from the morbidity and mortality weekly report

NoroSTAT, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new program with which states can report norovirus outbreaks, yields more timely and more complete epidemiologic and laboratory data, which allows a faster and better-informed public health response to such outbreaks, according to a report published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The CDC launched NoroSTAT (Norovirus Sentinel Testing and Tracking) in 2012 to permit the health departments in selected states to report specific epidemiologic and laboratory data regarding norovirus outbreaks more rapidly than usual – within 7 business days, said Minesh P. Shah, MD, of the Epidemic Intelligence Service and the division of viral diseases, CDC, Atlanta, and his associates.

They analyzed outbreak data reported by five states (Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, and Wisconsin) that initially participated in the program against data reported the usual way by the other states, plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico. They focused on the 3 years before and the 3 years after NoroSTAT was implemented.

NoroSTAT significantly reduced the median interval in reporting epidemiologic data concerning norovirus from 22 days to 2 days and significantly reduced the median interval in reporting relevant laboratory data from 21 days to 3 days. The percentage of reports submitted within 7 business days increased from 26% to 95% among the states participating in NoroSTAT, while remaining low – only 12%-13% – in nonparticipating states. The number of complete reports also increased substantially, from 87% to 99.9%, among the participating states.

These improvements likely result from NoroSTAT’s stringent reporting requirements and from the program’s ability “to enhance communication between epidemiologists and laboratorians in both state health departments and at CDC,” Dr. Shah and his associates said ( MMWR Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2017 Feb 24;66:185-9 ).

NoroSTAT represents a key advancement in norovirus outbreak surveillance and has proved valuable in early identification and better characterization of outbreaks. It was expanded to include nine states in August 2016, the investigators added.


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