Although norovirus infection is generally known to be a mild disease, there is some evidence for severe outcome. An outbreak in a Dutch psychiatric institution, originating from pilgrims returning from Lourdes (France), provided an opportunity for performing a retrospective cohort study in order to identify risk factors for norovirus disease and excess mortality. Relative risks (RR) including 95% confidence intervals (CI) showed that attending the pilgrimage (RR 2·0, 95% CI 1·4–3·0) and age >70 (RR 1·7, 95% CI 1·2–2·2) were risk factors for symptomatic infection. In a subset of patients, for whom more detailed information was available, the use of statins was associated with norovirus disease when adjusted for underlying condition (adjusted odds ratio 3·9, 95% CI 1·2–13·0). Mortality was higher in cases infected during the pilgrimage compared to other residents (RR 20·9, 95% CI 4·7–93·8). Norovirus disease can lead to severe outcome. The newly identified risk of statins for contracting norovirus disease may have considerable consequences for the Western world and needs prospective confirmation.
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