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J Infect Dis. 2000 May;181 Suppl 2:S387-91.

Norwalk-like virus infection in military forces: epidemic potential, sporadic disease, and the future direction of prevention and control efforts.

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  • 1Naval Medical Research Center, Bethesda, MD 20889-5607, USA. mccarthym@nmripo.nmri.nnmc.navy.mil.

Abstract

The impact of Norwalk-like virus (NLV) infection on military forces is evaluated in this report. NLVs were a major cause of both outbreaks and sporadic disease among crowded US ground troops in the 1991 war with Iraq. NLVs also have been found to be a cause of acute gastroenteritis in other ground and shipboard deployments. Four large outbreaks of acute gastroenteritis were investigated aboard US Navy aircraft carriers between 1992 and 1997. In these outbreaks, NLVs were identified as the probable cause, and crowding was a major risk factor for transmission. An evaluation of a routine shipboard deployment also suggests that NLVs cause sporadic gastroenteritis. These data indicate that NLV infection is a major cause of acute morbidity in military forces. Because of the limitations of available prevention and control methods, development of a vaccine against these viruses may be the best solution in the military environment.

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