The aim of this study was to apply sequence analysis of a hyper variable region of the norovirus (NoV) genomein order to identify point source outbreaks associated with suspect food or water. The hyper-variable region of the gene encoding the P2 domain was chosen as small differences in sequence are likely to indicate virus from different sources whereas identical sequencemayreveal transmission routes and the source of contamination. Strains with 100% similarity were considered as originating from a common source, whereas, strains with one or more mutations in the hyper variable region sequenced were regarded as representing unrelated transmission events. This study was able to identify a point source outbreak of a dominant strain, GII-4, on a cruise ship but also of a less common strain, GII-2, between two schools. Also identical GII-3 strains were demonstrated in food handlers amongst the same outbreak; however epidemiologically related outbreaks showed different GII-3 strains indicating multiple sources of contamination.
- Norwalk-like viruses