Management of hospital outbreaks of gastro-enteritis due to small round structured viruses

Chadwick, P. R., Beards, G., Brown, D., Caul, E. O., Cheesbrough, J., Clarke, I. N., Curry, A., O'Brien, S., Quigley, K., Sellwood, J. and Westmoreland, D. (2000) Management of hospital outbreaks of gastro-enteritis due to small round structured viruses Journal of Hospital Infection, 45, (1), pp. 1-10. (PMID:10833336).


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Small round structured viruses (SRSVs, Norwalk-like viruses, NLVs) are the most common
cause of outbreaks of gastro-enteritis in hospitals and also cause outbreaks in other settings such as schools,
hotels, nursing homes and cruise ships. Hospital outbreaks often lead to ward closure and major disruption
in hospital activity. Outbreaks usually affect both patients and staff, sometimes with attack rates in excess of
50%. For this reason, staff shortages can be severe, particularly if several wards are involved at the same
time. SRSVs may be spread by several routes: faecal–oral; vomiting/aerosols; food and water. Viruses may
be introduced into the ward environment by any of these routes and then propagated by person-to-person
spread. In an outbreak setting, the diagnosis can usually be made rapidly and confidently on clinical and
epidemiological grounds, particularly if vomiting is a prominent symptom. By the time an SRSV outbreak
has been recognized at ward level, most susceptible individuals will have been exposed to the virus and
infection control efforts must prioritize the prevention of spread of infection to other clinical areas by
containment of infected/exposed individuals (especially the prevention of patient and staff movements to
other areas), hand-hygiene and effective environmental decontamination.
This report of the Public Health Laboratory Service Viral Gastro-enteritis Working Group reviews the epidemiology
of outbreaks of infection due to SRSVs and makes recommendations for their management in the
hospital setting. The basic principles which underpin these recommendations will also be applicable to the
management of some community-based institutional outbreaks.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 0195-6701 (print)
Related URLs:
Organisations: Clinical & Experimental Sciences
ePrint ID: 336235
Date :
Date Event
May 2000Published
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2012 11:12
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2017 17:24
Further Information:Google Scholar

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