Epidemiology and Infection

Original Papers

Establishment of a national database to link epidemiological and molecular data from norovirus outbreaks in Ireland

S. KELLYa1 c1, B. FOLEYa2, L. DUNFORDa3, S. COUGHLANa3, G. TUITEa3, M. DUFFYa3, S. MITCHELLa4, B. SMYTHa5, H. O'NEILLa4, P. McKEOWNa2, W. HALLa3 and M. LYNCHa6

a1 Department of Medical Microbiology, Adelaide and Meath Hospitals, incorporating the National Children's Hospital, Tallaght, Dublin, Republic of Ireland

a2 Health Protection Surveillance Centre, Dublin, Republic of Ireland

a3 National Virus Reference Laboratory, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin, Republic of Ireland

a4 Regional Virus Laboratory, Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, Northern Ireland

a5 Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre, Belfast, Northern Ireland

a6 Mater Misericordiae Hospital, Dublin, Republic of Ireland

SUMMARY

A prospective study of norovirus outbreaks in Ireland was carried out over a 1-year period from 1 October 2004 to 30 September 2005. Epidemiological and molecular data on norovirus outbreaks in the Republic of Ireland (ROI) and Northern Ireland (NI) were collected and combined in real time in a common database. Most reported outbreaks occurred in hospitals and residential institutions and person-to-person spread was the predominant mode of transmission. The predominant circulating norovirus strain was the GII.4-2004 strain with a small number of outbreaks due to GII.2. This study represents the first time that enhanced epidemiological and virological data on norovirus outbreaks in Ireland have been described. The link established between the epidemiological and virological institutions during the course of this study has been continued and the data is being used as a source of data for the Foodborne Viruses in Europe Network (DIVINE-NET).

(Accepted December 17 2007)

(Online publication February 06 2008)

Correspondence:

c1 Author for correspondence: Dr S. Kelly, Department of Medical Microbiology, Adelaide and Meath Hospitals, incorporating the National Children's Hospital, Tallaght, Dublin 24, Republic of Ireland. (Email: sinead.kelly6@amnch.ie)

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