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J Med Virol. 2003 Sep;71(1):82-93.

Viral agents of acute gastroenteritis in German children: prevalence and molecular diversity.

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Robert Koch-Institute, Berlin, Germany.


Acute gastroenteritis is a major source of morbidity and mortality among young children in developed and developing countries. Enteropathogenic viruses are regarded as particularly relevant causative agents. Between February 2001 and January 2002, fecal specimens were obtained from German children admitted to hospital with acute gastroenteritis and examined for rotaviruses, Noroviruses, enteric adenoviruses, and astroviruses using (RT-)PCR methods. Of the 59% (129/217) samples positive for > or =1 viral agent, 79% (102/129) carried rotavirus, whereas Norovirus was detected in 35% (45/129), enteric adenovirus in 14% (18/129), and astrovirus in 4% (5/129). Thirty-eight specimens contained at least two enteropathogenic viruses, with the majority of coinfections attributable to rotavirus/Norovirus dual infections. Sequence analysis revealed a cocirculation of G1, G3, G4, and G9 type rotavirus with G1 being the most common and G9 the second most common rotavirus G-type. Emergence of G9 rotaviruses in Germany may have implications for future vaccine development. A variety of Norovirus genotypes, most belonging to GGII, were found. Apart from subgenus F, adenovirus related genetically to subgenera A-C were detected. All astroviruses belonged to genotype 1. This is the first study concerning German children admitted to hospital that assesses the relative importance of these viruses by nested (RT-) PCR methods.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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