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Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2007 Apr;5(4):457-60. Epub 2007 Feb 6.

Postinfectious irritable bowel syndrome after a food-borne outbreak of acute gastroenteritis attributed to a viral pathogen.

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Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.



A large outbreak of acute gastroenteritis at the annual meeting of the Canadian Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates (CSGNA) was attributed to food-borne norovirus. A prospective study was undertaken to determine the incidence and natural history of postinfectious irritable bowel syndrome (PI-IBS).


Questionnaires addressing demographics, medical history, acute illness, prior bowel function, and current symptoms were mailed to all delegates within 1 month of the outbreak. Follow-up questionnaires were mailed at 3, 6, 12, and 24 months. The prevalence of new Rome I IBS among participants with and without acute enteric illness during the outbreak was calculated for each time point. Risk factors were assessed by multiple logistic regression.


Baseline surveys were returned by 139 of 197 delegates (70.6%; mean age, 48 +/- 6 years; 95.0% female), of whom 135 (97.1%), 133 (95.7%), 128 (92.1%), and 116 (83.4%) returned the 3-, 6-, 12-, and 24-month surveys, respectively. One hundred seven respondents (76.9%) reported an acute enteric illness during the outbreak. Eighteen subjects reported premorbid IBS. Among the remainder, 21 of 89 who experienced gastroenteritis (23.6%) reported symptoms consistent with PI-IBS at 3 months versus 1 of 29 (3.4%) who remained well (odds ratio, 6.9; 95% confidence interval, 1.0-48.7; P = .014). At 6, 12, and 24 months, the prevalence of IBS was similar among exposed versus nonexposed individuals. In multiple logistic regression, vomiting during the acute illness independently predicted risk of PI-IBS at 3 months (odds ratio, 10.5; 95% confidence interval, 1.3-85.5; P = .028).


PI-IBS is common after presumptive viral gastroenteritis but might be more transient than after bacterial dysentery.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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