NewsDesk @bactiman63

In a follow-up on the diarrhea epidemic in Florianópolis, Santa Catarina Island, Brazil, a team from the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC) have identified the presence of norovirus.


The UFSC Applied Virology Laboratory team reported yesterday the detection of human norovirus genotype 1 in 12 of 19 fecal samples from patients and also in three from river and beach water, as reported to the municipality’s Sanitary Surveillance (VISA), in what they defined as an emergency work alliance, together with the local health biotechnology company BiomeHub.

“The microorganism [by the norovirus identified] is a pathogen and its presence represents a public health problem,” warned researcher Gislaine Fongaro , coordinator of the laboratory where they continue to investigate environmental and fecal samples from the outbreak. “It is strongly recommended to increase surveillance in patients and water, as well as in food samples, mainly for direct consumption or minimally processed, vegetables and others,” she added.

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To date, 3,241 people, including tourists and residents, have been affected, especially in the north and south of the island.

Santa Catarina state health authorities reported that the cases are spreading north to eight other seaside resorts– Camboriú , Bombinhas , Itapema , Navegantes , Peña , Balneário Picarras , Porto Belo and Itajaí.

In samples taken from beaches and rivers for recreational use, the UFSC team detected norovirus compatible with the finding in patient samples only in the water of the Río do Brás, in Canasvieiras, north of Florianópolis and where the 64 5% of the cases. This, for Fongaro, would indicate that the virus arrives “mainly through [discharges of] illegal wastewater. From the river –he stated–, it is possible that it is transported to the sea”, where the virus has not yet been identified.

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