Norovirus (NoV) gastroenteritis outbreaks appear frequently in food service operations (FSOs), such as in restaurants and canteens. In this study the presence of NoV and adenovirus (AdV) genomes was investigated on the surfaces of premises, especially in kitchens, of 30 FSOs where foodborne gastroenteritis outbreaks were suspected. The objective was to establish a possible association between the presence of virus genomes on surfaces and a visual hygienic status of the FSOs. NoV genome was found in 11 and AdV genome in 8 out of 30 FSOs. In total, 291 swabs were taken, of which 8.9% contained NoV and 5.8% AdV genome. The presence of NoV genomes on the surfaces was not found to associate with lower hygiene level of the premises when based on visual inspection; most (7/9) of the FSOs with NoV contamination on surfaces and a completed evaluation form had a good hygiene level (the best category). Restaurants had a significantly lower proportion of NoV-positive swabs compared to other FSOs (canteens, cafeteria, schools etc.) taken together (p = 0.00014). The presence of a designated break room for the workers was found to be significantly more common in AdV-negative kitchens (p = 0.046). Our findings suggest that swabbing is necessary for revealing viral contamination of surfaces and emphasis of hygiene inspections should be on the food handling procedures, and the education of food workers on virus transmission.
Food and Environmental Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 15, 2017
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