Enteric Viruses (VE) unit of the Laboratory for Food Safety

Maisons-Alfort site

Head of Unit: Sylvie Perelle

Enteric viruses are mainly responsible for gastroenteritis and hepatitis. These viruses come from several viral families. Although they have different structures and genetic bases, they share some common characteristics. Indeed, they are all capable of persisting in various environments and can be transmitted via the faecal-oral route, often through the ingestion of contaminated food or water. For a long time, the risk of foodborne viral infection was largely underestimated due to the absence of reliable, rapid tools.

The Enteric Viruses unit is dedicated to studying these pathogens, which can be transmitted through food and water and can cause food poisoning outbreaks. The unit's work aims to:

  • improve methods for the detection, quantification and typing of enteric viruses in food and drinking water;
  • determine the infectivity of viruses, by developing new molecular detection approaches and new cell models with a view to better assessing viral risks from a public health standpoint;
  • study the infection cycles of enteric viruses.

Reference activities

The unit is the National Reference Laboratory (NRL) for the detection of foodborne viruses in foodstuffs of animal origin excluding shellfish. In this framework, as a branch of the Central Laboratory for Veterinary Services (LCSV), it is involved in responding to food poisoning outbreaks suspected of being caused by viruses.