Subcommittee on Control Strategies for Reducing Foodborne Norovirus Infections: Meeting Summary, June 4-6, 2013
- The Subcommittee reviewed the charge and current and new members were updated on the past progress of the (WGs) Work Groups 1-4. Updates were presented by subject matter experts (SMEs) on the CDC Norovirus Program and the on-going United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA) Food Virology Collaborative (NoroCORE) Project.
- New members were assigned to Work Groups: WG 1–Epidemiology and Attribution; WG 2–Mitigation and Control; WG 3–Methods and Surrogates; WG 4–Risk Assessment. WGs 1-3 made significant progress in addressing the charge questions. The groups presented draft documents and their action plans for finalizing the document.
- Work Group 1: A draft document was developed addressing the Epidemiology of Norovirus Infections. The document addresses the incidence and public health burden of Norovirus, estimating the fraction spread through food and other modes of transmission, defining the proportion related to specific foods and potential points of Norovirus contamination in foods. The document will also address what applied research would improve the current gaps in epidemiological knowledge.
- Work Group 2: This group is answering questions 3, 4, 6 and 7 related to mitigation and control strategies for Norovirus. The group reviewed past documents, as well as research and data published since the last meeting related to factors affecting the survival, persistence, and transfer of the human Norovirus (HuNoV) and factors that most significantly affect the efficacy of removal and/or inactivation of HuNoVs from surfaces and hands. The draft document they are preparing also reviews the current and available interventions, and the effectiveness of current controls such as the minimum cooking temperatures in Part 3-4 of the FDA 2009 Food Code, as well as any interventions or control strategies that might be available in the near future, to reduce or eliminate the likelihood of HuNoV contamination for at-risk foods.
- Work Group 3: This group is working on the current methods and surrogates currently available for use in research of HuNoV. Specifically the WG will 1) discuss the methods that exist for the detection of HuNoVs in foods and environmental samples and the limitations of those methods; 2) Determine the ways to standardize such methods; 3) Explore ways to define viral infectivity when using molecular-based assays; and 4) compare the available surrogate viruses.
- Work Group 4: The risk assessment questions will be addressed following the finalization of WG 1-3 documents (expected in August). Specific charge questions related to the development of systems (plans) for long term care, foodservice, and cruise ships will be addressed after the final document is developed.