A prolonged outbreak of Norwalk-like calicivirus (NLV) gastroenteritis in a rehabilitation centre due to environmental contamination
An outbreak of Norwalk-like calicivirus (NLV) gastroenteritis occurred in a rehabilitation centre in southern Finland between December 1999 and February 2000. An epidemiological investigation was conducted to determine the source and extent of the outbreak. More than 300 guests and staff members became ill during the outbreak. No food or activity in the centre could be linked epidemiologically to illness. NLV genogroup II was detected by RT–PCR in stool samples of symptomatic guests and employees. All strains reacted similarly with the microplate hybridization probe panel and showed the same nucleotide sequence, indicating that they represented the same NLV strain. Food and water samples were negative for NLV, whereas NLV was detected in three environmental specimens. The strains from patients and environment were identical based on microplate hybridization probes, suggesting that environmental contamination may have been important for the spread of calicivirus and the protracted course of the outbreak.(Accepted March 17 2002)
c1 Author for correspondence: Dr Markku Kuusi, Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, National Public Health Institute, Mannerheimintie 166, 00300 Helsinki, Finland.