Viral foodborne illnesses

November 01, 2016

Foodborne illnesses i.e, illnesses resulting from the ingestion of food or water contaminated by pathogenic micro-organisms, represent important causes of morbidity globally. It is estimated that up to 12% of foodborne illnesses are due to viral contamination of food and water(Dicaprio, Ma, Hughes, & Li, 2013).

 Viruses like Norovirus, rotavirus, Hep A and Hep E  are responsible for an overwhelming majority of  viral foodborne illnesses in adults and children(Christou, 2011).

Transmission of viral food-borne illnesses. 
viruses are present in the faeces of infected individuals, and through poor hygiene practices, these viruses come in contact with food or water meant for consumption. Sewage leakage into sources of human food and water, for example lakes and rivers also results in contamination. foods commonly associated with viral foodborne illnesses include Shellfish, Fruits and vegetables  andpoorly cooked meats like pork(Christou, 2011).

Prevention of foodborne viral illnesses.

·         Improved hygiene practices like hand washing, especially by those handling food.

·         The use of clean water for crop irrigation, especially vegetables and fruits which are eaten raw.

·          Adequate washing, handling and refrigeration of fruits and vegetables.

·          Thorough cooking of pork meat.


Christou, L. (2011). The global burden of bacterial and viral zoonotic infections. Clin Microbiol Infect, 17(3), 326-330. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-0691.2010.03441.x

Dicaprio, E., Ma, Y., Hughes, J., & Li, J. (2013). Epidemiology, prevention, and control of the number one foodborne illness: human norovirus. Infect Dis Clin North Am, 27(3), 651-674. doi: 10.1016/j.idc.2013.05.009