Determination of Norovirus Contamination in Oysters from Two Commercial Harvesting Areas over an Extended Period, Using Semiquantitative Real-Time Reverse Transcription PCR
Authors: Lowther, James A.; Henshilwood, Kathleen; Lees, David N.
Source: Journal of Food Protection®, Number 7, July 2008, pp. 1320-1525 , pp. 1427-1433(7)
Abstract:The human health risk associated with the consumption of molluscan shellfish grown in sewage-contaminated waters is well established. Noroviruses, which cause gastroenteritis, are the principal agents of shellfish-related illness. Fecal-indicator quality standards based on Escherichia coli are well established in Europe and elsewhere. However, norovirus outbreaks after consumption of shellfish meeting these standards still occur, and the need to improve consumer health protection is well recognized. Alternative approaches proposed include direct monitoring of viral pathogens and the use of alternative indicator organisms capable of providing a better indication of virus risk. This study applies a recently developed TaqMan PCR assay to assess norovirus contamination in shellfish. Comparison was made with E. coli as the existing sanitary standard and a male-specific RNA bacteriophage as a possible alternative. Two commercial pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) harvesting areas were monitored over a 31-month period. The results show peaks of norovirus contamination in both areas during winter months, with average levels approximately 17 times higher in oysters sampled October to March than during the remainder of the year, consistent with epidemiological data for the United Kingdom showing oyster-associated illness is confined to winter months. While there was no apparent association with E. coli, an association between levels of norovirus contamination and the male-specific RNA bacteriophage was noted, with average norovirus levels over 40 times higher in samples with male-specific RNA bacteriophage counts of >1,000 PFU/100 g than in samples with <100 PFU/100 g. Overall, these results suggest that norovirus monitoring in shellfish production areas could be an effective strategy for reduction of virus risk.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: European Community Reference Laboratory for Monitoring Bacteriological and Viral Contamination of Bivalve Molluscs, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, Weymouth DT4 8UB, UK
Publication date: July 1, 2008
- IAFP members must first sign in on the right to access full text articles of JFP 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.
Print and online subscriptions are available to Members and Institutional subscribers. Online visitors who are not IAFP Members or journal subscribers will be charged on a pay-per-view basis. Information can be obtained by calling +1 800.369.6337; +1 515.276.3344; fax: +1 515.276.8655, E-mail: email@example.com or Web site: www.foodprotection.org
- Information for Authors
- Submit a Paper
- Subscribe to this Title
- Membership Information
- Information for Advertisers
- ingentaconnect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites