Science

Microplastics help viruses that cause intestinal infections survive in fresh water

The viruses attach themselves to the microplastic and survive for three days: just enough time to get from the sewage treatment plant to the beach.

Microplastics help viruses that cause intestinal infections survive in fresh water
Photo: from open sources
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Experts from the University of Sterling, Scotland, have found that viruses that cause intestinal infections survive in fresh water thanks to microplastics. The study is described in the journal Environmental Pollution.

The viruses attach to microplastic particles, move around and retain their pathogenicity. It is noted that some viruses, such as coronaviruses, with lipid shells quickly die in water because the shell dissolves. Noroviruses and rotaviruses that affect the gastrointestinal tract are able to survive in water for three days if they attach to microplastic.

Scientists write that three days is enough time for the water from the sewage treatment plant to reach the beach. If pieces of microplastic, along with viruses, become colonized by human pathogens, it could pose a risk to human health.

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