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Hepatitis A and Norovirus: emerging foodborne disease

Norovirus Hepatitis-A-test with realtime PCR

Norovirus-Hepatitis A test: Detection by combined reverse transcriptase multiplex real-time PCR

The new multiplex real-time PCR Norovirus Hepatitis A test kit SureFast® Norovirus/Hepatitis A 3plex (F7124) with an LOD ≤ 50 RNA copies serves as a suitable tool for detection and differentiation of both RNA viruses.

The pathogen detection of these RNA viruses however is very difficult to implement in the practical routine analysis. The virus load on the food surface or in inner organs of mussels might be low, but due to the high virulence a sensitive detection of low concentrated viruses is important.

This analytical bottleneck of high dilution of viruses in the food matrix and low recovery for sampling remains so far being not satisfyingly solved. Different protocols for enrichment are published. To detect non cultivable particles, the reverse transcriptase real-time PCR with high sensitivity and specificity is the method of choice.

The system includes a control RNA which might be used either for internal amplificaction control (IAC) or if being added to the RNA preparation also as extraction control. A separately available higher concentrated MS 2 phage control RNA may be spiked into the homogenized sample to monitor the recovery of the model virus through the entire preparation and amplification process.

Norovirus and Hepatitis A: emerging threats

Like Norovirus, Hepatitis A virus is becoming a more important source of foodborne diseases. In contrast to the Norovirus mediated temporary gastrointestinal disorders, hepatitis causes persistent liver damages. During the recent months several alerts and border rejections of virus containing commodities were published.

Please check the RASFF Portal of the EU for detailed information.

Especially shellfish and berries may pose a substantial risk of transmission of these food poisoning viruses. Due to accelerated globalized supply chains any local contamination of raw food may lead to international outbreaks. As a consequence more intensive food controls for viruses are essential.

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