Occurrence and Trend of Hepatitis A Virus in Bivalve Molluscs Production Areas Following a Contamination Event

Elisabetta Suffredini, Yolande Thérèse Rose Proroga, Simona Di Pasquale, Orlandina Di Maro, Maria Losardo, Loredana Cozzi, Federico Capuano, Dario De Medici

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to assess the trend of hepatitis A virus (HAV) in a coastal zone impacted by a contamination event, providing data for the development of management strategies. A total of 352 samples, including four bivalve mollusc species (Mytilus galloprovincialis, Solen vagina, Venus gallina and Donax trunculus), were taken over a period of 6 months from 27 production areas of the coast and analysis were performed according to ISO/TS 15216-1:2013. HAV presence was detected in 77 samples from 11 production areas and all positive results were related to samples collected in the first 3 months of the surveillance, during which HAV prevalence was 39.9% and values as high as 5096 genome copies/g were detected. A progressive reduction of viral contamination was evident during the first trimester of the monitoring, with prevalence decreasing from 78.8% in the first month, to 37.8% in the second and 3.9% in the third and quantitative levels reduced from an average value of 672 genome copies/g to 255 genome copies/g over a period of 4 weeks (virus half-life: 21.5 days). A regression analysis showed that, during the decreasing phase of the contamination, the data fitted a reciprocal quadratic model (Ra2 = 0.921) and, based on the model, a residual presence of HAV could be estimated after negativization of the production areas. The statistical analysis of the results per shellfish species and per production area showed that there were limited differences in contamination prevalence and levels among diverse bivalve species, while a statistically significant difference was present in quantitative levels of one production area. These data could be useful for the development of both risk assessment models and code of practice for the management of viral contamination in primary production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-433
Number of pages11
JournalFood and Environmental Virology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2017


  • Depuration
  • HAV
  • Hepatitis A virus
  • Mussel
  • Risk management
  • Shellfish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Food Science
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Virology


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