Waterborne outbreak of viral gastroenteritis

Scand J Infect Dis. 1997;29(4):415-8. doi: 10.3109/00365549709011840.


A waterborne epidemic took place in a Finnish municipality in April 1994. Some 1500-3000 people, i.e. 25-50% of the population, had symptomatic acute gastroenteritis. Laboratory findings confirmed adenovirus, a Norwalk-like agent, small round viruses (SRV), and group A and C rotaviruses as causative agents, Norwalk virus being the main cause of the outbreak. The epidemic was most probably associated with contaminated drinking water. The groundwater well, situated in the embankment of a river, was contaminated by polluted river water during the spring flood. A back flow from the river to the well had occurred via a forgotten drainage pipe.

MeSH terms

  • Adenovirus Infections, Human / diagnosis
  • Adenovirus Infections, Human / epidemiology
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Caliciviridae Infections / diagnosis
  • Caliciviridae Infections / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disasters
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Finland
  • Gastroenteritis / epidemiology*
  • Gastroenteritis / virology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Norwalk virus*
  • Rotavirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Rotavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Water Microbiology*
  • Water Pollution
  • Water Supply / analysis