Recently, particular interest has been focused on the infections caused by enteric caliciviruses, either for their enteropathogenic potential in swine, also demonstrated experimentally (Guo et al. , 2001), or for the public health implications related to the possibility of transmission of these viruses to humans. New legislation to support surveillance of zoonoses and zoonotic agents in all animals has come in to force in the European Countries to implement the EU Zoonoses Directive 2003/99/EC, and caliciviruses have been included in the list B group of zoonotic agents. The Caliciviridae are small non-enveloped viruses of approximately 35 nm in diameter with single-stranded, positive-polarity RNA genomes of 7.4-8.3 kb (Green, 2000).
This research aims at the molecular investigation in swine farms located in the Region, either in diarrheic or asymptomatic pigs of different age, in order to gain data on the prevalence of SaVs, NoVs and of novel porcine caliciviruses, detected for the first time (August 2009) in Canada (St-Valerien-like caliciviruses) and recently identified by our research group in asymptomatic finisher pigs. Another important aim of this project will be to assess the circulation in swine of calicivirus strains with a zoonotic potential.