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Abstract


Ho MS, Glass RI, Monroe SS, Madore HP, Stine S, Pinsky PF, Cubitt D, Ashley C, Caul EO. "Viral gastroenteritis aboard a cruise ship," Lancet, 1989, 2:8669 (Oct 21), 961-5

A 32-nm small round structured virus (SRSV), possibly related to the Snow Mountain agent (SMA), was implicated as the cause of recurrent outbreaks of gastroenteritis on a cruise ship. There was no identifiable relation to food or water consumption, but the risk of gastroenteritis among passengers who had shared toilet facilities was twice that of those who had a private bathroom and the rate of illness was related to the number of passengers sharing a communal restroom (ie, with one or more toilets): contaminated bathrooms may be an important vehicle for person-to-person spread of this enteric agent. In each cabin, index patients who had vomited in their cabins were more likely to have had cabinmates who subsequently became ill than were index patients who had not vomited. These epidemiological findings implicate vomitus in the transmission of viral gastroenteritis and they are consistent with the transmission of viral agents by airborne droplets or person-to-person contact. New strategies for prevention of viral gastroenteritis should include protection against environmental contamination by viruses in airborne droplets or vomitus.


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