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Trends in Incidence of Norovirus-associated Acute Gastroenteritis in Four Veterans Affairs Medical Center Populations in the United States, 2011–2015

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Norovirus is an important cause of epidemic acute gastroenteritis (AGE), yet the burden of endemic disease in adults has not been well documented. We estimated the prevalence and incidence of outpatient and community-acquired inpatient norovirus AGE at 4 Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMC) (Atlanta, Georgia; Bronx, New York; Houston, Texas; and Los Angeles, California) and examined trends over 4 surveillance years.


From November 2011 to September 2015, stool specimens collected within 7 days of AGE symptom onset for clinician-requested diagnostic testing were tested for norovirus, and positive samples were genotyped. Incidence was calculated by multiplying norovirus prevalence among tested specimens by AGE-coded outpatient encounters and inpatient discharges, and dividing by the number of unique patients served.


Of 1603 stool specimens, 6% tested were positive for norovirus; GII.4 viruses (GII.4 New Orleans [17%] and GII.4 Sydney [47%]) were the most common genotypes. Overall prevalence and outpatient and inpatient community-acquired incidence followed a seasonal pattern, with higher median rates during November-April (9.2%, 376/100 000, and 45/100 000, respectively) compared to May-October (3.0%, 131/100 000, and 13/100 000, respectively). An alternate-year pattern was also detected, with highest peak prevalence and outpatient and inpatient community-acquired norovirus incidence rates in the first and third years of surveillance (14%-25%, 349-613/100 000, and 43-46/100 000, respectively).


This multiyear analysis of laboratory-confirmed AGE surveillance from 4 VAMCs demonstrates dynamic intra- and interannual variability in prevalence and incidence of outpatient and inpatient community-acquired norovirus in US Veterans, highlighting the burden of norovirus disease in this adult population.

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