During the 2014 to 2018 seasons, we conducted a longitudinal study involving enteric virus surveillance in bivalves, including natural oysters and clams harvested in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. Some norovirus (NoV) contaminations were detected in natural oysters, whereas no enteric virus was found in clams. NoVs detected in oysters were of the genotypes GII.4 and GII.6, both of which are closely related genetically to the NoV strains prevalent in humans. We found low level of enteric virus contamination in bivalves collected along the coast of Ibaraki Prefecture. The possibility of food poisoning caused by these viruses appears low, and few cases of infectious disease have been observed in the surrounding area. The harvest timing was more related to contamination quantity than the harvest area in many enteric viruses. Our results highlight that contamination of bivalves by enteric viruses may depend upon the prevalence of human diarrhea and illness.
Few enteric viruses were detected in bivalves collected along the coast of Ibaraki Prefecture.
Norovirus was detected in two samples, and the viral genotype was consistent with human infections.
It is inferred that the timing of bivalve collection is associated with enteric virus contamination.