Application of a Swab Sampling Method for the Detection of Norovirus and Rotavirus on Artificially Contaminated Food and Environmental Surfaces

  • K. Scherer
  • D. Mäde
  • L. Ellerbroek
  • J. Schulenburg
  • R. Johne
  • G. Klein
Original Paper


Noroviruses and rotaviruses are the leading causes of non-bacterial gastroenteritis in humans worldwide. Virus-contaminated food and surfaces represent an important risk to public health. However, established detection methods for the viruses in food products are laborious and time-consuming. Here, we describe a detailed swabbing protocol combined with real-time RT-PCR for norovirus and rotavirus detection on artificially contaminated food and environmental surfaces. Recovery rates between 2 and 78% for norovirus and between 8 and 42% for rotavirus were determined for contaminated food surfaces of apple, pepper, cooked ham and salami. From contaminated environmental surfaces (stainless steel, ceramic plate, polyethylene, wood), recovery rates between 26 and 52% (norovirus) and between 10 and 58% (rotavirus) were determined. The results demonstrate the suitability of the swab sample method for virus detection on food and environmental surfaces. Compared to other methods, it is easy to perform and significantly time-saving, predestining it for routine testing.


Norovirus Rotavirus Detection Food Environment Real-time PCR 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Scherer
    • 1
  • D. Mäde
    • 2
  • L. Ellerbroek
    • 3
  • J. Schulenburg
    • 4
  • R. Johne
    • 3
  • G. Klein
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Food Quality and Food SafetyUniversity of Veterinary Medicine HannoverHannoverGermany
  2. 2.State Laboratory for Consumer Protection, Saxony-AnhaltHalleGermany
  3. 3.Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, BerlinBerlinGermany
  4. 4.Central Institute of the Bundeswehr Medical ServiceKielGermany

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