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Norovirus GII.4 detection in environmental samples from patient rooms during nosocomial outbreaks.


ABSTRACT: Norovirus (NoV) is an important cause of nosocomial gastroenteric outbreaks. This 5-month study was designed to characterize NoV contamination and airborne dispersal in patient rooms during hospital outbreaks. Air vents, overbed tables, washbasins, dust, and virus traps designed to collect charged particles from the air were swabbed to investigate the possibility of NoV contamination in patient rooms during outbreaks in seven wards and in an outbreak-free ward. Symptomatic inpatients were also sampled. Nucleic acid extracts of the samples were examined for NoV RNA using genogroup I (GI) and GII real-time reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR). The NoV strains were characterized by RT-PCR, sequencing, and phylogenetic analysis of the RNA-dependent RNA-polymerase-N/S capsid-coding region (1,040 nucleotides [nt]). Patient strains from two outbreaks in one ward were sequenced across the RNA-dependent-RNA-polymerase major capsid-coding region (2.5 kb), including the hypervariable P2 domain. In the outbreak wards, NoV GII was detected in 48 of 101 (47%) environmental swabs and 63 of 108 patients (58%); NoV genotype II.4 was sequenced from 18 environmental samples, dust (n = 8), virus traps (n = 4), surfaces (n = 6), and 56 patients. In contrast, NoV GII was detected in 2 (GII.4) of 28 (7%) environmental samples and in 2 (GII.6 and GII.4) of 17 patients in the outbreak-free ward. Sequence analyses revealed a high degree of similarity (>99.5%, 1,040 nt) between NoV GII.4 environmental and patient strains from a given ward at a given time. The strains clustered on 11 subbranches of the phylogenetic tree, with strong correlations to time and place. The high nucleotide similarity between the NoV GII.4 strains from patients and their hospital room environment provided molecular evidence of GII.4 dispersal in the air and dust; therefore, interventional cleaning studies are justified.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4097690 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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