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Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. 1986 May;5(1):39-54.

An eight-year study of the viral agents of acute gastroenteritis in humans: ultrastructural observations and seasonal distribution with a major emphasis on coronavirus-like particles.


During an 8-yr period, 862 stool specimens from patients with gastroenteritis were examined by electron microscopy after negative staining with 2% phosphotungstic acid (pH 6.5). Forty-one percent of the specimens submitted over an 8-yr period were determined to be positive for virus or viruslike particles belonging to one or more of seven morphologically distinct viral groups. Coronavirus-like particles (CVLPs) were present in 69.8% of the positive stool specimens. Membranous profiles containing "complement-type" holes (10 nm in diameter) were identified in some preparations containing CVLPs. The second most prevalent viral agent found in stool specimens was the rotavirus (17% of all positive stools). The incidence of other viruses identified in the survey were as follows: adenovirus 4.5%, picorna/parvovirus agents 2.9%, Norwalk-like agent 2.9%, astrovirus 1.9%, and calicivirus 0.5%. Unclassified small round viruses (approximately 25-30 nm in diameter) represented 0.5%. It was also determined that there was a seasonal distribution in excretion of all viruses except for CVLPs. A greater number of viruses were identified in the cooler, drier months of the year.

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