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J Med Virol. 2008 Aug;80(8):1461-7. doi: 10.1002/jmv.21217.

Quantitative detection of norovirus excretion in pediatric patients with cancer and prolonged gastroenteritis and shedding of norovirus.

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Institute for Virology, Heinrich-Heine-University Duesseldorf, Duesseldorf, Germany.


Although chronic courses of norovirus infection have been described in immunocompromised patients, little is known about noroviral shedding and correlation with clinical symptoms in these patients. In this report, the quantitative courses of norovirus excretion in nine pediatric patients with hematologic and oncologic disorders and prolonged gastroenteritis were investigated. In a retrospective study multiple fecal samples from nine pediatric cancer patients were examined by a one-step real-time PCR. Clinical data of the patients were reviewed and virological data were correlated with clinical symptoms. All nine patients presented with prolonged illness and prolonged noroviral shedding. Vomiting and diarrhea were associated with high norovirus concentrations and norovirus excretion declined slowly in the patients. Retrospectively, initial PCR-testing for norovirus was performed with a median of 7 days after onset of symptoms. This finding hints at the difficulty of obtaining early diagnosis of the infection in these children. The patients were shedding high norovirus concentration over a long period of time. Results of sequential quantitative PCR-testing for norovirus correlated with clinical symptoms. Both clinical symptoms and quantitative PCR-testings help to define the severity of norovirus infection and to estimate the risk for transmission. To prevent the spread of the disease, usage of virocidal disinfectants and isolation procedures should be maintained as long as patients are positive for noroviruses. Since vomiting is frequent in pediatric patients with oncological conditions, a screening program for rapid detection of norovirus infection in this group of patients should be considered.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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