Environmental Surveillance through Next-Generation Sequencing to Unveil the Diversity of Human Enteroviruses beyond the Reported Clinical Cases

Viruses. 2021 Jan 17;13(1):120. doi: 10.3390/v13010120.


The knowledge about circulation of Human Enteroviruses (EVs) obtained through medical diagnosis in Argentina is scarce. Wastewater samples monthly collected in Córdoba, Argentina during 2011-2012, and then in 2017-2018 were retrospectively studied to assess the diversity of EVs in the community. Partial VP1 gene was amplified by PCR from wastewater concentrates, and amplicons were subject of next-generation sequencing and genetic analyses. There were 41 EVs detected, from which ~50% had not been previously reported in Argentina. Most of the characterized EVs (60%) were detected at both sampling periods, with similar values of intratype nucleotide diversity. Exceptions were enterovirus A71, coxsackievirus B4, echovirus 14, and echovirus 30, which diversified in 2017-2018. There was a predominance of types from EV-C in 2017-2018, evidencing a common circulation of these types throughout the year in the community. Interestingly, high genetic similarity was evidenced among environmental strains of echovirus 30 circulating in 2011-2012 and co-temporal isolates obtained from patients suffering aseptic meningitis in different locations of Argentina. This study provides an updated insight about EVs circulating in an important region of South America, and suggests a valuable role of wastewater-based epidemiology in predicting outbreaks before the onset of cases in the community.

Keywords: aseptic meningitis; coxsackievirus; echovirus; enterovirus; next-generation sequencing; outbreak; phylogenetic analysis; poliovirus; surveillance; wastewater-based epidemiology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Argentina / epidemiology
  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Enterovirus / classification
  • Enterovirus / genetics*
  • Enterovirus / isolation & purification
  • Enterovirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Enterovirus Infections / virology*
  • Environmental Microbiology*
  • Environmental Monitoring*
  • Genetic Variation*
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Phylogeny
  • Public Health Surveillance
  • Viral Load
  • Wastewater / microbiology
  • Wastewater / virology


  • Waste Water