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Waterborne outbreak of gastroenteritis in a religious summer camp in Norway, 2002

  • K. NYGÅRD (a1), L. VOLD (a1) (a2), E. HALVORSEN (a3), E. BRINGELAND (a3), J. A. RØTTINGEN (a1) (a4) and P. AAVITSLAND (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 February 2004

In July 2002 an outbreak of acute gastroenteritis occurred in a camp facility in western Norway during a 10-day seminar, with around 300 guests staying overnight and several day-time visitors. Environmental and epidemiological investigations were conducted to identify and eliminate the source of the outbreak, prevent further transmission and describe the impact of the outbreak. Of 205 respondents, 134 reported illness (attack rate, 65%). Multivariate analysis showed drinking water and taking showers at the camp-site to be significant risk factors. Secondary person-to-person spread among visitors or outside of the camp was found. Norovirus was identified in 8 out of the 10 stool samples analysed. Indicators of faecal contamination were found in samples from the private untreated water supply, but norovirus could not be identified. This outbreak investigation illustrates the importance of norovirus as a cause of waterborne illness and the additional exacerbation through person-to-person transmission in closed settings. Since aerosol transmission through showering contributed to the spread, intensified hygienic procedures such as isolation of cases and boiling of water may not be sufficient to terminate outbreaks with norovirus.

Corresponding author
Karin Nygård, Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Pb 4404 Nydalen, 0403 Oslo, Norway.
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Epidemiology & Infection
  • ISSN: 0950-2688
  • EISSN: 1469-4409
  • URL: /core/journals/epidemiology-and-infection
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