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Microbiologia. 1996 Dec;12(4):547-56.

New molecular methods for the detection of hepatitis A and Norwalk viruses in shellfish.

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


Outbreaks of viral enteric diseases after consumption of shellfish are a major health risk. Methodological problems (such as toxicity for cell cultures and low viral concentrations) and the unculturability of some strains (i.e. hepatitis A virus, Norwalk virus) have made it difficult to study those viruses in the environmental samples. Currently, the analysis of the hygienic quality of marketable shellfish is determined by the use of fecal indicator bacteria, but their reliability in determining viral pollution of shellfish is very low. Recent biotechnology developments are providing available rapid, sensitive, and specific tools for detecting food-borne viruses in shellfish and in shellfish-growing waters. In this paper, a review of these new molecular methods is carried out, discussing their advantages and possible applications.

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