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J Med Virol. 2006 Nov;78(11):1486-92.

Molecular epidemiology of norovirus infections in sporadic cases of viral gastroenteritis among children in Northern Italy.

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Section of Microbiology, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Parma, Parma, Italy.


Surveillance of norovirus infections in sporadic cases of pediatric gastroenteritis admitted to a main hospital in Northern Italy during a full-year period (2002) showed that noroviruses (10.4%) were the second most common causative viral agent, following rotaviruses (21.1%), and noroviruses (81%) were mostly implicated in mixed infections. The epidemic period of norovirus was September-December, with September and November as months of major prevalence (33.3 and 38.5%, respectively). Six distinct norovirus genotypes were detected (GI.7, GII.1, GII.2, GII.4, GII.7, GII, not assigned named GIIb), and the predominant genotype was GII.4. A "new GII.4 2002 variant" accounted for 82.9% of total strains. Since the severity of norovirus symptoms does not usually require admission to hospital, the burden of norovirus disease in the general children population may be much higher than that suggested by the present hospital-based investigation.

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