I love the berries but not the Hep A or noro

Foodborne enteric viruses, in particular HuNoV and HAV, are the most common cause of the berry-linked viral diseases, and outbreaks around the world, and have become an important concern for health authorities. Despite the increased importance of berry fruits as a vehicle for foodborne viruses, there is limited information concerning the fate of foodborne viruses in the berry supply chain from farm to consumer.

A comprehensive understanding of berry-associated viral outbreaks – with a focus on contamination sources, persistence, survival, and the effects of current postharvest and processing interventions and practices – is essential for the development of effective preventative strategies to reduce risk of illness.

The purpose of this paper is twofold; (i) to critically review the published literature on the current state of knowledge regarding berry-associated foodborne viral outbreaks and the efficiency of berry processing practices and (ii) to identify and prioritize research gaps regarding practical and effective mechanism to reduce viral contamination of berries.

The review found that fecally infected food handlers were the predominant source of preharvest and postharvest pathogenic viral contamination. Current industrial practices applied to fresh and frozen berries demonstrated limited efficacy for reducing the viral load. While maintaining best practice personal and environmental hygiene is a key intervention, the optimization of processing parameters (i.e., freezing, frozen storage, and washing) and/or development of alternative processing technologies to induce sufficient viral inactivation in berries along with retaining sensory and nutritional quality, is also an important direction for further research.

Outbreaks, occurrence, and control of norovirus and hepatitis A virus contamination in berries: a review, 03 February 2020

Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition

Hayriye Bozkurt,Kim-Yen Phan-Thien,Floris van Ogtrop,Tina Bell &Robyn McConchie

https://doi.org/10.1080/10408398.2020.1719383

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10408398.2020.1719383?journalCode=bfsn20&mc_cid=4f462afa96&mc_eid=3d0743ebc0&

Bile acids open the door to Norovirus infection

Researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine report some people call it the ship cruise virus, but norovirus can be found in many other places. People can catch this very contagious virus from an infected person, contaminated food or water or by touching contaminated surfaces. The virus causes acute gastroenteritis – the stomach and/or the intestines get inflamed, and this leads to stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. Noroviruses are the leading cause of foodborne illness.

Teams of researchers around the world have been working for more than four decades to find a way to grow this virus in the lab. Success came in 2016 from the laboratory of Dr. Mary K. Estes at Baylor College of Medicine, where she and her colleagues grew, for the first time, noroviruses in laboratory cultures of human intestinal epithelial cells.

This work, published in Science, represents a major step forward in the study of human gastroenteritis viruses because it is allowing researchers to explore and develop procedures to prevent and treat infection and to better understand norovirus biology.

“In the Science paper, we showed that bile, a yellowish fluid produced by the liver that helps digest fats in the small intestine, was key to successfully culturing certain strains of norovirus in the lab,” said Victoria R. Tenge, graduate student of molecular virology and microbiology in the Estes’s lab. “The work discussed here (of which Tenge is co-first author) shows the results of our continuing investigations to identify the bile components that are involved in promoting norovirus infection.”

The researchers worked with human enteroids, a laboratory model of human intestinal cells that retains properties of the small intestine and is physiologically active.

“Mini-guts, as we call them, closely represent actual small intestine tissue, and, importantly, they support norovirus growth, allowing researchers to study how this virus causes disease,” said co-first author Dr. Umesh Karandikar, a research scientist in the Estes lab.

The researchers discovered that bile acids and ceramide in bile were necessary for viral infection.

 “Interestingly, we also discovered that bile acids stimulated the process of endocytosis in mini-guts, which was not previously appreciated. Endocytosis is a normal cellular process that cells use to acquire materials from their environment,” said corresponding author, Dr. Mary K. Estes, Cullen Foundation Endowed Professor Chair of Human and Molecular Virology at Baylor College of Medicine and emeritus founding director of the Texas Medical Center Digestive Diseases Center.

Their findings led the researchers to propose that as bile acids activate endocytosis, they create a stage that norovirus takes advantage of by riding along with it to enter the cells and subsequently replicate, causing disease.

 “This strategy works well for a food-borne virus,” said co-first author Dr. Kosuke Murakami, who was working in the Estes lab during most of this project. He is currently at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Tokyo. “As people ingest food, the body’s normal response is to secrete bile into the small intestine. Noroviruses contaminating food piggyback on this natural bodily response to invade cells in the small intestine, replicate and cause disease.”

The current study is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Reverse zoonoses: It’s when people infect animals

We talk a lot about Norovirus because there are a lot of outbreaks and a lot of sick people.

Dogs too.

In July 2018, recombinant norovirus GII.Pe-GII.4 Sydney was detected in dogs who had diarrhea in a kennel and in children living on the same premises in Thailand. Whole-genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of 4 noroviruses from Thailand showed that the canine norovirus was closely related to human norovirus GII.Pe-GII.4 Sydney, suggesting human-to-canine transmission.

Human norovirus infection in dogs, Thailand

Emerging Infectious Diseases, vol. 26, no. 2

Kamonpan Charoenkul, Chanakarn Nasamran, Taveesak Janetanakit, Ratanaporn Tangwangvivat, Napawan Bunpapong, Supanat Boonyapisitsopa, Kamol Suwannakarn, Apiradee Theamboonler, Watchaporn Chuchaona, Yong Poovorawan, and Alongkorn Amonsin 

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/2/19-1151_article?deliveryName=DM17555

Norovirus outbreak leads to shellfish harvesting ban on stretch of Virginia river

WTVR reports health officials announced Saturday an extension of the ban on shellfish harvesting in the waters off Parrot Island in the Rappahannock River in Middlesex County.

The news comes after Virginia Department of Health officials banned the harvesting of oysters and clams in that stretch of the river on Dec. 27 following a Norovirus outbreak in Colorado linked to shellfish harvested from the area.

As a result, oysters harvested between Dec. 1, 2019 through Jan. 11, 2020 are being recalled.

The only oysters affected by the recall were shipped by Rappahanock River Oyster Company from lease numbers 18403, 18417, and 19260 in the Rappahanock River, according to the Virginia Department of Health. The company said the oysters were sold under the Emersum brand name.

Officials noted crabs and fin fish in the river are still safe to catch.

Raw is risky: 179 sick from oysters in France

Outbreak News Today reports that French health authorities (Santé publique France) say since December 2019, 179 compulsory declarations (DO) of collective food poisoning ( toxi-infection alimentaire collective-TIAC) ​​suspected of being linked to the consumption of raw shellfish, mainly oysters.

The reports come from the majority of regions in mainland France.

Seventy-seven percent of cases occurred since December 23, with the peak of patients being observed around December 25-27.

The symptoms, mainly diarrhea and vomiting, as well as the incubation times, are compatible with infections with norovirus or other enteric viruses. Stool tests performed to date by the National Reference Center for Gastroenteritis Viruses have confirmed the presence of norovirus and other enteric viruses.

The number of TIAC suspected of being linked to the consumption of raw shellfish is significantly higher than in previous years. Each year between 25 and 120 TIAC suspected of being linked to the consumption of shellfish are reported to Public Health France, of which between 4 and 30 occurred during the December-January periods.

The norovirus barf cycle

Jessica Grose of The New York Times writes that “two days before my 37th birthday, I received the following bone-chilling email from my daughter’s elementary school: “Dear Families, We wanted to inform you that we had an unusually high number of students across all grades suffering from symptoms of a stomach bug.”

One day before my 37th birthday, I had a parent-teacher conference in that building of horrors.

You know where this is going: I spent my birthday eve in the local E.R., getting fluids and the anti-nausea medication Zofran pumped into my veins. “You need to break the barf cycle,” the attending doctor said.

The ailment sweeping my kid’s school and my intestines was norovirus, a highly contagious stomach bug that causes nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. There are multiple strains of norovirus, so you can catch it more than once in a season — and it’s basically hanging around all winter, from November to April.

Norovirus can live on surfaces for days and, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people infected with norovirus shed billions of virus particles for two weeks or more; just a few particles can make other people sick. That’s why norovirus outbreaks have caused an elementary school in Seattle and 40 schools in Colorado to close briefly in recent weeks — officials wanted to stop the spread, and keeping sick kids away from each other and the building can help.

Norovirus outbreak at Lego event leaves more than 40 people suffering with sickness and diarrhea

The organisers of the Bristol Brick show say they are ‘devastated’ and an investigation has been launched by the city’s health authorities.

Nearly 4,000 people visited the Action Indoor Sports centre to celebrate Lego but after the event more than 40 attendees started experiencing sickness and diarrhoea.

One Lego fan, who wishes to remain anonymous, said he was not happy with the cleanliness of the venue.

He said: “The state of the place left a lot to be desired.”

“The food wasn’t great and over the weekend, the toilets weren’t well maintained, the basins didn’t work well and there was no hand sanitiser and that sort of thing.”

“At least 40 people that I know about have been affected.”

On-farm food safety more important: Does washing produce with anything actually work

Human norovirus (HuNoV) is a foremost cause of domestically acquired foodborne acute gastroenteritis and outbreaks. Despite industrial efforts to control HuNoV contamination of foods, its prevalence in foodstuffs at retail is significant. HuNoV infections are often associated with the consumption of contaminated produce, including ready-to-eat (RTE) salads.

Decontamination of produce by washing with disinfectants is a consumer habit which could significantly contribute to mitigate the risk of infection. The aim of our study was to measure the effectiveness of chemical sanitizers in inactivating genogroup I and II HuNoV strains on mixed salads using a propidium monoazide (PMAxx)-viability RTqPCR assay. Addition of sodium hypochlorite, peracetic acid, or chlorine dioxide significantly enhanced viral removal as compared with water alone. Peracetic acid provided the highest effectiveness, with log10 reductions on virus levels of 3.66 ± 0.40 and 3.33 ± 0.19 for genogroup I and II, respectively. Chlorine dioxide showed lower disinfection efficiency.

Our results provide information useful to the food industry and final consumers for improving the microbiological safety of fresh products in relation to foodborne viruses.

Effectiveness of consumers washing with sanitizers to reduce human norovirus on mixed salad

Eduard Anfruns-Estrada, Marilisa Bottaro, Rosa Pinto, Susana Guix, Albert Bosch

https://www.google.com/url?rct=j&sa=t&url=https://www.mdpi.com/2304-8158/8/12/637/pdf&ct=ga&cd=CAEYACoTMzg5Njg3MDc5MDQ0MzQ4MDY2MTIaYjhlODI0Y2UzN2MyNjM2MDpjb206ZW46VVM&usg=AFQjCNHrQjbPOtC5w9HRrDeMpQBa1mdgCw

From the duh files: Ordinary people key resources in outbreaks

The case study is part of a wider project done by ECDC within the context of EU Decision 1082/2013/EU on serious cross-border threats to health. It is part of a multi-country case study project that investigates the synergies between communities affected by serious public health threats and the institutions (both health- and non-health-related) mandated to prepare for and respond to them.

The premise for the project is that affected communities are increasingly recognised as key resources in public health emergencies, and that the concerns and experiences of ordinary people should be harnessed as an important part of the response.

Community engagement and institutional collaboration in Iceland during a norovirus outbreak at an outdoor/scout centre (10-15 August 2017)

ECDC

https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/publications-data/community-engagement-and-institutional-collaboration-iceland-during-norovirus

‘When we have 20 kids actively vomiting in a school that already has 17% gone we know that we’ve got a problem’: Stomach virus shutters entire Oregon school district

CBS News reports the rapid spread of a stomach virus through the Greater Albany School District has forced the closure of all schools in the district for the rest of the week. The closure comes days after a Colorado school district of about 22,000 students was forced to close after a similar viral outbreak tore through its 46 schools.

CBS Portland affiliate KOIN-TV reported the school district in Linn County, Oregon, was trying to contain the spread of the virus, which causes vomiting and diarrhea.

The district disinfected buildings over the weekend, but kept Periwinkle Elementary School closed Monday after consulting with the Linn County Health Department. On Monday evening, the Greater Albany district said on Facebook that after consulting with state and county health officials — and noting a jump in absences in their other schools — that all schools would close and reopen December 2.

Officials said cleaning teams will continue to disinfect and sanitize throughout the closure.

In Colorado, hundreds of students were sickened by symptoms similar to those of norovirus, a highly-contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea. After the illness jumped quickly from school to school, officials were forced to take the unusual step of closing all 46.

“When we have 20 kids actively vomiting in a school that already has 17% gone we know that we’ve got a problem. We have to stop the exposure,” said Tanya Marvin, the head of nursing for the school district.