Viral outbreaks can result from the consumption of contaminated bivalve mollusks. However, despite the regulation related to enteric bacteria in food products, the consumption of raw and undercooked mollusks remains linked to viral epidemics in human populations. Real-time RT-PCR is a highly sensitive approach for detecting and quantifying enteric viruses, and after eliminating enzymatic amplification inhibitors from samples of interest, sensitive and specific tests, like real-time RT-PCR, can facilitate the detection and quantification of a wide range of viruses that are concentrated in mollusk digestive tissues. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the prevalence of Group-A rotaviruses in mussel (Mytilus edulis Linnaeus, 1758) specimens (n=576) collected downstream of the Oued El Maleh Estuary, which is along the coast of Mohammedia City in Morocco, using real-time RT-PCR. Rotavirus A RNA was detected in 37.5% (n=18) of the 48 sample batches, and viral loads ranged from 0.42×101 to 1.8603×104 genomic copies per g digestive tissue. Most (72.22%) of the positive samples were collected during the wet season (September-April), and the probability of detecting rotaviruses was significantly greater during the wet season than during the dry season (P<0.001). Monitoring Rotavirus A and similar viruses in shellfish may help prevent viral contamination and preserve public health.
Rotavirus, Molluscs, Gastroenteritis, Environment, Real-Time RT-PCR
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