A new study shows that adenovirus and norovirus can be found on surfaces in hospital wards even in the absence of an outbreak. Screening was carried out (using PCR methods) weekly for 6 months in 2 pediatric wards in a London Children’s Hospital. Over this time 13 (2.4%) of samples were positive for adenovirus (AV) (4 samples) or norovirus (NV) (9 samples). Ten of the positive samples were floor swabs. Nonfloor positive samples were NV recovered from a filing cabinet, sluice door handle, and notes trolley.
Further sampling in rooms occupied with AV-infected children showed that all cubicle screening sites and almost all swabs were contaminated with AV. Sampling in a day unit showed that 13% of samples were positive. Of 90 samples taken, 11 were AV positive, and 1 was NV positive. Positive sites included a clinical waste bin lid, surfaces of toys, 2 chair arms, 2 door handles, 1 fan, 2 clinical surfaces and 1 waste bin
The authors concluded that cleaning and environmental interaction strategies must therefore be designed to control nosocomial transmission of viruses outside of outbreak scenarios.
The study can be found at: American Journal of Infection Control 42 (2014) 1229-32
A report in Lancet Infectious Diseases (2014;14:664-5) concluded that norovirus infection is associated with 14% of all cases of gastroenteritis worldwide. It is estimated that the global prevalence of norovirus in the healthy population is about 7%. In developing countries, estimates suggest that 200,000 deaths in children under 5 are due to norovirus.