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Rapid detection of transnational foodborne viral infections
and elucidation of transmission routes through molecular tracing
and development of a common database

Contract number : QLK1-1999-00594
Contract type : Shared Cost Project
Total cost : € 2.520.825
EC contribution : € 1.707.562
Starting date : 1/02/2000
Duration : 36 Months
Scientific Officer : Alkmini Katsada
Project website :
Dr Marion Koopmans
National Institute of Public Health and Environment
Research Laboratory for Infectious Diseases
Antonie Van Leeuwenhoeklaan 9
3720BA Bilthoven
The Netherlands
Tel.: +31-30-2743945
Fax: +31-30-2744449
E-mail: marion.koopmans @

Foodborne and waterborne viral infections are increasingly recognised as causes of illness in humans. The most commonly implicated pathogens (calicivirus, Hepatitis A virus) can not be readily be cultured, but recent advances in molecular virology have enabled the development of the sensitive methods that are needed for their detection and typing. The lack of international standardisation, however has precluded full use of the molecular information for tracking of outbreaks across borders, and for elucidation of the major transmission routes. In this proposal we aim to allow more rapid and internationally standardised assessment of the spread of foodborne viruses, including elucidation of the mechanisms of emergence of novel variants, by standardisation of methods, the use of a common database, and epidemiological follow-up of international foodborne viral infections.


The project team has set the following overall objectives:

  • To study the importance of enteric viruses as causes of illness across Europe, with a special focus on multinational outbreaks of infection with Norwalk-like viruses and hepatitis A virus.
  • To develop novel, standardised, rapid methods for virus detection and typing to be used in all participating laboratories.
  • To establish the framework for a rapid, prepublication exchange of epidemiological, virological and molecular diagnostic data.
  • To determine which are the high-risk foods and major transmission routes of food-borne viral infections in the different countries and between countries.
  • To describe the pattern of diversity within and between countries, and identify potential pandemic strains at the onset.
  • To investigate the mechanisms of emergence of these strains, including the possibility of spill-over from animal reservoirs.


University of Helsinki
Haartman Institute
Department of Virology
Haartmaninkatu 3
PO Box 21
00014 University of Helsinki
Statens Serum Institut
Dept. of Virology
Artillerivej 5
2300 Copenhagen
Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control
Department of Virology
Doktorsringen 25
171 82 Solna
Public Health Laboratory Service
Central Public Health Laboratory
Enteric and Respiratory Virus Laboratory
61 Colindale Av.
NW9 5HT London
United Kingdom
Robert Koch-Institut
Molekulare Epidemiologie Viraler Erreger
Nordufer 20
13353 Berlin
Instituto de Salud Carlos III
Centro Nacional de Microbiologia
Crta./Majadahonda-Pozuelo Km 2
28220 Majadahonda, Madrid
Universitat de Barcelona
Departament de Microbiologia
Facultat de Biologia
Avinguda Diagonal, 645
08028 Barcelona
Institut Francais de Recherche Pour l' Exploitation de la Mer
Laboratoire de Microbiologie
Rue de l'Ile d'Yeu
PO Box 21105
44311 Nantes Cedex 03
Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Dijon
Laboratoire de Virologie
1 Bd. Jeanne d' Arc
21034 Dijon
Istituto Superiore di Sanità
Reparto di Igiene delle Tecnologie Alimentari
Laboratorio di Alimenti
Viale Regina Elena 299
00161 Rome

Fifth Framework Programme

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