Bivalve shellfish are at constant risk of being exposed to pathogens as a consequence of contamination of the shellfish beds with human or animal waste originating from sewage treatment plants or slurry fertilized fields. Consumption of contaminated oysters and mussels are frequently reported as causes of disease outbreaks caused by norovirus or hepatitis A virus. Other zoonotic pathogens such as hepatitis E virus (HEV), rotavirus (RV) and Salmonella from livestock may also be transmitted to shellfish via this route. In this study, 29 pooled samples from commercial Danish blue mussels were tested for porcine pathogens and indicator bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli). All samples tested negative for HEV, RV and Salmonella, whereas E. coli and the highly stable porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) were detected in eight and 12 samples, respectively. This is the first study to report the detection of PCV2 in commercial mussels. Based on the detection of PCV2 in clean areas with low prevalence of the normally applied fecal indicator E. coli, testing for PCV2 may be a more sensitive and robust specific porcine waste indicator in shellfish harvesting areas.
- Hepatitis E virus
- Porcine cirovirus