Risk factors for norovirus contamination of shellfish water catchments in England and Wales

This study examines the relationships between concentrations of human noroviruses (NoV) genogroups I (GI) and II (GII) and Escherichia coli monitored in oysters from 31 commercial harvesting areas on the coast of England and Wales from May 2009 to April 2011 and demographic, hydrometric, climatic and pollution source characteristics of upstream river catchments using multiple regression techniques. The predictive environmental factors for E. coli contamination in the oysters were rainfall (cumulative 7 days before sampling) while the predictive factors for NoV (GI + GII) were water temperature, catchment area and the combined volume of continuous sewage discharges in the catchment. Oysters from cold waters (< 5 °C) had significantly higher NoV content than those from warmer waters (> 10 °C). The association with water temperature may be consequential on the seasonal prevalence of the virus in the community or linked with oyster metabolic function. In a group of 10 study sites, mean concentrations of NoV increased as the number of stormwater spills at those sites also increased. The results of this study could be used to evaluate the likely impact of sewerage infrastructure improvements in catchments at risk of NoV contamination and to help identify sites suitable for shellfish farming.

Carlos J.A. Campos, Simon Kershaw, Owen C. Morgan, David N. Lees, International Journal of Food Microbiology, Volume 241, 16 January 2017, Pages 318–324

The article

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