Institutional risk factors for norovirus outbreaks in Hong Kong elderly homes: a retrospective cohort study

Hualiang Lin; Sammy Ng; Shelley Chan; Wai Man Chan; Lee, Krystal C. K.; Ho, Suzanne C.; Linwei Tian
January 2011
BMC Public Health;2011, Vol. 11 Issue 1, p297
Academic Journal
Background: Most of the institutional outbreaks of norovirus in Hong Kong occur in elderly homes, the proportion being 69% in 2006. Residents in elderly homes are a special population seriously affected by norovirus infections, it is necessary to investigate the risk factors of the norovirus outbreaks in Hong Kong elderly homes at the facility level. Methods: A cohort of 748 elderly homes was followed up from January 2005 to December 2007; each elderly home was treated as one observation unit and the outcome event was the norovirus outbreak. Cox regression models were fitted to estimate the rate ratio (RR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) for the potential risk factors. Results: A total of 276 norovirus outbreaks were confirmed during the study period; the outbreak rate was 12.2 (95% CI: 9.9-14.6) per 100 home-years; elderly homes with a larger capacity (RR = 1.4, 95% CI: 1.3-1.5 (per 30- resident increment)), a higher staff-to-resident ratio (RR = 1.2, 95% CI: 1.1-1.3 (per 1/30 increment) and better wheelchair accessibility (RR = 2.0, 95% CI: 1.3-3.2) were found to have an elevated norovirus outbreak rate in Hong Kong elderly homes; Elderly homes with partitions between beds had a lower rate of norovirus outbreaks (RR = 0.6, 95% CI: 0.4-0.8). Conclusions: Elderly home capacity, staff-to-resident ratio and wheelchair accessibility were risk factors for norovirus outbreaks in Hong Kong elderly homes. Partitions between beds were a protective factor of norovirus outbreaks. These results should be considered in the infection control in Hong Kong elderly homes.


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