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Arch Virol. 2005 Oct;150(10):2061-75. Epub 2005 Apr 21.

Existence of multiple outbreaks of viral gastroenteritis among infants in a day care center in Japan.

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Department of Developmental Medical Sciences, Institute of International Health, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.


A total of 921 fecal specimens collected from 44 infants in a day care center (DCC) in Tokyo, Japan during June 1999 to July 2000 were tested for the presence of rotavirus, norovirus, sapovirus, astrovirus and adenovirus by reverse-transcription-multiplex polymerase chain reaction (RT-multiplex PCR) and sequence analysis. Of 88 fecal specimens from infants with acute gastroenteritis, 51.1% (45) were found to be positive for diarrheal viruses. Astrovirus was the most prevalent (15.9%, 14 of 88), followed by norovirus GII (14.8%, 13 of 88), adenovirus (12.5%, 11 of 88), and sapovirus (2.3%, 2 of 88). Viral mixed infection accounted for 5.7% (5 of 88). Interestingly, 230 of 833 (27.6%) fecal specimens collected from asymptomatic infants were also infected with diarrheal viruses. Of these, astrovirus, norovirus GII, adenovirus and sapovirus were identified in 53, 46, 96 and 22 fecal specimens (23%, 20%, 41.7%, and 9.6%, respectively). Moreover, 13 of 833 (1.6%) normal specimens showed mixed viral infections. Surprisingly, no rotavirus (known as the most common causative agent of acute gastroenteritis in DCCs) was detected in those subjects. Another interesting feature was the demonstration of five separate outbreaks of acute gastroenteritis identified in a single DCC. Outbreak A was associated with both astrovirus serotype 1 and norovirus GII/3 (known as Toronto virus cluster); Outbreak B with adenovirus 12; Outbreak C with norovirus GII/4 (Lordsdale virus cluster); Outbreak D with sapovirus GIV and Outbreak E with astrovirus serotype 1. To our knowledge, this is the first proof of multiple outbreaks of viral gastroenteritis in Japanese infants in a single DCC. Our results confirm the presence as well as the importance of these viruses and warn of the threat they pose.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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