Relevance of F-Specific RNA Bacteriophages in Assessing Human Norovirus Risk in Shellfish and Environmental Waters

Abstract : Human noroviruses (HuNoVs) are the main cause of shellfish-borne gastroenteritis outbreaks. In the absence of routine technical approaches allowing infectious particles to be detected, this viral pathogen is currently targeted by genome research, leading to difficult interpretations. In this study, we investigated the potential of F-specific RNA bacteriophages (FRNAPH) as fecal and viral contamination indicators in shellfish and water from a local harvesting area. FRNAPH were also used as microbial source tracking tools. Constraints imposed by detection limits are illustrated here by the detection of infectious FRNAPH in several samples in the absence of FRNAPH genomes. The opposite situation was also observed, likely explained by the persistence of the genomes being greater than infectivity. Similar considerations may be applied to HuNoVs, suggesting that HuNoV genome targeting is of limited relevance in assessing infectious risks. While FRNAPH did not provide any benefits compared to Escherichia coli as fecal pollution indicators in water, novel observations were made in shellfish: contrary to E. coli, a seasonal trend of infectious FRNAPH concentrations was observed. These concentrations were higher than those found in water, confirming bioaccumulation in shellfish. This study also underlines a relationship between the presence of HuNoV genomes and those of human-specific FRNAPH subgroup II (FRNAPH-II) in shellfish collected throughout Europe. Further research should be undertaken to evaluate FRNAPH potential as an indicator of the presence of infectious HuNoVs. To this end, shellfish involved in HuNoV-caused gastroenteritis outbreaks should be analyzed for the presence of infectious FRNAPH-II. IMPORTANCE This work provides new data about the use of F-specific RNA phages (FRNAPH) as a tool for evaluating fecal or viral contamination, especially in shellfish. In our case study, FRNAPH did not provide any benefits compared to E. coli as fecal pollution indicators in water but were found to be very useful in shellfish. Their concentrations in shellfish were higher than those found in the surrounding water, confirming bioaccumulation. This study also underlines a relationship between the presence of human norovirus genomes (HuNoVs) and those of FRNAPH subgroup II (FRNAPH-II). Considering that the two virus types have similar behaviors and since FRNAPH infectivity can be investigated, the specific detection of infectious FRNAPH-II could be regarded as an indication of the presence of infectious HuNoVs. The contribution of infectious human FRNAPH targeting for assessing the viral risk associated with HuNoVs in shellfish should thus be investigated.
Complete list of metadatas

https://hal.univ-lorraine.fr/hal-01891139
Contributor : Christophe Gantzer <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, October 9, 2018 - 12:00:18 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, February 7, 2019 - 5:47:41 PM

Links full text

Identifiers

Citation

C. Hartard, S. Banas, J. Loutreul, A. Rincé, F. Benoit, et al.. Relevance of F-Specific RNA Bacteriophages in Assessing Human Norovirus Risk in Shellfish and Environmental Waters. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, American Society for Microbiology, 2016, 82 (18), pp.5709 - 5719. ⟨10.1128/AEM.01528-16⟩. ⟨hal-01891139⟩

Share

Metrics

Record views

23