Hepatitis A is endemic in Tunisia wastewater

Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is the main causative agent of hepatitis infection associated with waterborne outbreaks worldwide. In Tunisia, there is no specific surveillance system for HAV and current secondary wastewater treatment processes are unable to remove viral particles, which present a potential public health problem.

tunisia.wastewaterQualitative and quantitative analysis of HAV in 271 raw and treated wastewater samples from five sewage treatment plants (STPs) during 13 months was performed. Moreover, the efficiency of three secondary wastewater treatment processes (conventional activated sludge, extended aeration, and oxidation ditch activated sludge) was evaluated.

Data obtained demonstrated that HAV is endemic in Tunisia and circulates with high prevalence in both raw (66.9%) and treated (40.7%) wastewater. HAV circulates throughout the year in the coastal areas, with the highest rates found during summer and autumn, whereas in central Tunisia, high levels were shown in autumn and winter. Total virus removal was not achieved, since no difference in mean HAV loads was observed in effluents (6.0 × 103 genome copies [GC]/ml) and influents (2.7 × 103 GC/ml). The comparison of the HAV removal values of the three different wastewater treatment methods indicates that extended aeration and oxidation ditch activated sludge had better efficiency in removing viruses than conventional activated sludge did.

Molecular characterization revealed that the vast majority of HAV strains belonged to subgenotype IA, with the cocirculation of subgenotype IB in wastewater treatment plants that collect tourism wastewater.

Detection and molecular characterization of Hepatitis A virus from Tunisian wastewater treatment plants with different secondary treatments

Appl. Environ. Microbiol. July 2016 vol. 82 no. 13 3834-3845, DOI: 10.1128/AEM.00619-16

Imen Ouardani, Syrine Turki, Mahjoub Aouni, and Jesús L. Romalde



UK family endure Salmonella hell on Tunisia holiday

A Black Country holidaymaker has been awarded more than £2,600 compensation after a family getaway to grieve for a loved one ended in disaster.

salm.tunsiaJulie Roberts, from Walsall, had booked the special trip to Tunisia to spend time with her mother and sister following their loss.

But the family’s hopes of rest and relaxation turned sour when Julie was struck down with violent stomach cramps and severe diarrhea on the last day of the holiday.

It was only after returning to the UK that a visit to her GP confirmed she had contracted Salmonella while staying at the Dessole Riviera Resort in Port El Kantaoui.

The hotel has been blasted by reviewers on TripAdvisor, one of whom claims to have had “better hospital meals.”

Holiday from hell; barfs from holiday buffet, loses job

Biscuit factory worker Martin Ormiston, 48, went on his first overseas holiday to Tunisia with his partner Janet Horan to celebrate her 60th birthday but fell ill after eating food from the hotel buffet.

He was diagnosed with salmonella, and after a six-week recovery, was dismissed from his job.

The Scotsman reports he is now considering taking legal action against tour company Thomas Cook.

The couple travelled to the four-star Chich Khan Hotel in Yasmine Hammamet in April for the celebration holiday.

He said the couple’s initial impressions of the hotel were good but they grew concerned when they visited the hotel buffet.

Mr Ormiston said: "I saw a cat wandering about, not going into the kitchen but near the buffet, which was a bit unhygienic. I think maybe twice I saw it in the week that we were there.

"Cats can’t be near food like that, especially when the food is uncovered. There were birds coming in and out a couple of times as well."

Mr Ormiston said he had also seen food brought out to replenish the buffet and put straight on top of food that had been sitting out for some time. On his return home, medical staff told him the most likely cause of the salmonella was scrambled egg from the buffet.