Detection of serum antibodies to bovine norovirus in veterinarians and the general population in the Netherlands

Marc-Alain Widdowson, Barry Rockx, Rutger Schepp, W H M van der Poel, Jan Vinje, Yvonne T van Duynhoven, Marion P Koopmans

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


The close genetic relationship of human and animal strains of norovirus has raised the possibility of transmission of noroviruses from animals to humans and may explain the emergence of certain norovirus strains. To assess if exposure to bovine noroviruses (NoV) might result in infection in humans, an enzyme immunoassay (EIA) was designed and validated in order to detect antibodies against bovine norovirus. This and two other EIAs were used to test sera from 210 veterinarians and 630 matched population controls for IgG and IgA antibodies to recombinant capsid protein of bovine NoV (rBoV), Norwalk virus (rNV), and Lordsdale virus (rLDV). Of 840 participants, IgG reactivity to rBoV was found in 185 (22%), to rNV in 638 (76%) and to rLDV in 760 (90%). IgG reactivity to rBoV was more common in veterinarians (58/210: 28%) than in controls (127/630: 20% [P = 0.03]). IgA reactivity to rBoV was similar in both veterinarians and controls. Cross-reactivity of IgA and IgG antibodies to rBoV and rNV was seen, but 26% of all specimens positive rBoV antibodies showed high IgG reactivity to rBoV but low reactivity to rNV, suggesting a specific response to bovine antigen. No evidence of overall cross-reactivity of antibodies to rBoV and rLDV was seen. Among veterinarians, youth spent on farm (Odds Ratio [OR] = 1.8) and membership of the bovine practitioners' society (OR = 2.7) were significantly associated with IgG seroreactivity to rBoV. These data indicate that bovine strains of NoV may infect humans though less frequently than human strains.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Medical Virology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)119-128
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • Adult
  • Animal Husbandry
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral/blood
  • Caliciviridae Infections/blood
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases/blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Immunoglobulin A/blood
  • Immunoglobulin G/blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands/epidemiology
  • Norovirus/immunology
  • Occupational Diseases/blood
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Veterinarians


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