Identification of environmental determinants for spatio-temporal patterns of norovirus outbreaks in Korea using a geographic information system and binary response models.
| ID: mdl-27343948
Although norovirus outbreaks are well-recognized to have strong winter seasonality relevant to low temperature and humidity, the role of artificial human-made features within geographical areas in norovirus outbreaks has rarely been studied. The aim of this study is to assess the natural and human-made environmental factors favoring the occurrence of norovirus outbreaks using nationwide surveillance data. We used a geographic information system and binary response models to examine whether the norovirus outbreaks are spatially patterned and whether these patterns are associated with specific environmental variables including service levels of water supply and sanitation systems and land-use types. The results showed that small-scale low-tech local sewage treatment plants and winter sports areas were statistically significant factors favoring norovirus outbreaks. Compactness of the land development also affected the occurrence of norovirus outbreaks; transportation, water, and forest land-uses were less favored for effective transmission of norovirus, while commercial areas were associated with an increased rate of norovirus outbreaks. We observed associations of norovirus outbreaks with various outcomes of human activities, including discharge of poorly treated sewage, overcrowding of people during winter season, and compactness of land development, which might help prioritize target regions and strategies for the management of norovirus outbreaks.