New Study Shows Connection Between Airborne Norovirus and Hospital Outbreaks

October 27, 2020
Jill Murphy, Assistant Editor

Pharmacy Times, October 2020, Volume 88, Issue 10

The objective of the study was to investigate associations between symptoms of gastroenteritis and the presence of airborne norovirus, as well as investigating the size of norovirus-carrying particles.

The results of a study suggest that recent vomiting is the major source of airborne norovirus and imply a connection between airborne norovirus and hospital outbreaks.

The objective of the study was to investigate associations between symptoms of gastroenteritis and the presence of airborne norovirus, as well as investigating the size of norovirus-carrying particles.

Air sampling was performed repeatedly on 26 patients with norovirus infections, with their samples analyzed for norovirus RNA by reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Each patient’s last episodes of diarrhea and vomiting were recorded, while size-separating aerosol particle collection was performed.

Norovirus RNA was found in 24% of 86 air samples from 10 patients. Meanwhile, only air samples during outbreaks or before a succeeding outbreak tested positive for norovirus RNA.

Further, airborne norovirus RNA also was strongly associated with a shorter time period since the last vomiting episode.

The investigators concluded that the presence of norovirus RNA in submicrometre particles indicates that airborne transmission can be an important transmission route.

REFERENCE

Alsved M, Fraenkel CJ, Bohgard M, et al. Sources of airborne norovirus in hospital outbreaks. Clin Infect Dis.2020;70(10):2023-2028. doi:10.1093/cid/ciz584