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J Infect Dis. 2000 Apr;181(4):1467-70. Epub 2000 Apr 7.

A foodborne outbreak of gastroenteritis associated with Norwalk-like viruses: first molecular traceback to deli sandwiches contaminated during preparation.

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Foodborne and Diarrheal Diseases Branch, Division of Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA.


In March 1998, an outbreak of acute gastroenteritis occurred among students at a Texas university. Overall, 125 ill students sought medical care. Case-control studies revealed that illness was significantly associated with eating foods from the university's main cafeteria deli bar on 9 and 10 March. Stool specimens from 9 (50%) of 18 ill students and samples of deli ham showed evidence of Norwalk-like viruses (NLVs) by reverse-transcriptase (RT) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay. A food handler who prepared sandwiches for lunch on 9 March reported that her infant had been sick with watery diarrhea since just before the outbreak. A stool sample from the infant was positive for NLV by RT-PCR, and the sequence of the amplified product was identical to that of amplified product from deli ham and students' stool specimens. This is the first time RT-PCR and sequence analysis have successfully confirmed viral contamination of a food item likely to have been contaminated by a food handler.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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