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Pediatr Infect Dis J. 1990 Oct;9(10):709-14.

Six-year retrospective surveillance of gastroenteritis viruses identified at ten electron microscopy centers in the United States and Canada.

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Viral Gastroenteritis Unit, Centers for Disease Control, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Atlanta, GA 30333.


To identify the prevalence, seasonality and demographic characteristics of patients with viral gastroenteritis, we reviewed 6 years of retrospective data on viral agents of gastroenteritis screened by electron microscopy at 10 centers in the United States and Canada. From 52,691 individual electron microscopic observations, a virus was detected in 16% of specimens, and the yearly positive detection rate among centers ranged from 8 to 34%. Rotavirus was the agent most commonly observed (26 to 83%), followed by adenoviruses (8 to 27%, respiratory and enteric combined), and small round viruses (SRVs) (0 to 40%) which were second most common at two of the centers. Rotavirus and astrovirus detections occurred more often in the winter but seasonal trends in detection were not apparent for the other viruses. Of all astroviruses detected 64% were found in infants (less than 1 year); unlike the other agents studied SRVs were detected in a large percentage of infants (48%) and older children and adults (20%). Among hospitalized patients a majority of all astroviruses, caliciviruses and SRVs were detected 7 days or more after admission in contrast to both rotaviruses and adenoviruses which were more likely to be detected earlier. The data suggest that SRVs are common agents of gastroenteritis and may be important causes of nosocomial infections. Because of the relative insensitivity of direct electron microscopy as a screening method for SRVs, astroviruses and caliciviruses, these data probably underestimate the true prevalence of disease caused by these agents.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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