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Arch Virol. 2007;152(7):1295-303. Epub 2007 Mar 15.

Inter-seasonal diversity of norovirus genotypes: emergence and selection of virus variants.

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Centre for Infections, Health Protection Agency, Enteric Virus Unit, Virus Reference Department, Colindale, London, UK.


This study describes a method used to determine the diversity of NoVs co-circulating in the community that consisted of the analysis of a limited number of strains collected from outbreaks occurring at different times of the NoV season. The diversity of twenty NoV strains collected from outbreaks occurring at the beginning of each NoV season (September) was compared to the diversity found in the middle (December) and at the end of the season (March). The method was validated through the characterisation of greater numbers of strains at times when novel genotypes or variants were detected. A total of 864 strains from outbreaks of gastroenteritis from the 2003/04, 2004/05 and 2005/06 seasons were genotyped, with the majority of outbreaks occurring in the UK. There was a greater diversity of NoV genotypes at the beginning of two of the three seasons, 2003/04 and 2005/06, when compared to strains circulating at the end of the seasons, and GII-4 NoV strains predominated (>90%) at the end of each season. Data from this study also identified the co-circulation and differentiation of three major GII-4 variants (v2, v3, and v4). Detailed analysis of a larger number of strains throughout each season confirmed that variants emerged, became the predominant circulating strain and were ultimately replaced with another variant selected from a pool of variants. By June 2006, GII-4 v4 (Hu/NoV/Rhyl440/2005/UK) emerged as the predominant GII-4 strain, usurping the previous GII-4 v3 strain [Hu/NoV/Hunter284E/040/AU] to become the commonest co-circulating strain, in the UK in 2006.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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