The bivalve shellfish are filter feeders and they act as natural bio-filters in seawater and can thus efficiently bio-concentrate and bio-accumulate enteric viruses in their digestive tissue. In Morocco, shellfish sanitary quality analysis does not currently include enteric virus detection. Therefore, the objective of this study was to detect the presence of enterovirus in mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) collected from three wild populations (Bouregreg estuary, Yacoub Al Mansour coast and Harhoura coast) in order to get an overview on the viral contamination in the aquatic environment. Between February 2014 and February 2015, two hundred and eighty-eight samples were collected and tested for viral contamination using cell culture and real-time polymerase chain reaction (real-time PCR) for intratypic differentiation (ITD). The results by cell culture and real-time PCR showed that the consumption of mussels originated from a contaminated area revealed a clear risk of infection. For this reason, the presence of enterovirus in shellfish production area represents a potential health risk by causing serious illnesses (gastroenteritis, hepatitis and poliomyelitis).
Key words: Enterovirus, shellfish, viral contamination, cell culture, real-time polymerase chain reaction (real-time PCR).
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