Detection of human enteric viruses in shellfish collected in Tunisia

Aims: The aim of this study was to detect the main pathogenic human RNA enteric viruses able to persist in the environment such as astrovirus, enterovirus, norovirus and hepatitis A virus (HAV) in shellfish collected from two locations in northern Tunisia. Methods and Results: Viruses were eluted from digestive tissues and concentrated by polyethylene glycol precipitation before nucleic acid extraction and purification. After checking for inhibitors, all viruses were detected by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and confirmed by hybridization. Overall, 83% of the samples were found positive for at least one virus. Astrovirus was detected in 61% of the samples, norovirus in 35% and HAV in 26%. Surprisingly, only one sample was found positive for enterovirus. Conclusions: The mean number of positive samples found in this study is in accordance with the data found in the literature, indicating that no real difference exists in this respect among countries studied. A notable exception is HAV, which reflects the epidemiological status of the population. Significance and Impact of the Study: This study highlights the interest to analyse shellfish samples from different production areas. These data will be helpful to understand virus circulation and to improve shellfish safety. The results, which confirm contamination, necessitate the development of appropriate studies and monitoring in all shellfish-producing countries.


Shellfish, Reverse transcription PCR, Human enteric viruses

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How to cite
Elamri D, Aouni M, Parnaudeau Sylvain, Le Guyader Soizick (2006). Detection of human enteric viruses in shellfish collected in Tunisia. Letters in Applied Microbiology. 43 (4). 399-404.,

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