oa South African Medical Journal - Studies in poliomyelitis : IV : the distribution of the virus of poliomyelitis in a sewage purification works in Johannesburg

Volume 20, Issue 12
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



In an investigation to determine its distribution in a sewage purification plant, the virus of poliomyelitis was detected in the raw sludge, the settled sewage, and the effluent from the humus tanks. It was not detected in treated sludge that had undergone digestion for 30 days, nor in the final effluent after sand filtration. It was not detected in psychodid (sewage) flies from the sprinkler filterbeds, nor in the faecal droppings of European swallows hawking insects in the neighbourhood of the sewage works. It is recalled that in many sewage works the effluent from the humus tanks, shown to be infected in this investigation, is used to irrigate lands on which vegetables and fruit are grown. The potential danger of eating such vegetables and fruit raw is noted and discussed.

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