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J Med Virol. 1999 Aug;58(4):426-34.

Genomic diversity of "Norwalk like viruses" (NLVs): pediatric infections in a Brazilian shantytown.

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Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 27599-7400, USA.


"Norwalk-like viruses" (NLVs) are a common cause of epidemic gastroenteritis in adults and children in developed countries. However, little is known about the role of NLVs in endemic pediatric gastroenteritis in developing countries. We sequenced Genogroup I and II NLV reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) products from an 81-nucleotide region of the viral RNA polymerase gene to examine the molecular epidemiology of NLV infection in children younger than 5 years of age in Forteleza, CearĂ¡, Brazil. NLV-positive PCR products were obtained from stool specimens collected over a 16-month period (1990-1991) from diarrhea cases and controls in a cohort of 120 children in an urban shantytown and from a study in the same city of hospitalized children with persistent diarrhea. Eight unique strains were detected in 15 specimens from 10 cohort children and in two hospital specimens. Nucleotide identity between the strains (5 Genogroup I, 3 Genogroup II) ranged from 63% to 88%. We designated these strains BraV1-8, for Brazil virus 1-8. The degree of genomic diversity of NLV strains we identified in this cohort during a short time period suggests multiple foci of infection within the community. Furthermore, sequence analysis of strains from two children with multiple symptomatic NLV infections indicates that infection with one strain was not protective against subsequent infection with a different strain in the same genogroup. These findings have implications for vaccine development and the prevention of pediatric gastroenteritis in developing countries.

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