May. 1, 2009 - Apr. 30, 2014Award Number
USDA - CSREESInvestigator
Jennifer L. Cannon, Ph.D.
University of Georgia
Human noroviruses have emerged as the most common cause of outbreaks of food-related illnesses in the United States. Hepatitis A Virus (HAV) has also been associated with numerous outbreaks of food-related illnesses and its disease burden may be underestimated. Current methods for detecting viruses in foods are not adequate and cannot discriminate between infectious and non-infectious virus. Since human noroviruses and most strains of HAV cannot be grown in the lab, researchers use model viruses to estimate the infectivity of these viruses. Improvements in methodologies for virus detection and discrimination of infectious and non-infectious virus, and technologies for virus inactivation through chemical or physical intervention strategies are needed to facilitate a reduction in the number of foodborne illnesses due to viral pathogens. This project specifically addresses these needs by developing rapid screening technologies for virus recovery and detection in foods, investigating novel intervention technologies for virus inactivation using model viruses, and evaluating unique models for distinguishing between infectious and non-infectious viruses recovered from foods. The results of this study will make possible, the rapid screening of foods potentially contaminated with viruses and assessment of the risk posed by consumption of foods contaminated with infectious virus. Furthermore, with knowledge about the efficacy of intervention strategies for virus inactivation, recommendations for food or hand decontamination or sanitation can be made. The results of this study will improve the science leading to a reduction of food-related illnesses due to viruses and will be of particular interest to food production, food processing and food service industries.