In this study, the persistence of severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) was observed in feces, urine and water. In addition, the inactivation of SARS-CoV in wastewater with sodium hypochlorite and chlorine dioxide was also studied. In vitro experiments demonstrated that the virus could only persist for 2 days in hospital wastewater, domestic sewage and dechlorinated tap water, while 3 days in feces, 14 days in PBS and 17 days in urine at 20 degrees C. However, at 4 degrees C, the SARS-CoV could persist for 14 days in wastewater and at least 17 days in feces or urine. SARS-CoV is more susceptible to disinfectants than Escherichia coli and f2 phage. Free chlorine was found to inactivate SARS-CoV better than chlorine dioxide. Free residue chlorine over 0.5 mg/L for chlorine or 2.19 mg/L for chlorine dioxide in wastewater ensures complete inactivation of SARS-CoV while it does not inactivate completely E. coli and f2 phage.