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NHS Fife Fights Norovirus with Advanced Technology

Infection Control specialists in NHS Fife are being aided in their battle to diagnose Norovirus infections by using the latest molecular laboratory technology. The technology provides an accurate and timely result to medical staff.

Norovirus (commonly known as Winter Vomiting Disease) is an infection that can cause outbreaks in hospitals, care homes and cruise liners. A self limiting infection, symptoms usually persist for no more than 48 hours, although transmission from one individual to another may still occur a number of days after symptoms have abated.

It is essential that action is taken swiftly to prevent spread of the disease. Infection control staff rely upon fast and accurate laboratory diagnosis for confirmation of the infection. Previously available tests provided inaccurate results which could prove costly if patients were misdiagnosed.

Fife Area Laboratory now offers a new, highly specific assay which provides infection control teams with the confidence to act immediately on results without having to await confirmation from other centres. The Eiken Loopamp Norovirus assay is a simple to use molecular test that requires no dedicated equipment and provides a rapid turn-around of results and unlike most serological tests provides excellent sensitivity and specificity. An independent Health Protection Agency study concluded that 'The Loopamp® NoVGI and GII assays are a suitable alternative to real-time RT-PCR having comparable sensitivity and specificity'.

Dr Keith Morris, Consultant Microbiologist and Infection Control Doctor in NHS Fife has seen first-hand the impact of using the Loopamp Norovirus test. Dr Morris said 'we have always closed wards whenever there was a suspected Norovirus outbreak. Now with rapid diagnostics, hospital staff are confident the Infection Control Team does not close wards inappropriately. In addition, we close wards more quickly and gain control of the situation before there is spread to other areas of the hospital.'

Having accurate results has allowed Victoria Hospital´s Infection Control Team to deal with outbreaks in a timely and responsive fashion, with less inconvenience to patients, visitors and staff alike.

To find out more about the Loopamp Norovirus test, please click here

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Posted on December 15, 2009