Control of norovirus outbreak on a pediatric oncology unit

Anna Sheahan, Gretchen Copeland, Lauren Richardson, Shelley McKay, Alexander Chou, N. Esther Babady, Yi Wei Tang, Farid Boulad, Janet Eagan, Kent Sepkowitz, Mini Kamboj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background Patients undergoing treatment for cancer with chemotherapy and hematopoietic stem cell recipients are at risk for severe morbidity caused by norovirus (NV). Methods We describe a NV outbreak on the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center's pediatric oncology unit. Stool testing for diagnosis of NV was performed by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Results Twelve NV cases occurred; 7 were hospital acquired. Twenty-five health care workers reported NV compatible illness. Patient-to-patient transmission occurred once. The practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were supplemented with electronic surveillance, surrogate screening for NV, and heightened cleaning. Two additional cases occurred after implementation of interventions. Long-term shedding was detected in 2 patients. Conclusion We describe interventions for controlling NV on a pediatric oncology unit. High-risk chronic shedders pose ongoing transmission risks. PCR is a valuable diagnostic tool but may be overly sensitive. Surrogate markers to assess NV burden in stool and studies on NV screening are needed to develop guidelines for high-risk chronic shedders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1066-1069
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Infection Control
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Immunocompromised
  • Molecular diagnostics
  • Norovirus
  • Outbreak
  • Pediatric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'Control of norovirus outbreak on a pediatric oncology unit'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this