Norovirus illness is a global problem: emergence and spread of norovirus gii.4 variants, 2001-2007

J. Joukje Siebenga, Harry Vennema, Du Ping Zheng, Jan Vinjé, E. Bonita, Xiao Li Pang Lee, Eric C.M. Ho, Wilina Lim, Avinash Choudekar, Shobha Broor, Tamar Halperin, Nassar B.G. Rasool, Joanne Hewitt, Gail E. Greening, Miao Jin, Zhao Jun Duan, Yalda Lucero, Miguel O'Ryan, Marina Hoehne, Eckart SchreierRodney M. Rateliff, Peter A. White, Nobuhiro Lritani, Gabor Reuter, Marion Koopmans

Research output: Article

481 Citations (Scopus)


Background. Noroviruses (NoVs) are the most common cause of viral gastroenteritis. Their high incidence and importance in health care facilities result in a great impact on public health. Studies from around the world describing increasing prevalence have been difficult to compare because of differing nomenclatures for variants of the dominant genotype, GII.4. We studied the global patterns of GII.4 epidemiology in relation to its genetic diversity. Methods. Data from NoV outbreaks with dates of onset from January 2001 through March 2007 were collected from 15 institutions on 5 continents. Partial genome sequences (n = 775) were collected, allowing phylogenetic comparison of data from different countries. Results. The 15 institutions reported 3098 GII.4 outbreaks, 62% of all reported NoV outbreaks. Eight GII.4 variants were identified. Four had a global distribution-the 1996, 2002, 2004, and 2006b variants. The 2003Asia and 2006a variants caused epidemics, but they were geographically limited. Finally, the 2001 Japan and 2001Henry variants were found across the world but at low frequencies. Conclusions. NoV epidemics resulted from the global spread of GII.4 strains that evolved under the influence of population immunity. Lineages show notable (and currently unexplained) differences in geographic prevalence. Establishing a global NoV network by which data on strains with the potential to cause pandemics can be rapidly exchanged may lead to improved prevention and intervention strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)802-812
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - szept. 1 2009


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Infectious Diseases

Cite this

Siebenga, J. J., Vennema, H., Zheng, D. P., Vinjé, J., Bonita, E., Lee, X. L. P., Ho, E. C. M., Lim, W., Choudekar, A., Broor, S., Halperin, T., Rasool, N. B. G., Hewitt, J., Greening, G. E., Jin, M., Duan, Z. J., Lucero, Y., O'Ryan, M., Hoehne, M., ... Koopmans, M. (2009). Norovirus illness is a global problem: emergence and spread of norovirus gii.4 variants, 2001-2007. Journal of Infectious Diseases, 200(5), 802-812.