Use of norovirus genotype profiles to differentiate origins of foodborne outbreaks

Linda Verhoef, Harry Vennema, Wilfrid van Pelt, David Lees, Hendriek Boshuizen, Kathleen Henshilwood, Marion Koopmans, B. Böttiger, K. Mølbak, C. Johnsen, K. H. von Bonsdorff, L. Maunula, M. Kuusi, P. Pothier, K. Balay, J. Kaplon, G. Belliot, S. le Guyader, E. Schreier, K. StarkJ. Koch, M. Höhne, G. Szücs, G. Reuter, K. Krisztalovics, M. Lynch, B. Foley, P. McKeown, S. Coughlan, E. Duizer, A. Kroneman, Y. van Duynhoven, K. Vainio, K. Nygard, G. Kapperud, M. Poljsak-Prijatelj, D. Barlic-Maganja, A. Hocevar Grom, F. Ruggeri, I. di Bartolo, A. Bosch, A. Dominguez, J. Buesa, A. Sanchez Fauquier, G. Hernández-Pezzi, K. O. Hedlund, Y. Andersson, M. Thorhagen, M. Lysén, M. Hjertqvist, D. Brown, B. Adak, J. Gray, J. Harris, M. Iturriza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

71 Citations (Scopus)


Because secondary transmission masks the connection between sources and outbreaks, estimating the proportion of foodborne norovirus infections is difficult. We studied whether norovirus genotype frequency distributions (genotype profiles) can enhance detection of the sources of foodborne outbreaks. Control measures differ substantially; therefore, differentiating this transmission mode from person-borne or food handler-borne outbreaks is of public health interest. Comparison of bivalve mollusks collected during monitoring (n = 295) and outbreak surveillance strains (n = 2,858) showed 2 distinguishable genotype profiles in 1) human feces and 2) source-contaminated food and bivalve mollusks; genotypes I.2 and I.4 were more frequently detected in foodborne outbreaks. Overall, ≈21% of all outbreaks were foodborne; further analysis showed that 25% of the outbreaks reported as food handler-associated were probably caused by source contamination of the food.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)617-624
Number of pages8
JournalEmerging Infectious Diseases
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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  • Cite this

    Verhoef, L., Vennema, H., van Pelt, W., Lees, D., Boshuizen, H., Henshilwood, K., Koopmans, M., Böttiger, B., Mølbak, K., Johnsen, C., von Bonsdorff, K. H., Maunula, L., Kuusi, M., Pothier, P., Balay, K., Kaplon, J., Belliot, G., le Guyader, S., Schreier, E., ... Iturriza, M. (2010). Use of norovirus genotype profiles to differentiate origins of foodborne outbreaks. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 16(4), 617-624.