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Clin Infect Dis. 2002 Sep 15;35(6):748-53. Epub 2002 Aug 21.

Foodborne viral gastroenteritis: challenges and opportunities.

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Viral Gastroenteritis Section, Respiratory and Enteric Viruses Branch, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, 30333, USA.


Norwalk-like viruses (NLVs) are estimated to be the most common causes of foodborne disease in the United States, accounting for two-thirds of all food-related illnesses. The epidemiologic features and disease burden associated with NLVs have, until recently, been poorly understood because of the lack of sensitive detection assays and the underuse of available diagnostic tools. However, the application of molecular techniques to diagnose and investigate outbreaks of infection during recent years has led to a growing appreciation of the importance of these agents. NLVs are a principal cause of outbreaks of acute-onset vomiting and diarrhea in all age groups-most commonly, via contamination of uncooked foods by infected foodhandlers, but also via foods contaminated at their sources, such as oysters and raspberries. NLVs may also account for >10% of sporadic cases of gastroenteritis in children and adults. Future research will focus on the development of easy-to-use diagnostic assays based on antigen and antibody detection as well as vaccine development. Implementation of simple prevention measures, including correct food-handling practices, will continue to be a priority.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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