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Int Microbiol. 2001 Dec;4(4):223-6.

Global market: shellfish imports as a source of reemerging food-borne hepatitis A virus infections in Spain.

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Departamento de Microbiología y Parasitología, Facultad de Biología, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Spain.


A total of 16 mollusk imports from South America to Spain, including clam and scallop species, were analyzed for hepatitis A virus (HAV), due to the great concern about this type of food after an important hepatitis A outbreak in eastern Spain in September 1999. In addition, clams from the stock that had caused the outbreak were also tested. Of the 17 stocks, four were positive for the presence of HAV RNA as demonstrated by RT-PCR and Southern hybridization. Contradictory analyses confirmed the results of the primary tests in all cases. The findings obtained in this work strongly support the role of mollusk imports from endemic areas of HAV as an important vehicle of hepatitis A, and demonstrate the imperative need for sanitary control measures to prevent future outbreaks of this disease.

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