• Detection of human viruses in shellfish and update on REDRISK research project, Clew Bay, Co. Mayo

      Keaveney, S.; Guilfoyle, F.; Flannery, J.; Doré, B. (Marine Institute, 2006)
      This paper describe the progress in norovirus detection methods and initial results from the REDRISK study.
    • 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.
    • REDRISK: reduction of the virus risk in shellfish harvesting areas

      Guilfoyle, F.; Keaveney, S.; Flannery, J.; Doré, B. (Marine Institute, 2006)
      Filter feeding bivalve shellfish can accumulate human pathogenic bacteria and viruses if grown in sewage-contaminated waters. Current consumer protection legislation relies on classification of harvesting areas based on their sanitary quality, using E coli as an indicator of sewage contamination. Advances in viral monitoring have shown that E coli can underestimate the extent of the contamination. The most common cause of gastroenteritis associated with shellfish is norovirus, commonly known as winter vomiting virus. The REDRISK project was undertaken to investigate the main environmental factors that cause viral contamination in shellfish. The REDRISK project is part of a EU research pillar with parallel research being undertaken in the UK, France and Spain. A recently developed technique to quantify norovirus in shellfish, real-time PCR, has been used in the REDRISK project. Clew Bay, in Co. Mayo was chosen as the study area in Ireland. The bay is generally considered to have good water quality but with certain areas subject to intermittent sewage contamination. The cooperation of local producers and organisations such as the Clew Bay Marine Forum and the Native Oyster Co-op greatly helped the project. The project was divided into a two-phased approach. Phase one involved the identification of contamination sources impacting the bay through a sanitary survey and selection of appropriate sites for further study. Results of the first phase of this study were presented previously at this forum (Keaveney, et al 2006) and the characteristics of the sites selected for study and locations within the bay are shown in table 1 and figure 1 respectively. The second phase of the project focused on monitoring environmental conditions and microbiological levels in shellfish to identify environmental conditions leading to viral contamination. This paper reports the finding of this monitoring.