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J Clin Microbiol. 1998 Nov;36(11):3160-3.

Prevalence of human calicivirus infections in Kenya as determined by enzyme immunoassays for three genogroups of the virus.

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Department of Pediatrics, Sapporo Medical University School of Medicine, Sapporo, Japan.


An epidemiological survey on human calicivirus (HuCV) infections and associated gastroenteritis in infants was conducted to clarify the prevalence of HuCV infections in infants and adults in Kenya. Enzyme immunoassays (EIAs) for three genogroups of HuCVs, Norwalk virus (NV), Mexico virus (MXV), and Sapporo virus (SV), were used to detect antigen or antibody. We tested 1,431 stool samples obtained from children younger than 6 years old with acute gastroenteritis who visited outpatient clinics in three districts in Kenya from August 1991 to July 1994. Thirty-two (2.2%) of these stool samples were positive for SV antigen. Only one (0.1%) of 1,186 samples was positive for NV antigen and none of 246 samples was positive for MXV antigen. One hundred ninety-three serum samples were tested for antibodies to NV and MXV, and 64 of them were examined for antibody to SV. The pattern of the age-related prevalence of serum antibody to NV was different from that of antibodies to MXV and SV. The acquisition of serum antibodies to HuCVs in the three genogroups appeared in early childhood, at about 1 to 2 years of age. The prevalence of serum antibody to NV was low (about 60%) throughout adulthood compared with a high prevalence of antibody (approximately 80 to 90%) to MXV and SV. These data indicate that infections with viruses in the three genogroups of HuCVs are common in Kenya, and immunological responses to NV may be different from those to MXV and SV. The EIAs for the detection of NV and MXV antigens appear to be quite specific for prototype NV and MXV strains, respectively, so that they can detect only a few strains of HuCVs related to them. Alternatively, NV and MXV caused less severe infections that did not bring children to the outpatient clinics for gastroenteritis in Kenya.

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