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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1995 Dec;61(12):4418-24.

Detection of small round structured viruses in shellfish by reverse transcription-PCR.

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  • 1Fish Diseases Laboratory, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Weymouth, Dorset, United Kingdom.


We describe the application of a previously developed sample extraction procedure to the detection of small round structured viruses (SRSVs) in shellfish. Initial seeding experiments showed that PCR inhibitor removal and virus recoveries were comparable to those in previous studies with poliovirus. Shellfish from a range of sewage-contaminated sites were then tested for the presence of SRSVs by using broadly reactive PCR primers followed by Southern blotting with internal probe sites. Positive results were obtained from 5 of 31 field samples tested. Four of these positive samples were from highly polluted sites. PCR product sequence analysis confirmed their identity as SRSV and showed sequence diversity compared with virus controls, suggesting that the results were not a consequence of PCR cross-contamination. Finally, shellfish associated with four separate outbreaks of viral gastroenteritis were tested by PCR and Southern blot for the presence of SRSVs. All outbreak samples tested gave positive results. As far as we are aware, this is the first demonstration of the detection in environmentally contaminated shellfish of the SRSVs responsible for human gastroenteritis. This development may help contribute to the further development of public health controls for molluscan shellfish.

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