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J Hosp Infect. 2009 Mar;71(3):199-205. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2008.11.018. Epub 2009 Jan 14.

Norovirus in a Dutch tertiary care hospital (2002-2007): frequent nosocomial transmission and dominance of GIIb strains in young children.

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Department of Virology, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


We report a retrospective analysis of norovirus (NoV) infections occurring in patients of a tertiary care hospital during five winter seasons (2002/03 to 2006/07). Data were compared with national surveillance data and with corresponding data for rotavirus. Between July 2002 and June 2007, faecal specimens from 221 (9.0%) of 2458 hospital patients with diarrhoea tested positive for NoV. The incidence in children varied from 2.52 per 1000 admissions in 2004/05 (when testing began to be performed routinely) to 11.9 per 1000 admissions in 2006/07, while the incidence in adults remained stable (mean: 1.49 per 1000 admissions). Two genotypes predominated during the study period: GIIb strains occurred mainly in children below the age of two-and-a-half years [odds ratio (OR): 14.7; P<0.0001] whereas GII.4 strains affected all age groups. Compared with rotavirus infections, NoV infections in children were more often hospital-acquired (59% vs 39%, OR: 2.29; P<0.01). Among these cases we identified 22 clusters of NoV infection among inpatients. Twelve of 53 patients from whom follow-up samples were available demonstrated long-term virus shedding. We report a dynamic pattern of sporadic NoV infections in large hospitals, with frequent nosocomial transmission and with the predominance of GIIb-related strains in children. Effective prevention strategies are required to reduce the impact of sporadic NoV infection in vulnerable patients.

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