Epidemiology and cost of nosocomial gastroenteritis, Avon, England, 2002-2003

Ben A. Lopman*, Mark H. Reacher, Ian B. Vipond, Dawn Hill, Christine Perry, Tracey Halladay, David W. Brown, W. John Edmunds, Joyshri Sarangi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

188 Citations (Scopus)


Healthcare-associated outbreaks of gastroenteritis are an increasingly recognized problem, but detailed knowledge of the epidemiology of these events is lacking. We actively monitored three hospital systems in England for outbreaks of gastroenteritis in 2002 to 2003. A total of 2,154 patients (2.21 cases/1,000 hospital-days) and 1,360 healthcare staff (0.47 cases/1,000 hospital-days) were affected in 227 unit outbreaks (1.33 outbreaks/unit-year). Norovirus, detected in 63% of outbreaks, was the predominant etiologic agent. Restricting new admissions to affected units resulted in 5,443 lost bed-days. The cost of bed-days lost plus staff absence was calculated to be £635,000 (U.S.$ 1.01 million) per 1,000 beds. By our extrapolation, gastroenteritis outbreaks likely cost the English National Health Service £115 million (U.S.$ 184 million) in 2002 to 2003. Outbreaks were contained faster (7.9 vs. 15.4 days, p = 0.0023) when units were rapidly closed to new admissions (<4 days). Implementing control measures rapidly may be effective in controlling outbreaks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1827-1834
Number of pages8
JournalEmerging Infectious Diseases
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2004


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