Atlas of foodborne infections
transmitted by contaminated food and water

Atlas of Patogens Contents Information sources Glossary Administration

Food-borne viruses

CZ: Viry p?ená?ené potravinami
EN: Food-borne viruses

Meat and Meat Products
Fish and Fish Products
Water and Beverages


Foodborne Disease:
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Food-borne viruses are generally enteric, being transmitted by the fecal-oral route. However, transmission by person-to-person contact and via contaminated water is common, as with other enteric viruses - hepatitis A, NLV, astrovirus and rotavirus.

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It is only in recent years that the role of viruses as etiological agents of food-borne illness have emerged. A recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report from the USA in 2000, on surveillance of food-borne disease outbreaks from 1993 to 1997, revealed that viruses accounted for 6% of all food-borne outbreaks and 8% of cases.

Hepatitis A accounted for the majority of these, followed by Norwalk-like virus (NLV). In addition, hepatitis A is the only notifiable food-borne viral disease in many countries, so it is highly likely that the incidence of food-borne illness attributed to viruses is grossly underestimated. These failures in attributing viral illness to food have mainly been due to the diagnostic difficulties in detecting viruses in an implicated food and underreporting owing to the mild nature of illness.

Hepatitis A and NLV are more commonly transmitted via foods than other food-borne viruses. The most important food-borne viruses are: hepatitis A, NLV, astrovirus and rotavirus. These are discussed individually in more detail in links.


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