Noroviruses are the major cause of viral gastroenteritis. Disease transmission is difficult to prevent and outbreaks in health-care facilities commonly occur. Contact with infected persons and contaminated environments are believed to be the main routes of transmission. However, noroviruses have recently been found in aerosols and airborne transmission has been suggested. The aim of our study was to investigate associations between symptoms of gastroenteritis and the presence of airborne norovirus, and to investigate the size of norovirus-carrying particles.
Air sampling was repeatedly performed close to 26 patients with norovirus infections. Samples were analyzed for norovirus RNA by reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction. The times since each patient’s last episodes of vomiting and diarrhea were recorded. Size-separating aerosol particle collection was performed.