Shellfish are filter-feeding aquatic animals that can bioaccumulate pathogens from contaminated water. Often, the sanitary quality of shellfish and their harvesting waters may meet national and international standards for faecal indicator bacteria (FIB) but still contain pathogenic enteric viruses at an infectious dose for humans, thereby posing a potential risk to the health of consumers. Currently, there are no standards or guidelines for acceptable levels of enteric viral pathogens in shellfish in Europe or elsewhere and the lack of affordable and reliable methods make this unlikely in the foreseeable future. This study focuses on the potential application of a novel low-cost surrogate approach to predicting and managing the risk of human viral disease among human consumers of shellfish. Specifically, the use of bacteriophages as indicators of human enteric viruses in shellfish and their harvesting waters have been investigated with the ultimate aim of offering an important new tool for public health protection.
|Date of Award||Nov 2015|