The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is inviting public comments on the draft Guideline for the Prevention and Control of Norovirus: Gastroenteritis Outbreaks in Healthcare Settings.” The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) says it will be submitting its official response to the document, and APIC members are encouraged to respond individually. Comments are due to CDC by July 16, 2010.

To evaluate the evidence on preventing and controlling norovirus gastroenteritis outbreaks in healthcare settings, the guidelines’ authors examined published data addressing three key questions: What host, viral, or environmental characteristics increase or decrease the risk of norovirus infection in healthcare settings? What are the best methods to identify an outbreak of norovirus gastroenteritis in a healthcare setting? What interventions best prevent or contain outbreaks of norovirus gastroenteritis in the healthcare setting?

Recommendations in the draft guideline touch upon cohorting of patients with isolation precautions observed; hand hygiene; patient transfer and ward closure; diagnostics, personal protective equipment; environmental cleaning; staff policies and more.