Epidemiologic, Virologic, and Host Genetic Factors of Norovirus Outbreaks in Long-term Care Facilities: Clinical Infectious Diseases

V. P. Costantini, E. M. Cooper, H. L. Hardaker, L. E. Lee, M. Bierhoff, C. Biggs, P. R. Cieslak, J.A. Hall, J. Vinje

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background. In the Unites States, long-term care facilities (LTCFs) are the most common setting for norovirus outbreaks. These outbreaks provide a unique opportunity to better characterize the viral and host characteristics of norovirus disease. Methods. We enrolled 43 LTCFs prospectively to study the epidemiology, virology, and genetic host factors of naturally occurring norovirus outbreaks. Acute and convalescent stool, serum, and saliva samples from cases, exposed and nonexposed controls were collected. Norovirus infection was confirmed using quantitative polymerase chain reaction testing of stool samples or 4-fold increase in serum antibody titers. The presence of histo-blood group antigens (secretor, ABO, and Lewis type) was determined in saliva. Results. Sixty-two cases, 34 exposed controls, and 18 nonexposed controls from 10 norovirus outbreaks were enrolled. Forty-six percent of acute, 27% of convalescent case, and 11% of control stool samples tested norovirus positive. Outbreak genotypes were GII. 4 (Den Haag, n = 3; New Orleans, n = 4; and Sydney, n = 2) and GI. 1 (n = 1). Viral load in GII. 4 Sydney outbreaks was significantly higher than in outbreaks caused by other genotypes; cases and controls shed similar amounts of virus. Forty-seven percent of cases shed virus for = 21 days. Symptomatic infections with GII. 4 Den Haag and GII. 4 New Orleans were detected among nonsecretor individuals. Conclusions. Almost half of all symptomatic individuals shed virus for at least 21 days. Viral load was highest in GII. 4 viruses that most recently emerged; these viruses also infect the nonsecretor population. These findings will help to guide development of targeted prevention and control measures in the elderly.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Cite this