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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2006 Mar;72(3):1800-9.

Human and animal enteric caliciviruses in oysters from different coastal regions of the United States.

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Food Animal Health Research Program, Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, The Ohio State University, 1680 Madison Avenue, Wooster, OH 44691-4096, USA.


Food-borne diseases are a major cause of morbidity and hospitalization worldwide. Enteric caliciviruses are capable of persisting in the environment and in the tissues of shellfish. Human noroviruses (HuNoVs) have been implicated in outbreaks linked to shellfish consumption. The genetic and antigenic relatedness between human and animal enteric caliciviruses suggests that interspecies transmission may occur. To determine the occurrence of human and animal enteric caliciviruses in United States market oysters, we surveyed regional markets. Oysters were collected from 45 bays along the United States coast during the summer and winter of 2002 and 2003. Samples were analyzed by reverse transcription-PCR, and results were confirmed by hybridization and sequence analysis. Nine samples (20%) were positive for HuNoV genogroup II after hybridization. Animal enteric caliciviruses were detected in 10 samples (22%). Seven of these samples were positive for porcine norovirus genogroup II, and one sample was positive for porcine sapovirus after hybridization and confirmation by sequencing. Bovine noroviruses were detected in two samples, and these results were confirmed by sequencing. Five HuNoV samples sequenced in the polymerase region were similar to the norovirus genogroup II US 95/96 subset (genogroup II-4) previously implicated in diarrhea outbreaks. Different seasonal and state distributions were detected. The presence of animal enteric caliciviruses was associated with states with high livestock production. Although the presence of human caliciviruses in raw oysters represents a potential risk for gastroenteritis, disease confirmation by investigation of outbreaks is required. The simultaneous detection of human and animal enteric caliciviruses raises concerns about human infection or coinfection with human and animal strains that could result in genomic recombination and the emergence of new strains.

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