Viral gastroenteritis outbreaks in Europe, 1995-2000.


To gain understanding of surveillance and epidemiology of viral gastroenteritis outbreaks in Europe, we compiled data from 10 surveillance systems in the Foodborne Viruses in Europe network. Established surveillance systems found Norovirus to be responsible for >85% (N =3,714) of all nonbacterial outbreaks of gastroenteritis reported from 1995 to 2000. However, the absolute number and population-based rates of viral gastroenteritis outbreaks differed markedly among European surveillance systems. A wide range of estimates of the importance of foodborne transmission were also found. We review these differences within the context of the sources of outbreak surveillance information, clinical definitions, and structures of the outbreak surveillance systems.

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