A foodborne outbreak of gastroenteritis associated with Norwalk-like viruses: First molecular traceback to deli sandwiches contaminated during preparation

Academic Article


  • In March 1998, an outbreak of acute gastroenteritis occurred among students at a Texas university. Overall, 125 ill students sought medical care. Case-control studies revealed that illness was significantly associated with eating foods from the university's main cafeteria dell bar on 9 and 10 March. Stool specimens from 9 (50%) of 18 ill students and samples of deli ham showed evidence of Norwalk-like viruses (NLVs) by reverse-transcriptase (RT) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay. A food handler who prepared sandwiches for lunch on 9 March reported that her infant had been sick with watery diarrhea since just before the outbreak. A stool sample from the infant was positive for NLV by RT-PCR, and the sequence of the amplified product was identical to that of amplified product from dell ham and students' stool specimens. This is the first time RT-PCR and sequence analysis have successfully confirmed vital contamination of a food item likely to have been contaminated by a food handler.
  • Authors

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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Daniels NA; Bergmire-Sweat DA; Schwab KJ; Hendricks KA; Reddy S; Rowe SM; Fankhauser RL; Monroe SS; Atmar RL; Glass RI
  • Start Page

  • 1467
  • End Page

  • 1470
  • Volume

  • 181
  • Issue

  • 4