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Use of a heminested reverse transcriptase PCR assay for detection of astrovirus in environmental swabs from an outbreak of gastroenteritis in a pediatric primary immunodeficiency unit

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Andrew GenneryORCiD, Professor Andrew Cant, Dr Angela Galloway


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An outbreak of astrovirus gastroenteritis occurred in the Primary Immunodeficiency Unit at Newcastle General Hospital in March 2004. Environmental swabbing of the unit was undertaken after the outbreak, with multiple sites swabbed pre- and postcleaning. Astroviruses were detected in four environmental swabs and from two patient fecal samples using heminested reverse transcriptase PCR. An astrovirus genotype 3 strain was identified in both environmental swabs and fecal specimens and was the strain identified as being responsible for the outbreak. Environmental transmission of the virus was thought to have occurred by contamination of a syringe pump outside the laminar-flow curtain of a patient who was admitted with astrovirus gastroenteritis. This was subsequently transmitted to a cubicle next door and to a television/games console in a parents' room in the ward. Environmental monitoring of surfaces/equipment, using PCR assays for gastroenteric viruses in hospital situations where infection can give rise to serious clinical complications, may have a role in controlling and monitoring cleaning and the subsequent prevention of nosocomial transmission of gastroenteritis. Copyright © 2005, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gallimore CI, Taylor C, Gennery AR, Cant AJ, Galloway A, Lewis D, Gray JJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Clinical Microbiology

Year: 2005

Volume: 43

Issue: 8

Pages: 3890-3894

Print publication date: 01/08/2005

ISSN (print): 0095-1137

ISSN (electronic): 1070-633X

Publisher: American Society for Microbiology


DOI: 10.1128/JCM.43.8.3890-3894.2005

PubMed id: 16081927


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