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Assessing the Contribution made by the Food Chain to the Burden of UK-Acquired Norovirus Infection

Institutions
University of Liverpool
Start date
2014
End date
2017
Objective

The project will be carried out in a series of linked Work Packages (WP).

  • WP1 will involve a literature review of existing evidence for foodborne transmission of norovirus and feasibility studies of new data collection.
  • WP2 will investigate the application of a capsid integrity assay to the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) detection methods and so develop improved methods for the detection of infectious virus particles.
  • WP3 will determine prevalence of norovirus contamination of oysters on retail sale in the UK.
  • WP4 will determine the prevalence of norovirus contamination of salad leaves (lettuce) and soft berries (raspberries) on retail sale in the UK.
  • WP5 will determine the prevalence of norovirus contamination of both outbreak and non-outbreak catering environments.
  • Finally WP6 will compare the outputs from WP3 to WP5 to generate an overall assessment of the contribution foodborne norovirus makes to total norovirus illness in the UK, and the contaminated foods most commonly linked to illness.
More information

Background: Norovirus is the most common cause of infectious diarrhoea and vomiting in the community. The virus can often cause outbreaks, especially in closed or semi-closed communities. As with other microorganisms that affect the gut, norovirus can be transmitted through: person-to-person transmission; from contaminated environments; eating food contaminated at source or by infected food handlers. What is not reliably known is exactly how much norovirus infection in the UK is foodborne as opposed to transmission by other means. Findings from international research groups have found that the proportion of norovirus transmitted through contaminated food varies quite widely.

This project, through a series of linked studies, will aim to answer the following research questions:
  • How much norovirus is transmitted through contaminated foods?
  • What is the prevalence of norovirus contamination in outbreak and non-outbreak catering premises?
  • Is it possible to differentiate between infectious and non-infectious norovirus in a variety of food matrices?
Funding Source
Food Standards Agency
Project source
View this project
Project number
FS101040
Categories
Bacterial Pathogens
Commodities
Seafood
Produce