Incidence of Hospital Norovirus Outbreaks and Infections Using 2 Surveillance Methods in Sweden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


OBJECTIVE To evaluate 2 different methods of surveillance and to estimate the incidence of norovirus (NoV) outbreaks in hospitals. DESIGN Prospective observational study. SETTING All 194 hospital wards in southern Sweden during 2 winter seasons (2010-2012). METHODS Clinical surveillance based on outbreak reports of 2 or more clinical cases, with symptom onset within 5 days, was compared with laboratory surveillance based on positive NoV results among inpatients. At least 2 NoV positive patients sampled within 5 days at a ward defined a cluster. Outbreak reports including at least 1 NoV positive case and clusters including at least 1 NoV positive patient with 5 or more days from ward admission to sampling were defined as NoV outbreaks. RESULTS During the study periods 135 NoV outbreaks were identified; 74 were identified by both clinical and laboratory surveillance, 18 were identified only by outbreak reports, and 43 were identified only by laboratory surveillance. The outbreak incidence was 1.0 (95% CI, 0.8-1.2) and 0.5 (95% CI, 0.3-0.6) per 1,000 admissions for the 2 different seasons, respectively. To correctly identify NoV outbreaks, the sensitivity and positive predictive value of the clinical surveillance were 68% and 88% and of the laboratory surveillance were 86% and 81%, respectively. CONCLUSION The addition of laboratory surveillance significantly improves outbreak surveillance and provides a more complete estimate of NoV outbreaks in hospitals. Laboratory surveillance can be recommended for evaluation of clinical surveillance.


External organisations
  • Skåne University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Infectious Medicine
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-102
Number of pages7
JournalInfection Control & Hospital Epidemiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jan 1
Publication categoryResearch

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