Incidence of norovirus-associated medical encounters among active duty United States military personnel and their dependents

Brian Rha, Benjamin A. Lopman, Ashley N. Alcala, Mark S. Riddle, Chad K. Porter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background Norovirus is a leading cause of gastroenteritis episodes and outbreaks in US military deployments, but estimates of endemic disease burden among military personnel in garrison are lacking. Methods Diagnostic codes from gastroenteritis-associated medical encounters of active duty military personnel and their beneficiaries from July 1998-June 2011 were obtained from the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center. Using time-series regression models, cause-unspecified encounters were modeled as a function of encounters for specific enteropathogens. Model residuals (representing unexplained encounters) were used to estimate norovirusattributable medical encounters. Incidence rates were calculated using population data for both active duty and beneficiary populations. Results The estimated annual mean rate of norovirus-associated medically-attended visits among active duty personnel and their beneficiaries was 292 (95% CI: 258 to 326) and 93 (95% CI:80 to 105) encounters per 10,000 persons, respectively. Rates were highest among beneficiaries <5 years of age with a median annual rate of 435 (range: 318 to 646) encounters per 10,000 children. Norovirus was estimated to cause 31% and 27% of all-cause gastroenteritis encounters in the active duty and beneficiary populations, respectively, with over 60% occurring between November and April. There was no evidence of any lag effect where norovirus disease occurred in one population before the other, or in one beneficiary age group before the others. Conclusions Norovirus is a major cause of medically-attended gastroenteritis among non-deployed US military active duty members as well as in their beneficiaries.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0148505
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes


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