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Appl Microbiol. 1970 Jul;20(1):58-63.

Survival of virus in chilled, frozen, and processed oysters.


Samples of whole and shucked Pacific and Olympia oysters, contaminated with 10(4)-plaque-forming units (PFU) of poliovirus Lsc-2ab per ml, were held refrigerated at two temperatures, 5 and - 17.5 C. To study the survival of virus in the oysters under these conditions, samples were assayed for virus content at weekly intervals for as long as 12 weeks. Results indicated that poliovirus would survive in refrigerated oysters for a period varying from 30 to 90 days, depending upon temperature. The survival rate varied from 10 to 13%. To study the extent of the hazard presented by oysters contaminated with virus, samples of whole and shucked Pacific oysters contaminated with 10(4) PFU of poliovirus Lsc-2ab per ml were heat processed in four ways: by stewing, frying, baking, and steaming. Results indicated that virus in oysters withstood these methods of processing. The survival rate varied from 7 to 10% and appeared dependent upon the processing method used. Heat penetration studies showed that the internal temperature in the oyster was not sufficient to inactivate all of the virus present. These results suggest that not only fresh but also refrigerated and cooked oysters can serve as vectors for the dissemination of virus disease if the shellfish are harvested from a polluted area.

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