Modeling the role of fomites in a norovirus outbreak


hypergeometric) were used to capture a range of infection risks. A triangular distribution describing the conditional probability of illness given an infection was multiplied by modeled infection risks to estimate illness risks. Infection risks ranged from 70.22% to 72.20% and illness risks ranged from 21.29% to 70.36%. A sensitivity analysis revealed that the number of hand-to-mouth contacts and the number of hand washing events had strong relationships with model-predicted doses. Predicted illness risks overlapped with leisure setting and environmental attack rates reported in the literature. In the outbreak associated with the viral concentrations used in this study, attack rates ranged from 50% to 86%. This model suggests that fomites may have accounted for 25% to 82% of illnesses in this outbreak. Fomite-mediated exposures may contribute to a large portion of total attack rates in outbreaks involving multiple transmission modes. The findings of this study reinforce the importance of frequent fomite cleaning and hand washing, especially when ill persons are present.

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