Although norovirus infection is generally known to be a mild disease, there is some evidence for severe outcome. An outbreak in a Dutch psychiatric institution, originating from pilgrims returning from Lourdes (France), provided an opportunity for performing a retrospective cohort study in order to identify risk factors for norovirus disease and excess mortality. Relative risks (RR) including 95% confidence intervals (CI) showed that attending the pilgrimage (RR 20, 95% CI 14-30) and age >70 (RR 17, 95% CI 12-22) were risk factors for symptomatic infection. In a subset of patients, for whom more detailed information was available, the use of statins was associated with norovirus disease when adjusted for underlying condition (adjusted odds ratio 39, 95% CI 12-130). Mortality was higher in cases infected during the pilgrimage compared to other residents (RR 209, 95% CI 47-938). Norovirus disease can lead to severe outcome. The newly identified risk of statins for contracting norovirus disease may have considerable consequences for the Western world and needs prospective confirmation.

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Epidemiology and Infection
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Rondy, M., Koopmans, M., D.V.M., Rotsaert, C., van Loon, T., Beljaars, B., van Dijk, G., … Verhoef, L. (2011). Norovirus disease associated with excess mortality and use of statins: A retrospective cohort study of an outbreak following a pilgrimage to Lourdes. Epidemiology and Infection, 139(3), 453–463. doi:10.1017/S0950268810000993