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Trends in the detection of viruses causing gastroenteritis over a 10-year period and impact of nonpharmaceutical interventions.

BACKGROUND: Viral gastroenteritis continues to be a leading cause of death in low-income countries. The impact of nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) on the transmission of gastroenteritis-causing viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic is understudied.

OBJECTIVES: To investigate the 10-year trends of enteric viruses and estimate the impact of implementing and mitigating NPIs.

STUDY DESIGN: Data regarding norovirus, rotavirus, adenovirus, astrovirus, and sapovirus detection were collected from five Korean hospitals between January 2013 and April 2023. We compared positivity between the pre-pandemic, pandemic, and post-pandemic periods. The causal effects of implementing and mitigating NPIs were quantified using the Bayesian Structural Time Series (BSTS) model.

RESULTS: Norovirus was most frequently detected (9.9 %), followed by rotavirus (6.7 %), adenovirus (3.3 %), astrovirus (1.4 %), and sapovirus (0.6 %). During the pandemic, the positivity of all five viruses decreased, ranging from -1.0 % to -8.1 %, with rotavirus showing the greatest decrease. In the post-pandemic period, positivity rebounded for all viruses except for rotavirus. The BSTS model revealed that NPI implementation negatively affected the detection of all five viruses, resulting in reductions ranging from -73.0 % to -91.0 % compared to the prediction, with rotavirus being the least affected. Conversely, NPI mitigation positively affected the detection of all viruses, ranging from 79.0 % to 200.0 %, except for rotavirus.

CONCLUSIONS: Trends observed over 10 years show that NPIs have had a major impact on changes in enteric virus detection. The effect of vaccines, in addition to NPIs, on rotavirus detection requires further investigation. Our findings emphasize the importance of NPIs in infection control and prevention.

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