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J Environ Health. 2003 Dec;66(5):13-7, 26; quiz 27-8.

A gastroenteritis outbreak due to norovirus associated with a Colorado hotel.

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  • 1Division of Epidemiology, Planning, and Communication, Tri-County Health Department, 7000 E. Belleview Ave., Suite 301, Greenwood Village, CO 80111, USA.


Describing the system components of norovirus outbreaks is important in understanding how to prevent future outbreaks. Investigation of these components includes environmental, epidemiologic, and laboratory perspectives. This study describes how an investigation from these three perspectives was conducted and the significance of each component in understanding norovirus outbreaks. On May 23, 2000, members of a professional group attending two meetings at a local hotel in Englewood, Colorado, began to complain of gastrointestinal illness. Sixty-nine illnesses were reported among 133 attendees. Eight hotel employees also complained of illness. Staff from the Tri-County Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigated the outbreak. Three stool specimens collected from ill attendees contained norovirus. While the epidemiologic component did not identify a specific vehicle of transmission, the environmental investigation revealed food-handling practices, food handler perceptions, and hotel policies that may have contributed to disease transmission.

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