Project introduction

The project "Potential impact of climate variability on norovirus incidence and seasonality: water ecology and human health" is supported by the Collaborative Regional Research Programme (CRRP), Asia Pacific Network for Global Change Research.
Climate change and climate variability potentially impact norovirus by influencing its transmission and prevalence; however, very few empirical and experimental observations exist to prove the effect.
Norovirus-associated gastroenteritis cases are more reported in winter, but it is too early to conclude that norovirus occurs preferentially in winter and is associated with temperature, because most studies have been conducted in temperate zones, and little conclusive evidence exists on the seasonality of norovirus incidence in tropical regions.
Considering the lack of long-term data on norovirus variations in the environment, as well as various climate variables, it is important to characterize the possible influence of climate factors on norovirus occurrence in both temperate and tropical countries.
Japan, Cambodia, Vietnam, and China will collaborate in this 3-year project.
Norovirus concentrations in environmental water and shellfish will be analyzed by RT-qPCR technique continuously for one year in 2-week scale, along with water quality-related climate variables.
Multiple regression analysis of all combinations of predictor variables will be used, and the most significant factors will be determined.
This project represents a key initial step toward understanding the effect of climate change factors on norovirus incidence and seasonality.
Applications include early warning systems, environmental education, policy making, and improvement of water environment and food safety.

  • The goal of the project is to better characterize the possible influence of climate variables on the occurrence and spread of norovirus-associated gastroenteritis infections in both temperate and tropical countries. The objectives include
  • 1) To go beyond empirical observations of the association between climate variability and infectious diseases and develop more scientific explanations
  • 2) To reveal temporal norovirus variations in water and shellfish, and to compare its seasonality patterns in temperate and tropical regions.
  • This project will be implemented by integrating norovirus and climate data. The methodologies include
  • 1) Study areas and sample collection
  • 2) Collection and measurement of climate data
  • 3) Detection of fecal contamination
  • 4) Quantitation of norovirus concentrations
  • 5) Analysis of norovirus seasonality based on norovirus and climate data
  • 6) Development of a cloud-based project platform as a smart toolkit for effective data management and sharing.