Viruses in shellfish-growing waters.
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The conversion of the bivalve shellfish to a virus carriage status is the most important consequence of the virus pollution of shellfish-growing waters. Virus carriage has public health implications of significance for consumers of raw or inadequately cooked shellfish, as well as general biological implications of significance for shellfish themselves. The nonculturable human enteric viruses are responsible for most if not all of the illness transmitted by virus-carrying shellfish. Use of feces-associated natural virusin numbers comparable to those found in grossly polluted waters has been instrumental in developing new perspectives of virus carriage and its biological significance. The feasibility of developing a virus standard for virus surveillance of shellfish and its use for assessment of health risks which arise as a consequence of shellfish virus carriage is discussed.