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Prevalence and characteristics of asymptomatic norovirus infection in the community in England.

Abstract

Norovirus is a major cause of infectious intestinal disease, and a substantial prevalence of asymptomatic infection has been reported. We describe the prevalence, seasonality and characteristics of asymptomatic norovirus infection in England. Healthy individuals were recruited at random from the general population during the Study of Infectious Intestinal Disease (1993-1996). Norovirus was identified using real-time RT-PCR. The age-adjusted prevalence of asymptomatic norovirus infection was 12%; prevalence was highest in children aged <5 years and showed wintertime seasonality. More work is needed to understand whether asymptomatic infections are important for norovirus transmission leading to sporadic illness and outbreaks.

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