Epidemiology and Prevention
Astrovirus infections are found worldwide, and studies from Japan and the US on the presence of antibodies to human astrovirus reveal that infection is common. In addition, a study conducted in the UK discovered 77% of young adults to have antibodies. Studies showing increasing antibody prevalence from infancy to school age demonstrate that antibodies to astrovirus tend to be acquired in early childhood.
Interrupting transmission through adherence to adequate hygienic standards, especially in hospitals, day-care centers, and family homes, is key in preventing astrovirus-related infections and outbreaks. Those involved in handling food should know that viral shedding may occur before symptoms begin and continue after diarrhea resolves, and thereby follow adequate hygienic procedures. Careful selection and preparation of food items which have been implicated in astrovirus outbreaks, such as shellfish and oysters, is advised. Presently, there are no available vaccines for astrovirus.