• Preliminary results from a survey of oyster production areas in Ireland for norovirus

      Keaveney, S.; Flannery, J.; Guilfoyle, F.; Doré, J. (2007)
      A survey of 18 oyster production areas in Ireland for norovirus (NoV) contamination was initiated in August 2006. The findings presented are the preliminary results from the first seven months of the survey. Prior to the survey commencing, a simple desk bask sanitary survey of each area was undertaken. This provided an assessment enabling each site to be ranked into 3 categories (low, medium and high) on the basis of the risk of NoV contamination. Samples were collected on a monthly basis and tested for the presence of NoV using semi-quantitative real-time PCR allowing relative quantitation of NoV levels. A correlation was observed between occurrence and levels of NoV detected and the risk categories ascribed to each production area. To date NoV was detected in 60.7, 30.0 and 2.5 percent of samples from the high, medium and low risk categorised areas, respectively. A strong seasonal bias towards increased winter contamination was observed with NoV detected in 15.5 and 50 % of samples in August and February, respectively. The preliminary results from this survey indicate that it may be possible to predict the relative risk of NoV contamination in a shellfish harvesting area. This in conjunction with targeted NoV monitoring using real-time PCR could aid the further development of risk management procedures in shellfisheries.