Reports

Method development and screening for enteric viruses in food and water - 2011 / Method development and screening for enteric viruses in food and water - 2011

Published:

01/12/2011

Authors:

Sveinn H. Magnússon, Eyjólfur Reynisson, Viggó Þór Marteinsson

Contact

Viggó Marteinsson

Research Group Leader

viggo.th.marteinsson@matis.is

Method development and screening for enteric viruses in food and water - 2011 / Method development and screening for enteric viruses in food and water - 2011

Hepatitis viruses, especially noroviruses, are one of the most common causes of foodborne infections in the West. They are transmitted through faecal contaminated water, food and humans. The aim of the project is to develop a methodology for the analysis of enteric viruses in water and food and to use these methods for the analysis of viruses in the environment and food in Iceland. This report describes work on the project in 2011. An examination was made of whether the established method for the analysis of enteric viruses in drinking water was useful for the analysis of enteric viruses in surface water. The tests were successful and subsequently screening for noroviruses and hepatitis A viruses caused by rivers and streams in the vicinity of Reykjavík. As far as we know, environmental screening for enteric viruses has not been carried out in Iceland until now. The results of that screening showed that noroviruses were found in many surface waters in the vicinity of settlements. Work was also carried out on the implementation of methods for the analysis of noroviruses in shellfish and participation in comparative tests carried out by CEFAS in the United Kingdom in that context. This work showed that the methodology was somewhat deficient, but the virus could not be detected in contaminated shellfish. This problem probably lies in the RNA isolation step of the method and it is hoped that a new system for isolation of viral nucleic acid (MiniMag, Biomérieux) that Matís has recently purchased will solve these shortcomings.

Enteric viruses, particularly norovirus, are the most common cause of foodborne illness in industrialized countries. The viruses are transmitted by fecally contaminated waters, foods and from person to person. The aims of this project are the development of methods for the detection of enteric viruses in foods and water, and the implementation of those methods for studies of enteric viruses in foods and environment in Iceland. This report describes work within the project during 2011. The applicability of the analysis method for enteric viruses in drinking water was tested for surface waters. These testing gave promising results and showed that the method could be used for detecting enteric viruses in environmental waters. Environmental screening was performed to study the prevalence of norovirus and hepatitis A virus in surface waters around Reykjavík. The results of the screening showed that norovirus was commonly found in streams and rivers in proximity of inhabited areas. Analysis methods for the detection of enteric viruses was implemented and tested by participating in a proficiency test supervised by CEFAS, UK. Those results showed the method to be somewhat lacking and no norovirus could be detected in contaminated shellfish. Newly acquired setup for the extraction of viral nucleic acid (Minimag, Biomérieux) is expected to resolve the current shortcomings of the method.

Report closed until 01.01.2014

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