This pilot study was aimed at documenting the presence of fecal indicators and enteric pathogens in blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) from 6 communities in Nunavik, Quebec. One to four 2 kg samples of mussels were collected at low tide in each community. Samples were investigated by enumeration methods for the fecal indicators enterococci, Escherichia coli, F-specific coliphages, Clostridium perfringens, and by molecular identification for the pathogens norovirus, Salmonella spp., Campylobacter jejuni, Campylobacter coli, and Campylobacter lari, verocytotoxin-producing E. coli (particularly serovar O157:H7), Shigella spp., and Yersinia enterocolitica. In 5 communities, the presence of Giardia duodenalis and Cryptosporidium spp. was also tested by microscopy and molecular methods and that of Toxoplasma gondii was tested by molecular methods. Apart from small quantities of Clostridium perfringens in 2 samples, no bacterial or viral pathogens were detected in the mussels. Toxoplasma gondii was also not detected. However, G. duodenalis and Cryptosporidium spp. were present in 18% and 73% of the samples investigated for these pathogens, respectively. When considering the indicators and the viral and bacterial pathogens investigated, the mussels examined were of good microbiological quality, but considering the presence of potentially zoonotic protozoa, it should be recommended that consumers cook the molluscs well before eating them.
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