Background Patients undergoing treatment for cancer with chemotherapy and hematopoietic stem cell recipients are at risk for severe morbidity caused by norovirus (NV). Methods We describe a NV outbreak on the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center's pediatric oncology unit. Stool testing for diagnosis of NV was performed by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Results Twelve NV cases occurred; 7 were hospital acquired. Twenty-five health care workers reported NV compatible illness. Patient-to-patient transmission occurred once. The practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were supplemented with electronic surveillance, surrogate screening for NV, and heightened cleaning. Two additional cases occurred after implementation of interventions. Long-term shedding was detected in 2 patients. Conclusion We describe interventions for controlling NV on a pediatric oncology unit. High-risk chronic shedders pose ongoing transmission risks. PCR is a valuable diagnostic tool but may be overly sensitive. Surrogate markers to assess NV burden in stool and studies on NV screening are needed to develop guidelines for high-risk chronic shedders.
- Molecular diagnostics
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases