The role of staff and contaminated environmental surfaces in spreading of norovirus infection in a long-term health care facility in Italy


long term care facility
norovirus GII.4
surface contamination

How to Cite

Aprea, G., Di Bartolo, I., Monini, M., D’Angelantonio, D., Scattolini, S., Boni, A., Truglio, G., Di Giacobbe, S., Serio, A., Antoci, S., Di Marzio, V., Migliorati, G., D’Alterio, N., & Pomilio, F. (2021). The role of staff and contaminated environmental surfaces in spreading of norovirus infection in a long-term health care facility in Italy. Veterinaria Italiana, 57(4), 311–318. https://doi.org/10.12834/VetIt.2479.15150.1


Some residents and people from the staff of a geriatric health care facility in Teramo province, developed acute gastroenteritis from March 8th to March 21st 2017. A prompt epidemiological investigation was conducted to identify the etiological agent, the trace back the potential ways of transmission and control the infection. Information on the outbreak was collected through an epidemiological questionnaire. Faecal samples from all human cases (n = 50) and swabs from environmental surfaces were collected and analysed by RT-PCR for the presence of Norovirus (NoV). Among faecal samples, 34 out of 50 were positive for NoV with no other pathogen detected. In particular, 2 (2/34) were positive to NoV genogroup I (GI), 31 (31/34) to NoV genogroup II (GII), and one sample (1/34) was positive to both NoV GI and GII. Moreover, faecal samples of people from the canteen (n = 8) were also tested resulting negative to NoV detection. Norovirus was also detected in 28 of the 122 swabs from environmental surfaces collected. Among the positive samples, 12 NoV strains were subtyped as NoV GII.4 Sydney_2012 variant. Person-to-person close contact and contaminated environmental surfaces were the probable transmission route among the people of the health care facility. The members of the staff were considered to play an important role in transmission of NoV. A proper disinfection procedure applied during the outbreak could have been critically important to limit the dissemination of the viral infection.



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