Survival of human enteric viruses in the environment and food

FEMS Microbiol Rev. 2004 Oct;28(4):441-53. doi: 10.1016/j.femsre.2004.02.001.


Human enteric pathogenic viruses can enter the environment through discharge of waste materials from infected persons, and be transmitted back to susceptible persons to continue the cycle of disease. Contamination of food with viruses may also promote disease outbreaks. A number of studies have investigated the survival characteristics of several enteric viruses in various environments and foodstuffs, to help explain the transmissibility of these pathogens. This review deals with published work on enteric virus survival on fomites, and in waters, soil, and foods; the results of these studies have illustrated the robust survival of viruses in these environments. Much information is lacking, however, especially for foodstuffs and soils, and no detailed information is available concerning the survival of noroviruses, the most significant foodborne type.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dairy Products / virology
  • Disease Transmission, Infectious*
  • Environmental Microbiology*
  • Food / virology*
  • Fresh Water / virology
  • Plants / virology
  • Seawater / virology
  • Soil
  • Soil Microbiology
  • Virus Physiological Phenomena*


  • Soil