Nosocomial norovirus (NoV) infection is common and may lead to complications in vulnerable hospitalized patients. Understanding sources and modes of transmission of noroviruses within health care settings will support the design of evidence-based strategies for reducing introduction and further spread. We sequenced a highly variable segment of the genome to identify possible clusters in patients with and without acute gastroenteritis who were hospitalized in the period 2002-2007. Admission and sampling dates were used to separate patients with nosocomial infection from those without nosocomial infection. Epidemiological clustering retrieved 22 clusters, defined as ≥2 patients with nosocomial infection on the same ward within 5 days. In total, 264 patients (of 2,458 tested) were diagnosed with NoV infection, and 61% of the patient strains could be genotyped. Of those, 51% (n = 82) belonged to GII.4, 34% (n = 54) belonged to GII.3, and 15% (n = 24) belonged to other genotypes (GI.6B, GII.17, GII.7, and GII.2). In children's wards, GII.3 strains were associated with nosocomial spread more often than other viruses were, whereas in adults this was the case for GII.4 strains. Sequence alignment recognized 11 new clusters based on identical P2 domains (4 GII.3 and 7 GII.4 clusters), involving patients in different wards. This increased the total number of recognized clusters by 50%. Five of these clusters involved at least one outpatient, providing a possible target for improvement of infection control. We concluded that the use of sequence-based typing should be considered for identifying hidden nosocomial clusters of NoV infections within health care settings.

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Keywords Norovirus, acute gastroenteritis, article, child, evidence based practice, gene cluster, gene sequence, genotype, hospital infection, human, infant, major clinical study, molecular epidemiology, preschool child, priority journal, protein domain, virus infection, virus strain, virus transmission, virus typing
Persistent URL,
Sukhrie, F.H.A., Beersma, M.F.C., Wong, A., van der Veer, B., Vennema, H., Bogerman, J., & Koopmans, M.. (2011). Using molecular epidemiology to trace transmission of nosocomial norovirus infection. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 49(2), 602–606. doi:10.1128/JCM.01443-10