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Int J Environ Health Res. 2017 Feb;27(1):40-51. doi: 10.1080/09603123.2016.1257705. Epub 2016 Nov 23.

Environmental indicators for human norovirus outbreaks.

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a Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering , Louisiana State University , Baton Rouge , LA , USA.


Norovirus is the most common cause of outbreaks of non-bacterial gastroenteritis in human. While the winter seasonality of norovirus outbreaks has been widely reported, the association between norovirus outbreak epidemics and environmental factors remains not fully understood. This literature review is intended to improve understanding of environmental factors governing norovirus outbreaks and how the factors affect norovirus transmission. To that end, a large number of studies (67) from countries around the world were critically reviewed and discussed. Results of the literature review show that temperature, humidity, and rainfall are the most important environmental variables governing the norovirus epidemic cycle. It was found that low temperature between -6.6 and 20 °C, relative humidity between 10 and 66 %, and rainfall from 1 day to 3 months before an outbreak are effective ranges of the environmental factors, which favor the prevalence of norovirus. Some other environmental factors might have an association with the cycle of norovirus epidemics. However, further investigations are needed to understand effects of the other factors on norovirus incidence. The findings of this literature review improve our understanding of the relationship between norovirus outbreaks and environmental factors and provide the direction for future research on norovirus outbreaks.


Humidity; norovirus outbreaks; rainfall; temperature

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