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An Efficient and Rapid Method for Recovery of Norovirus from Food Associated with Outbreaks of Gastroenteritis

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Noroviruses have emerged as the most common cause of foodborne outbreaks of acute nonbacterial gastroenteritis. In this study, two methods for the extraction of viruses from deli ham were compared. Using both methods, as little as 1 to 10 reverse transcription (RT)–PCR units of inoculated norovirus and enterovirus could be detected by nested RT-PCR assays. The fastest and most efficient extraction method based on TRIzol LS Reagent was chosen to identify viruses in food items associated with three different outbreaks. Norovirus was detected using nested (real time) RT-PCR assays that target the genome region routinely used for diagnosis of human cases, thereby facilitating the comparison of sequences detected in food and clinical specimens. For one outbreak, a norovirus sequence (163/163 nucleotides) identical to those detected in clinical samples was found on salami sliced by a food handler with a recent history of gastroenteritis. For the other two outbreaks, norovirus was detected on leftovers of spareribs and ham, but fecal samples from affected persons were not available. The methods used in this study may be useful in future outbreak investigations because the extraction method is easy to perform and suitable for this particular type of food and the detection method facilitates direct comparison of patient and food data.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, Regionale dienst Oost, P.O. Box 202, 7200 AE, Zutphen, The Netherlands 2: Diagnostic Laboratory for Infectious Diseases and Perinatal Screening, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, P.O. Box 1, 3720 BA, Bilthoven, The Netherlands

Publication date: February 1, 2007

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    First published in 1937, the Journal of Food Protection®, is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection® is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.

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