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J Med Virol. 2000 Sep;62(1):99-103.

Distinct epidemiological patterns of Norwalk-like virus infection.

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Enteric and Respiratory Virus Laboratory, Central Public Health Laboratory, London, United Kingdom.


Norwalk-like viruses (NLV) are important economically as a cause of both sporadic gastroenteritis in the community and large outbreaks in hospitals and other institutional settings. Despite the description of several antigenic types relatively little is known about the epidemiology of these individual types. NLVs were detected by electron microscopy in faecal specimens from 706 outbreaks of gastroenteritis that represented 68% of all outbreaks of non-bacterial gastroenteritis. These outbreaks took place in the counties of West and North Yorkshire and Humberside during six winter seasons between July 1992 and June 1998. NLV strains from 671 outbreaks were typed by antigen capture enzyme linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) based on antisera made to recombinant virus-like particles of three antigenically distinct NLVs; Norwalk (NV), Mexico (MXV) and Grimsby (GRV) viruses. GRV was the predominant strain for five of the six winter seasons and overall was associated with 61% of NLV outbreaks. MXV was responsible for a single epidemic peak in the winter of 1993/94 but was also observed at other times throughout the study period. NV was only associated with two outbreaks in 1994 that were epidemiologically linked. Strains from the remaining 32% of outbreaks were non-reactive in all three ELISA. Thus, a single NLV antigenic type seems to have predominated during the period 1992 to 1998 in the UK.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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