Foodborne viral gastroenteritis: challenges and opportunities

Joseph S Bresee, Marc-Alain Widdowson, Stephan S Monroe, Roger I Glass

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


Norwalk-like viruses (NLVs) are estimated to be the most common causes of foodborne disease in the United States, accounting for two-thirds of all food-related illnesses. The epidemiologic features and disease burden associated with NLVs have, until recently, been poorly understood because of the lack of sensitive detection assays and the underuse of available diagnostic tools. However, the application of molecular techniques to diagnose and investigate outbreaks of infection during recent years has led to a growing appreciation of the importance of these agents. NLVs are a principal cause of outbreaks of acute-onset vomiting and diarrhea in all age groups-most commonly, via contamination of uncooked foods by infected foodhandlers, but also via foods contaminated at their sources, such as oysters and raspberries. NLVs may also account for >10% of sporadic cases of gastroenteritis in children and adults. Future research will focus on the development of easy-to-use diagnostic assays based on antigen and antibody detection as well as vaccine development. Implementation of simple prevention measures, including correct food-handling practices, will continue to be a priority.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)748-753
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Caliciviridae Infections/immunology
  • Cost of Illness
  • Food Contamination
  • Forecasting
  • Gastroenteritis/immunology
  • Humans
  • Norovirus


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