Prevention, protocols, and lab capacity: lessons from a norovirus outbreak in the Algarve

Sá, Regina; Roque, Joana; Marques Mendes, Pedro; Gonçalves, Inês; Sousa, Judite; Matos, Cátia; Júnior, Álvaro; Coelho, Anabela; Belo Correia, Cristina; Manageiro, Vera; Minetti, Corrado; De Sousa, Rita; Horta Correia, Filomena; Lopes, Carlos; Fonseca, Ana; Almeida, Soraia; Jesus Ferreira, Maria; Almendra, Tiago; des Neves, Natalie; Fernandes, Aida; Queiroz, Carolina; Maia, Carla; Bodião, Joaquim; Cristina Guerreiro, Ana and Investigation Team, Outbreak (2023). Prevention, protocols, and lab capacity: lessons from a norovirus outbreak in the Algarve. Archives of Virology, 168, article no. 299 (2023).



This brief report presents the findings of an epidemiological investigation into a large-scale outbreak of norovirus gastroenteritis that occurred in a hotel in Algarve, Portugal, in August 2022. A total of 244 cases were reported, primarily affecting Portuguese families, with the parents aged 40-50 years and the children aged 0-19 years. Reported symptoms included vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhoea. Norovirus genotype GI.3 [P3] was detected in stool samples from eight probable cases, while food samples tested negative for norovirus and common pathogenic bacteria. The investigation data collected suggest that the source of the outbreak was likely in the hotel's common areas, with subsequent person-to-person transmission in other areas. The final report emphasizes the importance of improving outbreak prevention and control measures, including the development of a foodborne outbreak investigation protocol, the establishment of an outbreak response team, and the enhancement of regional laboratory capacity.

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