Molluscan shellfish are filter-feeding animals that can accumulate bacteria and viruses present in the growing waters to levels significantly higher than the waters that they are grown in. In addition, they are commonly consumed raw or partially cooked, representing a significant public health risk when shellfish are grown in waters potentially impacted by contamination sources. The proper classification of shellfish growing waters is critical to providing safe shellfish to consumers. The project is intended to improve the capability and capacity of the Virginia Shellfish Sanitation program by: 1) Enhancing the data collection and Geographic Information System (GIS) integration of inspections conducted as a part of shellfish growing area sanitary surveys; 2) Development of an integrated GIS model for quick and accurate assessment of the impacts of point source discharges and spills to shellfish growing waters;and 3) Improvement in the capability of the Virginia Department of Health to assess the potential health risks associated with harmful algal blooms (HAB). The deliverables described in the research strategy will be developed using Virginia data. The data infrastructure and modeling capability, an outcome of this project, will be easily utilized by any state shellfish program for performing similar tasks as required under the National Shellfish Sanitation Program. These improvements will address many of the United States Food and Drug Administration's goals to provide modern and innovative approaches in risk assessment, inspection and investigation activities conducted by state regulatory food programs.

Public Health Relevance

Molluscan shellfish are filter-feeding animals that can accumulate bacteria and viruses present in the growing waters to levels significantly higher than the waters that they are grown in. In addition, they are commonly consumed raw or partially cooked, representing a significant public health risk when shellfish are grown in waters potentially impacted by contamination sources. The proper classification of shellfish growing waters is critical to providing safe shellfish to consumers. This project proposes to improve shellfish growing area classification by: modernizing the inspection and investigation capability of field staff performing sanitary survey inspections; developing rapid tools to assess and investigate the potential impact of point source discharges and spills to shellfish growing areas;and providing rapid methods to investigate and determine the potential toxicity of algal blooms that occur in shellfish growing waters.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Type
Research Demonstration--Cooperative Agreements (U18)
Project #
5U18FD004732-03
Application #
8699520
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZFD1)
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
3
Fiscal Year
2014
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Name
Virginia State Department of Health
Department
Type
DUNS #
City
Richmond
State
VA
Country
United States
Zip Code
23219