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J Vis Exp. 2017 Feb 6;(120). doi: 10.3791/55205.

Swab Sampling Method for the Detection of Human Norovirus on Surfaces.

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Division of Viral Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;
Division of Viral Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Human noroviruses are a leading cause of epidemic and sporadic gastroenteritis worldwide. Because most infections are either spread directly via the person-to-person route or indirectly through environmental surfaces or food, contaminated fomites and inanimate surfaces are important vehicles for the spread of the virus during norovirus outbreaks. We developed and evaluated a protocol using macrofoam swabs for the detection and typing of human noroviruses from hard surfaces. Compared with fiber-tipped swabs or antistatic wipes, macrofoam swabs allow virus recovery (range 1.2-33.6%) from toilet seat surfaces of up to 700 cm2. The protocol includes steps for the extraction of the virus from the swabs and further concentration of the viral RNA using spin columns. In total, 127 (58.5%) of 217 swab samples that had been collected from surfaces in cruise ships and long-term care facilities where norovirus gastroenteritis had been reported tested positive for GII norovirus by RT-qPCR. Of these 29 (22.8%) could be successfully genotyped. In conclusion, detection of norovirus on environmental surfaces using the protocol we developed may assist in determining the level of environmental contamination during outbreaks as well as detection of virus when clinical samples are not available; it may also facilitate monitoring of effectiveness of remediation strategies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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