A summertime peak of "winter vomiting disease": Surveillance of noroviruses in England and Wales, 1995 to 2002

Lopman, Ben A.; Reacher, Mark; Gallimore, Chris; Adak, Goutam K.; Gray, Jim J.; Brown, David W. G.
January 2003
BMC Public Health;2003, Vol. 3 Issue 1, p13
Academic Journal
Background: Noroviruses are the most common cause of gastroenteritis outbreaks in industrialised countries. Gastroenteritis caused by Norovirus infection has been described as a highly seasonal syndrome, often referred to as "winter vomiting disease". Methods: The Public Health Laboratory Service Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre has systematically collected reports of laboratory confirmed cases of Norovirus-gastroenteritis since 1995. We analysed these data for annual and seasonal trends and age distribution. Results: A mid-summer peak in reported cases of Norovirus was observed in 2002, unlike all six previous years when there was a marked summer decline. Total reports from 2002 have also been higher than all previous years. From the first 10 months of 2002, a total of 3029 Norovirus diagnoses were reported compared the previous peak in 1996 of 2437 diagnoses for the whole 12-month period. The increase in 2002 was most marked in the 65 and older age group. Conclusion: This surveillance data challenges the view that Noroviruses infections exclusively have wintertime seasonality.


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