Project 3.2 REDRISK

Reduction of risk in shellfish harvesting areas

Major achievements in 2007

The project successfully adopted real-time PCR procedures developed in the REFHEPA project to identify key sources of viral contamination and the environmental conditions leading to contamination of shellfisheries. This is the first time that such studies have been applied to viral contamination in shellfisheries using quantitative procedures. In particular rainfall leading to overflows of untreated sewage was found to be a major cause of virus contamination in shellfisheries. It was demonstrated that in some harvest areas that high rainfall events could be a predictor of viral contamination and may form the basis for an early warning system. The results from the project have allowed the development of a framework for identifying and controlling virus risks in shellfisheries which requires further validation. Findings from the project were presented at an international SEAFOODplus workshop on virus risks in shellfish in Bilbao in June 2007 and the potential for a risk management framework highlighted by the REDRISK project formed a major element of the overall identified strategy developed to control the virus risk.