Oysters major reservoir for pathogens, including the human norovirus.

oystersA new study published in the Applied and Environmental Microbiology journal has revealed that 80% of human norovirus genotypes were detected in oyster samples or oyster-related outbreaks.

Norovirus infects more than 6 percent of the population, resulting in an annual 20 million cases, including 56,000-71,000 hospitalizations and 570-800 deaths causing stomach pain, , nausea, and vomiting.

The scientists analyzed all oyster related norovirus sequences available from 1983-2014, which were deposited into the National Center for Biotechnology’s Genbank database and into the Nornet outbreak database. Genotyping and phylogenic analyses mapped the norovirus’s genetic diversity and geographic distribution over time.

“The results highlight oysters’ important role in the persistence of norovirus in the environment, and its transmission to humans, and they demonstrate the need for surveillance of human norovirus in oyster samples,” said Yongjie Wang, Professor in the College of Science and Technology, Shanghai Ocean University, Shanghai, China.


Yongxin Yu, Hui Cai, Linghao Hu, Rongwei Lei, Yingjie Pan, Shuling Yan, and Yongjie Wang. Molecular epidemiology of oyster-related human noroviruses: Global genetic diversity and temporal-geographical distribution from 1983 to 2014. Appl. Environ. Microbiol., 2015 DOI: 10.1128/AEM.01729-15

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