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Rev Clin Esp. 2006 Oct;206(9):435-7.

[Waterborne outbreak of gastroenteritis caused by Norovirus transmitted through drinking water].

[Article in Spanish]

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Servicios Territoriales del Departamento de Salud de Lleida, Lleida, Spain.



The aim of this study was to conduct an investigation into an outbreak of waterborne disease caused by Norovirus due to the consumption of contaminated drinking water.


The first week after the school summer holidays we detected an outbreak of gastroenteritis at a school in Borges Blanques (Lleida, Spain). A retrospective cohort study was carried out to investigate: water consumption and food (six items). We assessed RNA Norovirus by RT-PCR in 6 stool samples. The risk of gastroenteritis was assessed by applying adjusted risk ratio (RRa) analysis at 95% confidence intervals (CI).


The overall attack rate was 45% (96/213). The main symptoms were: abdominal pain, 88.4% (84/95); nausea, 65.9% (62/94), and vomiting, 64.6% (62/96). The consumption of school drinking water was statistically associated with the disease (RRa: 2.8; 95% CI: 1.3-6.2). The school water tank was dirty, but this drinking water was qualified as potable. Six stool samples gave positive results for Norovirus.


Norovirus caused this waterborne outbreak of gastroenteritis transmitted through treated drinking water. It should be obligatory to regularly clean school drinking water deposit tanks, especially after the summer holidays.

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