A large-scale gastroenteritis outbreak associated with Norovirus in nursing homes

Ronit Calderon-Margalit*, R. Sheffer, T. Halperin, N. Orr, D. Cohen, T. Shohat

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


An increase in gastroenteritis outbreaks due to Norovirus has been reported worldwide. We investigated a large-scale outbreak affecting 246 residents and 33 staff members in six nursing homes in the Tel-Aviv district, Israel, during 3 weeks in 2002. Person-to-person spread was noticed in all nursing homes. The spread of disease could not be attributed to social interactions. Among the elderly residents, the hospitalization rate was 10.2% and the case-fatality rate was 2.0%. Bacteriological cultures were negative. Overall, 7 out of 15 stool specimens were positive for Norovirus by RT-PCR. All were sequenced and found to be 90% identical. The characteristics of this outbreak and the RT-PCR results suggest that illness was caused by Norovirus. Due to the high case-fatality rate of Norovirus gastroenteritis, there should be a high index of suspicion when encountering a gastroenteritis outbreak among the elderly. This will enable prompt action to stop the spread of illness.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)35-40
Number of pages6
JournalEpidemiology and Infection
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2005


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