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J Hosp Infect. 1999 Oct;43(2):149-54.

A hospital outbreak of gastroenteritis possibly related to the contamination of tap water by a small round structured virus.

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Laboratoire de Virologie, Université Victor Ségalen, Bordeaux, France.


Small round structured viruses (SRSVs) are a major cause of gastroenteritis in institutions and sensitive new molecular techniques allow rapid diagnosis and the establishment of control measures. In January 1999, a 10 day-long outbreak of gastroenteritis in a re-education ward, was reported by a hospital hygiene department. A potential common source of contamination was tap water. The stools of six patients with gastroenteritis and seven tap water samples from the hospital ward, were tested for SRSV by reverse transcription and polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR): three stools and four water samples, all bacteriologically negative, were SRSV-positive. Nucleotide sequencing of a fragment of the SRSV polymerase gene showed that the sequences of the positive samples (two patients and four water samples) were identical (genogroup II). We cannot exclude interhuman transmission of SRSV together with viral soiling of some taps in the ward, but this hospital infection was more likely due to the transient contamination of the ward supply of drinking water with a SRSV strain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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