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Viruses 2013, 5(7), 1646-1654; doi:10.3390/v5071646
Concept Paper

Norovirus Contamination Levels in Ground Water Treatment Systems Used for Food-Catering Facilities in South Korea

1 Department of Microbiology, College of Medicine, the Catholic University of Korea, Seoul 137-701, Korea 2 Korea Zoonosis Research Institute, Chonbuk National University, Jeonju 561-756, Korea 3 Department of Food Science and Biotechnology, Kyungwon University, Seongnam 461-701, Korea 4 Department of Food Science and Technology, Chungbuk National University Korea, Chongju 361-763, Korea 5 Department of Food Science and Biotechnology, Seoul National University Korea, Seoul 151-742, Korea 6 DK EcoV Environmental Microbiology Lab, Biotechnology Business Incubating Center, Dankook University, Chungnam 330-714, Korea 7 Sanigen Co. Ltd., Juan-dong, Gwacheon-si, Gyeonggi-do 427-070, Korea 8 Food Microbiology Division, Food Safety Evaluation Department, National Institute of Food and Drug Safety Evaluation, Osong 363-700, Korea
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 April 2013 / Revised: 11 June 2013 / Accepted: 13 June 2013 / Published: 2 July 2013
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Viruses)
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This study aimed to inspect norovirus contamination of groundwater treatment systems used in food-catering facilities located in South Korea. A nationwide study was performed in 2010. Water samples were collected and, for the analysis of water quality, the temperature, pH, turbidity, and residual chlorine content were assessed. To detect norovirus genotypes GI and GII, RT-PCR and semi-nested PCR were performed with specific NV-GI and NV-GII primer sets, respectively. The PCR products amplified from the detected strains were then subjected to sequence analyses. Of 1,090 samples collected in 2010, seven (0.64%) were found to be norovirus-positive. Specifically, one norovirus strain was identified to have the GI-6 genotype, and six GII strains had the GII, GII-3, GII-4, and GII-17 genotypes. The very low detection rate of norovirus most likely reflects the preventative measures used. However, this virus can spread rapidly from person to person in crowded, enclosed places such as the schools investigated in this study. To promote better public health and sanitary conditions, it is necessary to periodically monitor noroviruses that frequently cause epidemic food poisoning in South Korea.
Keywords: norovirus; groundwater; nationwide; genotype norovirus; groundwater; nationwide; genotype
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Lee, B.-R.; Lee, S.-G.; Park, J.-H.; Kim, K.-Y.; Ryu, S.-R.; Rhee, O.-J.; Park, J.-W.; Lee, J.-S.; Paik, S.-Y. Norovirus Contamination Levels in Ground Water Treatment Systems Used for Food-Catering Facilities in South Korea. Viruses 2013, 5, 1646-1654.

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