Like norovirus, Sapovirus is a virus belonging to the Caliciviridae family which multiplies in the mucous membranes of the human small intestine.
In 2002, the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses officially gave this virus the name of “Sapovirus; prior to that time it was known as the “Sapporo virus.”
The “Sapo” in “Sapovirus” is derived from Sapporo, Japan, where the virus was discovered.
Previously, Sapovirus was believed to be the cause of sporadic gastroenteritis mainly in children, but in recent years reports have been on the rise of mass outbreaks such as food poisoning..
Like norovirus, Sapovirus causes gastroenteritis throughout the year.
Epidemiological studies have strongly identified the eating of raw bivalves such as oysters and food prep workers carrying the virus as being part of the virus’ transmission route. In addition, as there have been cases of mass outbreaks at facilities such as schools and day cares where no raw oysters were eaten, person to person secondary infection is suspected to exist.
In recent years, the development and popularization of a new testing method (real-time PCR) has clarified the relationship between Sapovirus and food poisoning.
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