[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: "Norwalk-like viruses" (NLVs), members of a newly defined genus of the family Caliciviridae, are the most common agents of outbreaks of gastroenteritis in the United States. Two features of NLVs have hindered the development of simple methods for detection and determination of serotype: their genetic diversity and their inability to grow in cell culture. To assess the immune responses of patients involved in outbreaks of gastroenteritis resulting from infection with NLVs, we previously used recombinant-expressed capsid antigens representing four different genetic clusters, but this panel proved insufficient for detection of an immune response in many patients. To extend and further refine this panel, we expressed in baculovirus the capsid genes of three additional genetically distinct viruses, Burwash Landing virus (BLV), White River virus (WRV), and Florida virus. All three expressed proteins assembled into virus-like particles (VLPs) that contained a full-length 64-kDa protein, but both the BLV and WRV VLPs also contained a 58-kDa protein that resulted from deletion of 39 amino acids at the amino terminus. The purified VLPs were used to measure the immune responses in 403 patients involved in 37 outbreaks of acute gastroenteritis. A majority of patients demonstrated a fourfold rise in the titer of immunoglobulin G to the antigen homologous to the outbreak strain, but most seroconverted in response to other genetically distinct antigens as well, suggesting no clear pattern of type-specific immune response. Further study of the antigenicity of the NLVs by use of VLPs should allow us to design new detection systems with either broader reactivity or better specificity and to define the optimum panel of antigens required for routine screening of patient sera.
Journal of Clinical Microbiology 01/2002; 39(12):4288-95. · 4.07 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: "Norwalk-like viruses" (NLVs) cause outbreaks of gastroenteritis and are spread frequently through contaminated food or water. Molecular diagnostics now enables detecting viruses in clinical and environmental specimens, linking of NLV strains causing outbreaks in multiple geographic locations, and tracing them to their sources in contaminated food or water. This report reviews recent advances in NLV detection and provides guidelines and recommendations for investigating NLV-related outbreaks, including specimen collection and disease prevention and control. This report also updates information provided in CDC's previously published, Viral Agents of Gastroenteritis: Public Health Importance and Outbreak Management (MMWR 1990;39 [No. RR-5]: 1-24). These CDC recommendations are intended for public health professionals who investigate outbreaks of acute gastroenteritis but could be useful in academic and research settings as well.
MMWR. Recommendations and reports: Morbidity and mortality weekly report. Recommendations and reports / Centers for Disease Control 07/2001; 50(RR-9):1-17.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acute gastroenteritis is among the most common illnesses of humankind, and its associated morbidity and mortality are greatest among those at the extremes of age, children and the elderly. In developing countries, gastroenteritis is a common cause of death in children < 5 years that can be linked to a wide variety of pathogens. In developed countries, while deaths from diarrhoea are less common, much illness leads to hospitalization or doctor visits. Much of the gastroenteritis in children is caused by viruses belonging to four distinct families--rotaviruses, caliciviruses, astroviruses and adenoviruses. Other viruses, such as the toroviruses, picobirnaviruses, picornavirus (the Aichi virus), and enterovirus 22, may play a role as well. Viral gastroenteritis occurs with two epidemiologic patterns, diarrhoea that is endemic in children and outbreaks that affect people of all ages. Viral diarrhoea in children is caused by group A rotaviruses, enteric adenoviruses, astroviruses and the caliciviruses; the illness affects all children worldwide in the first few years of life regardless of their level of hygiene, quality of water, food or sanitation, or type of behaviour. For all but perhaps the caliciviruses, these infections provide immunity from severe disease upon reinfection. Epidemic viral diarrhoea is caused primarily by the Norwalk-like virus genus of the caliciviruses. These viruses affect people of all ages, are often transmitted by faecally contaminated food or water, and are therefore subject to control by public health measures. The tremendous antigenic diversity of caliciviruses and short-lived immunity to infection permit repeated episodes throughout life. In the past decade, the molecular characterization of many of these gastroenteritis viruses has led to advances both in our understanding of the pathogens themselves and in development of a new generation of diagnostics. Application of these more sensitive methods to detect and characterize individual agents is just beginning, but has already opened up new avenues to reassess their disease burden, examine their molecular epidemiology, and consider new directions for their prevention and control through vaccination, improvements in food and water quality and sanitary practices.
Novartis Foundation symposium 02/2001; 238:5-19; discussion 19-25.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Norwalk-like viruses (NLVs) are the most common cause of acute nonbacterial gastroenteritis in adults, but little is known about their seasonality. The lack of specific diagnostic tools impeded study of these viruses in the past, and surveys using electron microscopy often grouped NLVs with other unrelated viruses. A search of the scientific literature found eight surveys of gastroenteritis, which were conducted for at least 1 year, that specifically identified NLVs. Unpublished data from laboratories of 4 NLV researchers were also used. These surveys, which were conducted in eight countries, reported sporadic cases and outbreaks of NLV-associated gastroenteritis among all age groups. The monthly occurrence of these cases and outbreaks was plotted, and while transmission occurred year-round in most surveys, a cold weather peak was demonstrated in 11 of the 12 studies. This key epidemiologic feature of the viruses has important implications concerning their mode of transmission and for understanding the etiology of acute gastroenteritis in adults.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases 06/2000; 181 Suppl 2:S284-7. · 5.85 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction has been used worldwide for the diagnosis of Norwalk-like virus (NLV) infection, yet a commonly accepted genetic classification scheme has not been established. Amino acid sequences from four regions of open-reading frame 2 (ORF2) were used to analyze 101 NLV strains, including 2 bovine strains. On the basis of this analysis, a genetic classification scheme is proposed that differentiates 99 human strains into 2 major genetic groups consisting of 5 and 10 genetic clusters, respectively. The 2 bovine strains constitute a newly defined third major genetic group composed of 2 putative clusters represented by each strain. This classification scheme is well supported by the analysis of the entire ORF2 sequences from 38 strains selected to represent the genetic diversity of the human strains used above. This scheme should provide a firm scientific basis for the unified classification of NLV strains detected around the world.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases 06/2000; 181 Suppl 2:S336-48. · 5.85 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the United States, acute gastroenteritis is one of the most commonly noted illnesses on hospital discharge records and death certificates, yet few of these cases have an etiologic diagnosis. The application of new molecular diagnostic methods has shown caliciviruses (previously referred to as the Norwalk family of viruses or small round structured viruses) to be the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) outbreaks in the United States, and they may emerge as a common cause of sporadic cases of AGE among both children and adults. Novel molecular methods have permitted outbreak strains to be traced back to their common source and have led to the first identification of virus in implicated vehicles of infection-water, shellfish, and foods contaminated both at their source and by food handlers. The broad application of these methods to routine diagnosis in hospitals and public health laboratories is advancing our appreciation of the full burden of calicivirus-associated diarrhea, and it is opening new avenues for its prevention and control.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases 06/2000; 181 Suppl 2:S254-61. · 5.85 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: "Norwalk-like viruses" (NLVs) are the most common cause of outbreaks of nonbacterial gastroenteritis. During molecular surveillance of NLV strains from 152 outbreaks of gastroenteritis that occurred in the US between August 1993 and July 1997, we identified an NLV strain that predominated during the 1995-1996 season. The "95/96-US" strain caused 60 outbreaks in geographically distant locations within the US and was identified, by sequence comparisons, in an additional 7 countries on 5 continents during the same period. This is the first demonstration linking a single NLV strain globally and suggests that the circulation of these strains might involve patterns of transmission not previously considered. The diagnostic techniques are now available to establish a global network for surveillance of NLV strains that would highlight the importance of NLVs worldwide and allow molecular identification of common strains having a global distribution so as to consider interventions for their control.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases 07/1999; 179(6):1334-44. · 5.85 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To assess possible transmission modes of, and risk factors for, gastroenteritis associated with Norwalk-like viruses (NLVs) in a geriatric long-term-care facility.
During a prolonged outbreak of acute gastroenteritis, epidemiological data on illness among residents and employees were collected in conjunction with stool, vomitus, and environmental specimens for viral testing. NLVs were identified by electron microscopy in stool and vomitus specimens, and further characterized by reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and nucleotide sequencing. Potential risk factors were examined through medical-record review, personal interview, and a self-administered questionnaire sent to all employees.
During the outbreak period, 52 (57%) of 91 residents and 34 (35%) of 90 employees developed acute gastroenteritis. Four case-residents were hospitalized; three residents died at the facility shortly after onset of illness. A point source was not identified; no association between food or water consumption and gastroenteritis was identified. A single NLV strain genetically related to Toronto virus was the only pathogen identified. Residents were at significantly higher risk of gastroenteritis if they were physically debilitated (relative risk [RR], 3.5; 95% confidence interval [CI95], 1.0-12.9), as were employees exposed to residents with acute gastroenteritis (RR, 2.6; CI95, 1.1-6.5) or ill household members (RR, 2.3; CI95, 1.4-3.6). Adherence to infection control measures among the nursing staff may have reduced the risk of gastroenteritis, but the reduction did not reach statistical significance.
In the absence of evidence for food-borne or waterborne transmission, NLVs likely spread among residents and employees of a long-term-care facility through person-to-person or airborne droplet transmission. Rapid notification of local health officials, collection of clinical specimens, and institution of infection control measures are necessary if viral gastroenteritis transmission is to be limited in institutional settings.
Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology 06/1999; 20(5):306-11. · 4.02 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fecal specimens from 90 outbreaks of nonbacterial gastroenteritis reported to 33 state health departments from January 1996 to June 1997 were examined to determine the importance of and to characterize "Norwalk-like viruses" (NLVs) in these outbreaks. NLVs were detected by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction in specimens from 86 (96%) of 90 outbreaks. Outbreaks were most frequent in nursing homes and hospitals (43%), followed by restaurants or events with catered meals (26%); consumption of contaminated food was the most commonly identified mode of transmission (37%). Nucleotide sequence analysis showed great diversity between strains but also provided evidence indicating the emergence of a common, predominant strain. The application of improved molecular techniques to detect NLVs demonstrates that most outbreaks of nonbacterial gastroenteritis in the United States appear to be associated with these viruses and that sequence analysis is a robust tool to help link or differentiate these outbreaks.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases 01/1999; 178(6):1571-8. · 5.85 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although food handlers are often implicated as the source of infection in outbreaks of food-borne viral gastroenteritis, little is known about the timing of infectivity in relation to illness. We investigated a gastroenteritis outbreak among employees of a manufacturing company and found an association (RR = 14.1, 95% CI = 2.0-97.3) between disease and eating sandwiches prepared by 6 food handlers, 1 of whom reported gastroenteritis which had subsided 4 days earlier. Norwalk-like viruses were detected by electron microscopy or reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in stool specimens from several company employees, the sick food handler whose specimen was obtained 10 days after resolution of illness, and an asymptomatic food handler. All RT-PCR product sequences were identical, suggesting a common source of infection. These data support observations from recent volunteer studies that current recommendations to exclude food handlers from work for 48-72 h after recovery from illness may not always prevent transmission of Norwalk-like viruses because virus can be shed up to 10 days after illness or while exhibiting no symptoms.
Epidemiology and Infection 01/1999; 121(3):615-21. · 2.87 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To identify the etiologic agent and risk factors associated with a hospital ward outbreak of gastroenteritis.
A regional referral hospital in upstate South Carolina.
We reviewed patient charts, surveyed staff, and tested stool from acutely ill persons. A case was defined as diarrhea and vomiting in a staff member or patient from January 5 to 13, 1996.
The initial case occurred on January 5 in a staff nurse who subsequently was hospitalized on the ward and visited by many staff colleagues. The staff were at a significantly greater risk for gastroenteritis than were patients (28/89 [31%] vs 10/91 [11%]; relative risk [RR], 2.9; 95% confidence interval [CI95], 1.5-5.5). All 10 case-patients had been exposed to case-nurses (assigned nurses who were primary caretakers), and eight had documented exposure to case-nurses 1 to 2 days before their illness. Patients exposed to case-nurses had a significantly increased risk of illness (8/57 [14%] vs 0/32; RR, >4.5; CI95, undefined). Neither staff nor patients had significantly increased risk from food, water, ice, or exposure to case-patients. Electron microscopy identified small round-structured viruses (SRSVs) in nine of nine stool samples.
This nosocomial outbreak of gastroenteritis was likely caused by SRSVs introduced by a staff member and spread via person-to-person transmission from and among staff. The potential for spread of SRSV-associated gastroenteritis from and among staff should be considered in developing strategies to prevent similar outbreaks in hospital settings.
Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology 03/1998; 19(3):162-7. · 4.02 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Small round-structured viruses (SRSVs) are a genetically and antigenically diverse group of caliciviruses that are the most common cause of outbreaks of acute nonbacterial gastroenteritis. We have applied both molecular techniques to characterize SRSVs in fecal specimens and serologic assays using four different expressed SRSV antigens to examine the distribution of outbreak strains in the United States and determine if the immune responses of patients were strain specific. Strains from 23 outbreaks of SRSV gastroenteritis were characterized by reverse transcription-PCR and nucleotide sequencing of a 277-base region of the capsid gene. These strains segregated into two distinct genogroups, I and II, comprising four and six clusters of strains respectively, each representing a distinct phylogenetic lineage. Serum IgG responses in patients were measured by enzyme immunoassay using expressed capsid antigens of Norwalk virus (NV), Toronto virus (TV), Hawaii virus (HV), and Lordsdale virus (LV), representing four of the 10 clusters. While strains in genogroups I and II were antigenically distinct, within genogroups, the specificity of the immune response varied greatly. Patients infected with genogroup I strains which had as much as 38.5% aa divergence from NV demonstrated relatively homologous seroresponses to the single NV antigen. In contrast, in genogroup II, homologous seroresponses to TV and HV were only present when the infecting strains showed less than 6.5% aa divergence from these antigens. These results suggest that TV and HV represent not only separate genetic clusters in genogroup II but also separate antigenic groups, each of which is related but distinguishable. In addition, two genetically distinct SRSV strains were identified for which we have no homologous antigen. This study suggests that while current molecular diagnostics are capable of detecting the full range of SRSVs, additional expressed antigens will be required to detect an immune response to SRSV infection caused by all the antigenically diverse strains.
Journal of Medical Virology 01/1998; 53(4):372-83. · 2.37 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Small round-structured viruses (SRSVs) are known to cause viral gastroenteritis, but until now have not been confirmed in the implicated vehicle in outbreaks.
Investigation of a gastroenteritis outbreak.
After applying epidemiologic methods to locate the outbreak source, we conducted environmental and laboratory investigations to elucidate the cause.
Tourists traveling by bus through Alaska and the Yukon Territory of Canada.
Staff of a restaurant at a business complex implicated as the outbreak source, convenience sample of persons on buses that had stopped there, and bus employees.
Odds ratios (ORs) for illness associated with exposures. Water samples from the restaurant and stool specimens from tourists and restaurant staff were examined by nucleic acid amplification using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and sequencing of viral amplification products.
The itineraries of groups of tourists manifesting vomiting or diarrhea were traced back to a restaurant where buses had stopped 33 to 36 hours previously. Water consumption was associated with illness (OR, 5.3; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.3-12.6). Eighteen of 26 employees of the business complex were ill; although not the index case, an employee ill shortly before the outbreak lived in a building connected to a septic pit, which was found to contaminate the well supplying the restaurant's water. Genotype 2/P2B SRSV was identified in stool specimens of 2 tourists and 1 restaurant employee. Stools and water samples yielded identical amplification product sequences.
The investigation documented SRSVs in a vehicle epidemiologically linked to a gastroenteritis outbreak. The findings demonstrate the power of molecular detection and identification and underscore the importance of fundamental public health practices such as restaurant inspection, assurance of a safe water supply, and disease surveillance.
JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association 09/1997; 278(7):563-8. · 29.98 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This report describes the characterization of Parkville virus, the etiologic agent of an outbreak of foodborne gastroenteritis, that has the morphology of a calicivirus and genetic properties that distinguish it from previously identified strains in the Sapporo/Manchester virus clade. Sequence analysis of the Parkville virus genome showed it contained the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase motifs GLPSG and YGDD characteristic of members of the family Caliciviridae with an organization identical to that reported for the Manchester virus where the capsid region of the polyprotein is fused to the RNA polymerase. Parkville virus however, demonstrates considerable sequence divergence from both the Manchester and Sapporo caliciviruses, providing the first indications that genetic diversity exists within caliciviruses of this previously homogeneous clade. On the basis of recent advances in the genetic characterization of members of the family Caliciviridae, we propose a new interim phylogenetic classification system in which Parkville virus would be included with Manchester and Sapporo virus as a separate group distinct from the small round-structured viruses (Norwalk-like viruses) that also cause diarrhea in humans.
Journal of Medical Virology 07/1997; 52(2):173-8. · 2.37 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Amplification of a 3-kb genome region from the RNA polymerase gene to the 3' poly(A) tail of small round-structured virus (SRSV) by reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) has been difficult to achieve because of a stable secondary structure in a region between the RNA polymerase gene and the 5' end of the second open reading frame. We have developed a one-tube RT-PCR method to efficiently amplify this region. The method comprises three procedures: purification of poly(A)+ RNA from a starting RNA solution by oligo(dT)30 covalently linked to latex particles, buffer exchange, and continuous RT and PCR in a single tube containing all reaction components. The key elements of this method are (i) first-strand cDNA synthesis with the Superscript II version of RNase H- Moloney murine leukemia virus reverse transcriptase at 50 degrees C for 10 min by using the RNA-oligo(dT)30 hybrid on the latex particles as the template and primer, and (ii) PCR by Taq and Pwo DNA polymerases mixed together with a mixture of 12 phased oligo(dT)25 antisense primers. The detection threshold of the one-tube RT-PCR method was as little as 0.2 ng of the crude RNA used as the source of the template. Using this method, we obtained 3-kb products from 24 SRSV strains previously characterized into four genetic groups. These included 5 P1-A, 4 P1-B, 5 P2-A, and 10 P2-B strains. Because SRSVs have not yet been cultivated in vitro, this novel method should facilitate molecular characterization of SRSVs to provide a firm scientific foundation for improvements and refinements of SRSV diagnostics.
Journal of Clinical Microbiology 04/1997; 35(3):570-7. · 4.07 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An epidemiologic investigation of a gastroenteritis outbreak in December 1994 indicated that salad consumption during lunch was linked with illness on 2 days (5 December: odds ratio [OR]=3.1, 95% confidence interval [CI]=2.0-5.0; 6 December: OR=3.1, 95% CI=1.9-4.9). Single stool or vomitus specimens from ill students and staff (case-patients) were examined for bacterial and viral pathogens. Small round-structured viruses (SRSVs) were detected by electron microscopy in stool specimens from 9 of 19 case-patients and in vomitus specimens from 3 of 5 case-patients. By reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), the SRSVs were shown to be G-2/P2-B type strain. The nucleotide sequences of RT-PCR products from vomitus and stool specimens of ill students were identical to stool specimens from the ill salad chef. These findings suggest that a single SRSV strain was the etiologic agent in the outbreak that was possibly transmitted to students through consumption of contaminated salad. Epidemiologic investigation in conjunction with molecular diagnostics may enable early identification of sources of infection and improve outbreak control.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases 05/1996; 173(4):787-93. · 5.85 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Toronto virus (TV), previously called "minireovirus", a human calicivirus classified as genogroup 2 and phylogenetic type P2-A, was originally described in association with diarrhea in children. The second open reading frame, encoding the capsid protein of TV24, was expressed in a baculovirus recombinant. The recombinant baculovirus produced a protein (rTV) with an apparent molecular mass of 58 kDa that self-assembled into virus-like particles approximately 30 nm in diameter with a density of 1.29 g/ml. Antigenic and immunogenic characteristics of these particles were determined by protein immunoblot, immunoprecipitation, and enzyme immunoassay. Seroconversion to the rTV protein was detected in 6 of 8 (75%) patients from a recent outbreak of gastroenteritis associated with a virus of similar phylogenetic type. These results confirm and extend the previous reports of the expression of the Norwalk and Mexico virus capsid proteins.
Archives of Virology 02/1996; 141(5):865-75. · 2.03 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The molecular epidemiology of a large, multistate outbreak of oyster-associated gastroenteritis [Kohn et al. (1995): Journal of the American Medical Association 273:466-471. Dowell et al. (1995): Journal of Infectious Diseases 171:1497-1503.] was examined using new methods to detect small round structured viruses (SRSVs) by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and to characterize strains by Southern hybridization and nucleotide sequencing of 81-bp of a PCR product amplified from the RNA polymerase gene. Of 37 stool specimens examined from patients in eight clusters of the multistate outbreak, 32 (86%) gave RT-PCR products specific for SRSVs of P1-A phylogenetic group. Nineteen PCR products from the eight clusters were confirmed to have the identical sequence, indicating that this large outbreak was attributed to a single strain of SRSV. In one of the eight clusters, five (63%) of eight patients had a mixed infection with a second SRSV strain that belonged to P2-B phylogenetic group. Of 12 specimens from patients in five other outbreaks and one sporadic case which occurred at the same time as the multistate outbreak, 10 (83%) gave products specific for SRSVs representing four phylogenetic groups (P1-A, P1-B, P2-A, and P2-B). The sequences of the P1-A products from two outbreaks and that of the P2-B product from another outbreak were identical to the P1-A sequence from the eight clusters and the P2-B sequence from the one cluster of the multistate outbreak, respectively. These results demonstrate the first application of these methods to enhance our understanding of the molecular epidemiology of SRSVs and provide answers of public health interest that could not have been obtained using classical epidemiologic methods alone.
Journal of Medical Virology 11/1995; 47(2):145-52. · 2.37 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In November 1993, clusters of gastroenteritis in six states following oyster consumption were investigated to identify common features, and stool samples were obtained to identify a pathogen. Efforts were made to account for all potentially contaminated oysters using harvest tags and the interstate recall system. Consumption of oysters was associated with illness in 10 clusters; no other food was implicated. A Norwalk-like virus was detected by electron microscopy in 9 of 18 samples and by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction in 20 of 26 samples from 6 clusters. Nucleotide sequences of a 123-bp fragment from all specimens were identical, consistent with a common source outbreak. Implicated oysters were harvested from the Louisiana coast between 9 and 12 November. Although some were recalled and destroyed, most oysters harvested from the area during this time remain unaccounted for. Current regulations and commercial practices need to be revised to permit thorough tracing and recall of contaminated oysters and to improve control of future epidemics.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases 07/1995; 171(6):1497-503. · 5.85 Impact Factor