Surveillance and outbreak reports Open Access
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An outbreak of acute gastroenteritis occurred in a nursing home for elderly in Majorca between 4 and 23 February 2008. To know its aetiology and mechanism of transmission a retrospective cohort study was conducted with a fixed cohort including 146 people (96 residents and 50 employees). The data were collected from clinical histories and through a survey by questionnaire. In total 71 cases were identified (53 residents, 18 employees), corresponding to an overall attack rate (AR) of 48.6%. The consumption of tap water, adjusted by age, sex and consumption of meals provided at the nursing home, presented a relative risk (RR) of 4.03 (95%CI, 1.4-11.4). The microbiological analyses confirmed the presence of norovirus and/or rotavirus in five of the seven stool samples submitted. The slow appearance of cases at the beginning of the outbreak is characteristic of a person to person transmission, while the sudden peak in the middle of the month suggests a common source such as the tap water. We therefore concluded that the outbreak likely originated from two sources: an infected employee of the nursing home and the tap water. The high number of dependent residents most probably facilitated the spread of the outbreak.


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