Can We Correlate Viral Findings on Finnish Conscripts’ Hands & their Acute Gastroenteritis Symptoms?

Research Paper Title

Contamination by Norovirus and Adenovirus on Environmental Surfaces and in Hands of Conscripts in Two Finnish Garrisons.

Background

This study investigated the presence of norovirus and adenovirus, especially enteric adenovirus, on the environmental surfaces (n = 481) and military conscripts’ hands (n = 109) in two Finnish garrisons (A and B) in 2013 and 2014.

Methods

A questionnaire study was conducted to reveal possible correlations between viral findings on the conscripts’ hands and their acute gastroenteritis symptoms. In addition to the swab samples, 14 fecal samples were obtained for viral analysis.

Results

In total, norovirus was present in 9.0 % of the surface swabs in 2013, whereas enteric adenovirus was present in 0.0 % and non-enteric adenovirus in 9.4 %. In the same year, 2.6 % of the hand swabs contained norovirus, 2.6 % enteric adenovirus, and 40.3 % non-enteric adenovirus. Norovirus GI.6 was continually detected on the surfaces of garrison A, and identical virus was detected in some of the fecal samples. In garrison B, two slightly different norovirus GII.4 strains were present on the surfaces. The questionnaires revealed no recent acute gastroenteritis cases in garrison A, but in garrison B, where the norovirus-positive hand swabs were collected, 30.6 % of the conscripts reported of recent symptoms. In 2014, norovirus was rarely detected, but adenovirus was again frequently present, both on the surfaces and hands. Taken together, the results suggest that gastroenteritis outbreaks occurred in 2013, but not in 2014.

Conclusions

Due to the low number of hand swabs positive for enteric viruses, no conclusions about associations between viral findings and gastroenteritis symptoms could be drawn. This study increased the understanding of the possible transmission of viruses via contaminated environment and hands.

Reference

Oristo, S., Rönnqvist, M., Aho, M., Sovijärvi, A., Hannila-Handelberg, T., Hörman, A., Nikkari, S., Kinnunen, P.M. & Maunula, L. (2016) Contamination by Norovirus and Adenovirus on Environmental Surfaces and in Hands of Conscripts in Two Finnish Garrisons. Food and Environmental Virology. 2016 Sep 30. [Epub ahead of print].

 

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