Occurrence of two Norovirus outbreaks in the same cafeteria in one week

Marina Monini, Fabio Ostanello, Edoardo Vignolo, Elisabetta Pagani, Sabine Gamper, Silvia Spertini, Elisa Masi, Michela Rabini, Alberta Stenico, Elisa Poznanski, Ilaria Di Bartolo

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In October 2017, two outbreaks of gastroenteritis (GE) occurred among patrons of a cafeteria in Italy in one week. Virological and bacteria investigations on stool samples, environment and food were conducted to identify the infectious agents and the possible source of infection. Forty-five cases occurred in the two outbreaks, including 13 laboratory-confirmed cases of norovirus GI. Nine staff members were interviewed, six were confirmed positive for NoV GI and 3 experienced GE symptoms. Bacteria faecal indicators and other bacteria pathogens were not detected in either environmental swab samples or food. A low level of NoV GII was detected in two environmental swab samples. The same GI.6 strain was identified in cases related to both outbreaks, suggesting a common source of infection. Since the two outbreaks occurred in one week, the NoV contamination could have persisted in the cafeteria. Furthermore, virological investigation revealed confirmed cases among food handlers who had worked at the cafeteria between and during the two outbreaks. Several studies highlighted the importance of excluding symptomatic food handlers to prevent contamination of foods and environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-160
Number of pages5
JournalThe new microbiologica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


  • Caliciviridae Infections/epidemiology
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Environmental Microbiology
  • Food Contamination/prevention & control
  • Food Handling/standards
  • Gastroenteritis/epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Italy/epidemiology
  • Norovirus/physiology


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