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J Infect Dis. 2000 May;181 Suppl 2:S284-7.

Cold weather seasonality of gastroenteritis associated with Norwalk-like viruses.

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Viral Gastroenteritis Section, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA.


Norwalk-like viruses (NLVs) are the most common cause of acute nonbacterial gastroenteritis in adults, but little is known about their seasonality. The lack of specific diagnostic tools impeded study of these viruses in the past, and surveys using electron microscopy often grouped NLVs with other unrelated viruses. A search of the scientific literature found eight surveys of gastroenteritis, which were conducted for at least 1 year, that specifically identified NLVs. Unpublished data from laboratories of 4 NLV researchers were also used. These surveys, which were conducted in eight countries, reported sporadic cases and outbreaks of NLV-associated gastroenteritis among all age groups. The monthly occurrence of these cases and outbreaks was plotted, and while transmission occurred year-round in most surveys, a cold weather peak was demonstrated in 11 of the 12 studies. This key epidemiologic feature of the viruses has important implications concerning their mode of transmission and for understanding the etiology of acute gastroenteritis in adults.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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