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Epidemiol Infect. 2009 Dec;137(12):1722-33. doi: 10.1017/S095026880900274X. Epub 2009 May 11.

Norovirus outbreaks in nursing homes: the evaluation of infection control measures.

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Centre for Infectious Disease Control, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, The Netherlands.


Effective infection control measures during norovirus outbreaks are urgently needed in places where vulnerable individuals gather. In the present study, the effect of a number of measures was investigated in daily practice. Forty-nine Dutch nursing homes were monitored prospectively for norovirus outbreaks during two winter seasons. A total of 37 norovirus outbreaks were registered. Control measures were most effective when implemented within 3 days after onset of disease of the first patient. Measures targeted at reduced transmission between persons, via aerosols, and via contaminated surfaces reduced illness in staff and in residents. Reducing illness in staff results in fewer costs for sick leave and substitution of staff and less disruption in the care of residents. The effect of control measures on outbreak duration was limited. This is the first intervention study examining the effect of control measures. Further research is needed to extend and refine the conclusions.

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