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J Clin Microbiol. 2002 Nov;40(11):4266-72.

Virus diversity in a winter epidemic of acute diarrhea in France.

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Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale Unité 444, Epidémiologie et Sciences de l'Information, Faculté de Médecine Saint-Antoine, 75571 Paris, France.


In France, an epidemic peak of acute diarrhea is observed each winter. Previous results suggested a viral etiology for these winter epidemics. We investigated the role of enteric viruses in acute diarrhea and their molecular diversity. One hundred sixty-one patients with acute diarrhea and 45 healthy patients (controls) from the general population were given a standardized questionnaire between December 1998 and May 1999. Stool specimens were screened for group A and C rotaviruses, human caliciviruses, astroviruses, and adenovirus types 40 and 41 by reverse transcription-PCR and/or enzyme immunoassay. Virologic analysis was positive for 63 cases (39%). Caliciviruses and group A rotaviruses were the most frequent (19 and 17% of cases, respectively). Two control stool specimens were found positive for group A rotavirus, and one was found positive for astrovirus. Molecular characterization of the strains disclosed a cocirculation of P[8],G1, P[8],G4, and P[4],G2 rotaviruses; type 1, 2, 3, 4, and 8 astroviruses; and Sapporo-like and Norwalk-like human caliciviruses. These four types of viruses accounted for an attributable risk of acute diarrhea of 34.7% for the general population, under the assumption of a causal role of these viruses.

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