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J Clin Microbiol. 1999 Jan;37(1):81-9.

Molecular epidemiology of outbreaks of gastroenteritis associated with small round-structured viruses in East Anglia, United Kingdom, during the 1996-1997 season.

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Clinical Microbiology and Public Health Laboratory, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge CB2 2QW, United Kingdom.


During the winter season from November 1996 to May 1997, 550 fecal specimens were submitted from 94 outbreaks of gastroenteritis occurring in East Anglia, United Kingdom. These specimens were tested for the presence of small round-structured viruses (SRSVs) by electron microscopy, reverse transcriptase PCR, or both methods. SRSVs were shown to be associated with 64 of 94 (68%) of these outbreaks, of which 16 (25%) outbreaks occurred at a single location (Southend) within the region. Twenty-four specimens from 13 of the 16 SRSV-positive outbreaks occurring in Southend were available for genomic analysis, in which divergence within the RNA polymerase region of the SRSV genome was investigated. A further 27 specimens from 17 other SRSV-associated outbreaks, occurring at different locations within East Anglia but at the same time as those at Southend, were also studied. Fifty of the total of 51 (98%) specimens studied were shown to belong to genogroup II, and within this genogroup, 49 of 50 (98%) specimens were shown to be Grimsby-like viruses, with only one Mexico-like strain. Furthermore, phylogenetic analysis of the Grimsby-like viruses indicated clusterings according to the geographical location of the outbreak. One specimen contained a virus belonging to genogroup I, and this had the greatest sequence identity (83%) with Southampton virus.

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