Detection and quantification of viable and non-viable norovirus in oysters

Detection and quantification of viable and non-viable norovirus in oysters

Filter-feeding bivalve shellfish can become contaminated with pathogenic noroviruses (NoVs), when grown in seawater impacted by municipal wastewater, representing a significant public health risk. Current real-time PCR methods for the quantitative estimation of NoV levels in oysters do not distinguish between infectious and non-infectious virus particles. This project aims to identify, develop and validate an appropriate methodological approach for estimating the quantity of viable NoVs in oysters. The procedure will subsequently be used in an experimental setting to investigate the level of non-viable and viable NoV particles in oysters from a range of environmental settings. This will provide a clearer understanding of the infectious risk associated with levels of NoVs detected during monitoring by current real-time PCR methods. It is not the intention of this project to develop a method applicable for routinely detecting viable NoVs in oysters although the approach developed may form the basis for such a method in the future. The major objectives of this project are: to develop an experimental molecular based procedure to estimate the level of viable NoVs in oysters; to subsequently use this method to determine the ratio of viable and non viable NoVs in oysters under a range of conditions.

If you want to read more about this project, you can do so at erc.epa.ie.

Environmental Protection Agency 2011-W-PhD-2
Vincent O'Flaherty

Keywords: Shellfish; Wastewater; Norovirus; Health

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