Norovirus, hepatitis A virus and enterovirus presence in shellfish from high quality harvesting areas in Portugal
Posted: January 26th, 2011 - 8:03pm
Source: Food Microbiology
This is the first report on the screening of shellfish from Portugal for the presence of human enteropathogenic viruses. Approximately 2000 shellfish (Curbicula fluminea, Ruditapes decussatus, Tellina crassa, Spisula solida, Dosinia exoleta, Ensis spp., Mytilus spp., Ostrea edulis and Cerastoderma edule), organized in 49 batches, were collected between March 2008 and February 2009. They were tested for norovirus (NoV), hepatitis A virus (HAV) and enterovirus (EV) by RT-PCR followed by nucleotide sequencing. Bacterial contamination was also evaluated by Escherichia coli counts. Viral contamination was detected throughout the year in all shellfish species and in all collection areas, independently of their harvesting areas classification. Overall, 67% of all analysed batches were contaminated by at least one of the studied viruses while the simultaneous presence of two and three viruses was detected in 22% and 6% batches, respectively. Of the three viruses, NoV was detected in 37% of the batches, followed by EV in 35%, and HAV in 33%. Nucleotide sequencing of the NoV and HAV RT-PCR products demonstrated that all strains belonged to NoV genotype GII.4 and HAV subgenotype 1B. The presence of NoV and HAV in shellfish from “A class” harvesting areas of Portugal can represent a potential health risk.