Background: In the United States, an estimated 23 million cases of norovirus (NoV) are reported each year, and although mortality is low, the morbidity and economic impact are substantial. Methods: RT-PCR and sequencing were used for identification of NoV genotypes obtained from outbreak and sporadic cases. RT Quant PCR was used to determine the viral load in fecal specimens. In order to rule out bacterial infection as the cause for acute gastroenteritis (AGE), bacterial culture for Salmonella, E.coli O157, Shigella, Campylobacter and Clostridium difficile was performed by standard laboratory procedures. The duration of NV shedding was investigated with longitudinal sampling in the sporadic cases and an evaluation of the association between viral load and days since clinical onset in the outbreak-associated cases. Results: We describe the epidemiology and strain identification for NoV circulating in Michigan during 2007-8 in concurrent sporadic and outbreak-associated cases. In 2007- 8, 138 norovirus outbreaks (3,437 cases) were reported to the MDCH. Among the 47 outbreak specimens sequenced, GI was identified in 14 (29.8%) and GII in 33 (70.2%). The predominant type was GII.4, found in 23 of the 33 (69.6%) GII specimens. The statistical analysis of outbreak-associated cases showed that neither NoV type nor number of days post-onset were associated with NoV log concentration. Among the sporadic cases, the repeated measures analysis of variance showed that NoV type (I or II) was not associated with log titer (P = 0.90), but that the number of weeks post-onset was statistically associated with declining log titer at p = 0.0005. Conclusion: We found no predominant strain difference between concurrent sporadic and outbreak-associated cases. Prevalent strains of NoV were shed in high concentration for at least two weeks past disease onset, suggesting that current public health recommendations for 2-3 days home isolation following clinical recovery may need to be lengthened.

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