Norovirus Outbreaks in Long-term Care Facilities in the United States, 2009-2018: A Decade of Surveillance.Clin Infect Dis. 2022 01 07; 74(1):113-119.CI
In the United States, norovirus is the leading cause of healthcare-associated gastroenteritis outbreaks. To inform prevention efforts, we describe the epidemiology of norovirus outbreaks in long-term care facilities (LTCFs).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collect epidemiologic and laboratory data on norovirus outbreaks from US health departments through the National Outbreak Reporting System (NORS) and CaliciNet. Reports from both systems were merged, and norovirus outbreaks in nursing homes, assisted living, and other LTCFs occurring in 2009-2018 were analyzed. Data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the National Center for Health Statistics were used to estimate state LTCF counts.
During 2009-2018, 50 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico reported 13 092 norovirus outbreaks and 416 284 outbreak-associated cases in LTCFs. Participation in NORS and CaliciNet increased from 2009 to 2014 and median reporting of LTCF norovirus outbreaks stabilized at 4.1 outbreaks per 100 LTCFs (interquartile range [IQR]: 1.0-7.1) annually since 2014. Most outbreaks were spread via person-to-person transmission (90.4%), and 75% occurred during December-March. Genogroup was reported for 7292 outbreaks with 862 (11.8%) positive for GI and 6370 (87.3%) for GII. Among 4425 GII outbreaks with typing data, 3618 (81.8%) were GII.4. LTCF residents had higher attack rates than staff (median 29.0% vs 10.9%; P < .001). For every 1000 cases, there were 21.6 hospitalizations and 2.3 deaths.
LTCFs have a high burden of norovirus outbreaks. Most LTCF norovirus outbreaks occurred during winter months and were spread person-to-person. Outbreak surveillance can inform development of interventions for this vulnerable population, such as vaccines targeting GII.4 norovirus strains.