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The Development of Improved Simplified and Standardised PCR Based Techniques for the Detection of Norovirus and Hepatitis A Virus in Molluscan Shellfish

Institutions
Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences (CEFAS)
Start date
2000
End date
2003
Objective
This research project aims to adapt existing methods to establish a simple, reliable, robust and well standardised method for Norovirus detection.

The overall objective of this project is to develop and establish PCR methods for the detection of human enteric viral pathogens (Norovirus and hepatitis A virus) contaminating molluscan shellfish that are as simple as possible and that are reliable, robust and well standardised.

Achievement of this objective would enable a wider uptake of such test methods by more routine food control laboratories.

More information
Filter-feeding bivalve molluscan shellfish (oysters, mussels, etc) concentrate microbial contaminants occurring in their growing waters and may present a health hazard when consumed raw or lightly cooked.

Human enteric viruses, occurring as a consequence of sewage contamination of growing waters, are the pathogens most frequently associated with illness following shellfish consumption.

Control measures for such contamination are hindered by the current absence of routine test methods for detection of such viruses in shellfish.

The successful detection of enteric viral pathogens such as Norovirus (NV) and hepatitis A in molluscan shellfish relies on Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) based techniques.

The presence of NVs can be readily demonstrated in shellfish from polluted harvesting areas, but detection in less polluted shellfish products is more difficult due to lower levels of virus being present.

Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the Food Standards Agency Research webpage.

Funding Source
Food Standards Agency
Project number
B04001
Categories
Bacterial Pathogens
Parasites
Natural Toxins
Viruses and Prions
Chemical Contaminants
Commodities
Seafood