud cover, prediction, Salmonella, regression analysis, environmental factors, bacteria, Lake Michigan
Waterborne pathogens were measured at three beaches in Lake Michigan, environmental factors for predicting pathogen concentrations were identified, and the risk of swimmer infection and illness was estimated. Waterborne pathogens were detected in 96% of samples collected at three Lake Michigan beaches in summer, 2010. Samples were quantified for 22 pathogens in four microbial categories (human viruses, bovine viruses, protozoa, and pathogenic bacteria). All beaches had detections of human and bovine viruses and pathogenic bacteria indicating influence of multiple contamination sources at these beaches. Occurrence ranged from 40 to 87% for human viruses, 65–87% for pathogenic bacteria, and 13–35% for bovine viruses. Enterovirus, adenovirus A, Salmonella spp., Campylobacter jejuni, bovine polyomavirus, and bovine rotavirus A were present most frequently. Variables selected in multiple regression models used to explore environmental factors that influence pathogens included wave direction, cloud cover, currents, and water temperature. Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment was done for C. jejuni, Salmonella spp., and enteroviruses to estimate risk of infection and illness. Median infection risks for one-time swimming events were approximately 3 × 10–⁵, 7 × 10–⁹, and 3 × 10–⁷ for C. jejuni, Salmonella spp., and enteroviruses, respectively. Results highlight the importance of investigating multiple pathogens within multiple categories to avoid underestimating the prevalence and risk of waterborne pathogens.