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BMC Infect Dis. 2010 Jul 22;10:218. doi: 10.1186/1471-2334-10-218.

Epidemiological and clinical features of rotavirus among children younger than 5 years of age hospitalized with acute gastroenteritis in Northern Italy.

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  • 1Department of Paediatrics, Luigi Sacco Hospital, Universit√† di Milano, Milan, Italy. gianvincenzo.zuccotti@unimi.it



Rotavirus is the major cause of acute gastroenteritis and severe dehydrating diarrhea in young children.


To estimate the proportion of hospital admissions for rotavirus acute gastroenteritis and identify the circulating G and P genotypes among children under five years of age, we conducted a prospective observational study from January to December 2008, recruiting children consecutively admitted to six hospitals in Milan and nearby towns in northern Italy. Typing was done on stool samples by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction amplification.


Of the 521 stool samples from children with acute gastroenteritis, 34.9% (95%CI, 30.8 to 39.2%) were rotavirus-positive. Two thirds (67.6%) were under two years of age, and 13.2% were under six months. The predominant G type was G1 (40.7%), followed by G9 (22.5%), G2 (13.2%), G3 (5.5%), G4 (3.8%) and G10 (1.6%). Twenty-one (11.7%) mixed-G infections were identified: G1+G10 (8.8%); G1+G9 (1.6%); and G2+G10 (1.2%). Only P[8] (67.6%) and P[4] (12.6%) types were P genotyped. The predominant single G/P combination was G1P[8] (39.7%), followed by G9P[8] (25.3%), G2P[4] (14.3%), and G3P[8] (4.1%). All G-mixed types combined with P[8].


These findings show an high prevalence of rotavirus infections among children admitted to hospital for acute gastroenteritis caused by different rotavirus strains circulating in the area studied.

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