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Available from: Fortunato D'Ancona, Nov 24, 2015
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    ABSTRACT: This paper describes the third large outbreak of Norovirus (NoV) gastroenteritis reported in the Southern Italy region of Puglia. A matched case control study was conducted, on 19 July 2005, for investigating risk factors, using a structured questionnaire on food consumption. A multivariate analysis was conducted to estimate the adjusted Odds Ratios. Laboratory and environmental investigation were also performed. On the day of the study 41 cases were identified and 41 controls were enrolled. Controls were matched for age and gender. The mean age of the cases was 26 years old, and 58% were female. The clinical pattern of the disease was characterised by the presence of diarrhoea (95%), vomiting (70%), abdominal pain (51%) and fever (32%). Of the 41 cases included in the study, the majority (65%) were residents of Northern Italian regions. No food samples were available for testing. The matched univariate analysis revealed that cases were more likely to have consumed raw mussels, eggs or ice cubes made of tap water than controls. In the multivariate conditional logistic regression analysis, having eaten raw mussels or ice became more strongly associated with illness. All of the 20 faecal samples collected were tested for NoVs. Eighteen stools (90% of total examined) were positive by RT-PCR, and sequence analysis performed onto 3 samples confirmed the presence of a GGII NoV. No test specific for NoV was performed on water or food samples. The most likely hypothesis supported by the findings of the epidemiological investigation was that illness was associated with raw mussels and ice, made with tap water. These hypothesis could not be confirmed by specific microbiologic testing for NoV in food or ice. The lack of clear knowledge of NoV as a major causative agent of epidemic outbreaks of gastroenteritis in Italy is due to the absence of timely reporting of the cases to the local public health offices and the uncommon practice of saving clinical samples for virological analysis after bacteriological testing.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2007 · BMC Infectious Diseases
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    ABSTRACT: To assess public health risks of rotavirus via drinking water consumption, a cell culture-PCR assay was developed and optimized for the detection of infectious environmental rotavirus strains in naturally contaminated source waters for drinking water production. Infectious rotavirus concentrations were estimated by an optimized cell culture-PCR assay as most probable numbers by using the presence or absence of replicated virus in different sample volumes. Infectious rotavirus was detected in 11 of 12 source water samples in concentrations varying from 0.19 (0.01-0.87) to 8.3 (1.8-34.0) infectious PCR detectable units per litre (IPDU/l), which was not significantly different from the concentrations of infectious enterovirus in these samples. In 55% of the samples, rotavirus genomes were 1000 to 10 000 times (3 log(10)-4 log(10)) more abundantly present than infectious rotavirus particles, whereas in the remaining 45% of the samples, rotavirus genomes were less than 1000 times (<3 log(10)) more abundantly present. The broad variation observed in the ratios of rotavirus RNA and infectious particles demonstrates the importance of detecting infectious viruses instead of viral RNA for the purposes involving estimations of public health risks.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2009 · Journal of Applied Microbiology
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of the work was to evaluate the circulation of the viruses and to determine a correlation between faecal indicators and viruses. Raw wastewater and effluent samples were collected from three wastewater treatment plants, during three sampling periods, and analysed, using cultural and molecular methods, to determine bacteria and virus presence. The results show a removal of bacterial indicators, but a limited reduction of the phages. The viral analysis displays the circulation of cultivable enteroviruses and differences in the seasonal-geographical distribution. Hepatitis A virus was found with only two genotypes: IA-IB. Rotavirus was present in 11.11%, 24.14%, 2.78% of the samples in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd sampling periods; Astrovirus in 33.33%, 6.9%, 25%; Adenovirus in 7.41%, 3.45%, 2.78%; Norovirus in 7.41%, 10.34%, 5.56% respectively. Adenovirus was never identified in plants B and C as Rotavirus in plant C. The presence of faecal indicators was not predictive of the enteric virus presence, whereas a different circulation of Enteroviruses was found in the wastewater treatment plants. The study shows the importance and the usefulness of molecular methods to evaluate the virus circulation and the genetic variability of Enteroviruses.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2009 · Journal of Applied Microbiology
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