Active Surveillance for Norovirus in a US Veterans Affairs Patient Population, Houston, Texas, 2015–2016
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Active Surveillance for Norovirus in a US Veterans Affairs Patient Population, Houston, Texas, 2015–2016

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  • Alternative Title:
    Open Forum Infect Dis
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    Background Norovirus is a leading cause of acute gastroenteritis (AGE); however, few data exist on endemic norovirus disease burden among adults. Candidate norovirus vaccines are currently in development for all ages, and robust estimates of norovirus incidence among adults are needed to provide baseline data. Methods We conducted active surveillance for AGE among inpatients at a Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital in Houston, Texas. Patients with AGE (≥3 loose stools, ≥2 vomiting episodes, or ≥1 episode of both loose stool and vomiting, within 24 hours) within 10 days of enrollment and non-AGE control patients were enrolled. Demographic data and clinical characteristics were collected. Stool samples were tested using the FilmArray gastrointestinal panel; virus-positives were confirmed by real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and genotyped by sequencing. Results From November 2, 2015 through November 30, 2016, 147 case patients and 19 control patients were enrolled and provided a stool specimen. Among case patients, 139 (95%) were male and 70 (48%) were aged ≥65 years. Norovirus was the leading viral pathogen detected (in 16 of 20 virus-positive case patients) and accounted for 11% of all AGE cases. No viral pathogens were detected among control patients. Incidence of norovirus-associated hospitalization was 20.3 cases/100 000 person-years and was similar among those aged <65 and ≥65 years. Conclusions This active surveillance platform employed screening and enrollment of hospitalized VA patients meeting a standardized AGE case definition, as well as non-AGE control patients. Data from this study highlight the burden of norovirus in a VA inpatient population and will be useful in policy considerations of a norovirus vaccine.
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