Different sources were consulted to obtain information on the occurrence of viruses in bivalve molluscs on the European market. Twenty-six peer-reviewed articles were identified reporting on the molecular detection of viral RNA in 4,260 samples in total. The data obtained will be presented geographically on virus types detected, the origin and treatment of the shellfish, and the detection technique applied. The data demonstrate that viral RNA can be detected in shellfish from polluted areas, in depurated shellfish as well as those for human consumption. The European Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) database was consulted as another source. Twenty-eight notifications were identified on the presence of hepatitis A virus or norovirus in shellfish on the European market. The most recent report of the European laboratory network was referred to, to gain insight into the laboratory capability at present for the analyses of shellfish on the presence of viruses. Approximately 67% of 27 participating laboratories obtained intended results for all samples, consisting of lenticules loaded with 103 copies norovirus (genogroup I (GGI) and/or genogroup II (GGII)) and/or 1 × 105-8 × 104 copies of hepatitis A virus. From 1993, there has been a continuous development of molecular detection techniques and tools have been described to ensure quality assurance. End product testing will, however, not be achievable. As depuration has been shown not to be effective for the complete elimination of viruses, shellfish should not be in contact with faecal contaminated water in order to minimise the risk of shellfish-transmittable viral diseases.
- Bivalve molluscs
- Hepatitis A virus