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Int J Food Microbiol. 2008 Feb 29;122(1-2):216-20. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2007.11.073. Epub 2007 Dec 4.

Statistical analysis of attack rate in norovirus foodborne outbreaks.

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Division of Biomedical Food Research, National Institute of Health Sciences, 1-18-1, Kamiyoga, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, 158-5801, Japan.


Norovirus (NoV), which causes foodborne gastroenteritis outbreaks, is one of the important viruses in public health. We statistically analyzed the attack rate in foodborne outbreaks caused by NoV. The attack rate in 95 oyster-associated outbreaks was significantly higher than that in 195 food handler-associated outbreaks (P=0.007). The difference in the number of NoV genotypes implicated is considered to be an important factor for this difference. The attack rate in 20 outbreaks associated only with GII/3 was higher than that in 143 other outbreaks (P=0.247), while the attack rate in 27 outbreaks associated only with GII/4 was lower than that in 136 other outbreaks (P=0.004), suggesting that GII/4 NoVs cause asymptomatic infection more frequently than do other NoV genotypes. Our results suggest that differences in implicated foods, susceptibility of the host to NoV infection, and pathogenicity of NoVs may influence the attack rate in NoV foodborne outbreaks.

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