U-Michigan experts available to talk about norovirus

January 25, 2013
Written By:
Laurel Thomas

ANN ARBOR—The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a new strain of norovirus has reached the United States from Australia. Since September, the GII.4 Sydney strain of the highly contagious virus, which causes severe vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain, accounted for 53 percent of norovirus cases in the U.S.

The University of Michigan has experts in norovirus who can speak about the virus, its transmission, spread and prevention.

Allison Aiello, associate professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health, investigates aspects of infectious disease transmission and nonpharmaceutical interventions for reducing virus transmission in the community setting. She can discuss the epidemiology of viruses, hand hygiene quarantine and mask use interventions for mitigating pandemics. Aiello currently is a principal investigator on randomized study of isolation to prevent transmission of influenza among students, funded by the CDC. Aiello can be reached at [email protected] or (734) 615-9213.

Joseph Eisenberg, associate professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health, has reviewed the existing literature for human norovirus shedding duration data, and used it to develop realistic infectious period distributions. The resulting distributions are used to inform models of norovirus disease transmission. Norovirus infections are generally short and self-limiting, but some individuals can asymptomatically shed viral particles for a very long time. This heterogeneity in infectiousness duration can affect epidemiological patterns and outbreak risk. Eisenberg can be reached at [email protected] or 734-615-1625

Betsy Foxman, professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health, specializes in the molecular epidemiology of infectious disease, particularly infectious agents. She can discuss how norovirus is transmitted, and ways to prevent transmission. She is also director of the Center for Molecular and Clinical Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases which addresses the transmission, pathogenesis, and evolution of infectious diseases. Foxman can be reached at [email protected] or (734) 764-5487.

Dr. Eden Wells, clinical associate professor of epidemiology and associate director of the Preventive Medicine Residency at the School of Public Health, has research interests in emerging infectious disease threats. She formerly was with the Bureau of Epidemiology at the Michigan Department of Community Health, serving as a medical consultant and medical epidemiologist. Wells can be reached at [email protected] or (734) 763-6880.

Christiane Wobus, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology in the Medical School, studies norovirus in the laboratory, working to determine how it infects the body and what approaches might be used to develop better treatments. Learn more about her work at http://www.med.umich.edu/MICROBIO/bio/wobus.htm. Wobus can be reached through U-M Health System Public Relations at (734) 764-2220. Also, call this number for more information on how norovirus is affecting patients at U-M’s hospitals, emergency departments and clinics.