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1.  Norovirus Diversity in Diarrheic Children from an African-Descendant Settlement in Belém, Northern Brazil 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56608.
Norovirus (NoV), sapovirus (SaV) and human astrovirus (HAstV) are viral pathogens that are associated with outbreaks and sporadic cases of gastroenteritis. However, little is known about the occurrence of these pathogens in relatively isolated communities, such as the remnants of African-descendant villages (“Quilombola”). The objective of this study was the frequency determination of these viruses in children under 10 years, with and without gastroenteritis, from a “Quilombola” Community, Northern Brazil. A total of 159 stool samples were obtained from April/2008 to July/2010 and tested by an enzyme immunoassay (EIA) and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) to detect NoV, SaV and HAstV, and further molecular characterization was performed. These viruses were detected only in the diarrheic group. NoV was the most frequent viral agent detected (19.7%-16/81), followed by SaV (2.5%-2/81) and HAstV (1.2%-1/81). Of the 16 NoV-positive samples, 14 were sequenced with primers targeting the B region of the polymerase (ORF1) and the D region of the capsid (ORF2). The results showed a broad genetic diversity of NoV, with 12 strains being classified as GII-4 (5–41.7%), GII-6 (3–25%), GII-7 (2–16.7%), GII-17 (1–8.3%) and GI-2 (1–8.3%), as based on the polymerase region; 12 samples were classified, based on the capsid region, as GII-4 (6–50%, being 3–2006b variant and 3–2010 variant), GII-6 (3–25%), GII-17 (2–16.7%) and GII-20 (1–8.3%). One NoV-strain showed dual genotype specificity, based on the polymerase and capsid region (GII-7/GII-20). This study provides, for the first time, epidemiological and molecular information on the circulation of NoV, SaV and HAstV in African-descendant communities in Northern Brazil and identifies NoV genotypes that were different from those detected previously in studies conducted in the urban area of Belém. It remains to be determined why a broader NoV diversity was observed in such a semi-isolated community.
PMCID: PMC3574080  PMID: 23457593
2.  Healthcare-associated Viral Gastroenteritis among Children in a Large Pediatric Hospital, United Kingdom 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2010;16(1):55-62.
Enteric viruses introduced from the community are major causes of these illnesses.
Viruses are the major pathogens of community-acquired (CA) acute gastroenteritis (AGE) in children, but their role in healthcare-associated (HA) AGE is poorly understood. Children with AGE hospitalized at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool, UK, were enrolled over a 2-year period. AGE was classified as HA if diarrhea developed >48 hours after admission. Rotavirus, norovirus, adenovirus 40/41, astrovirus, and sapovirus were detected by PCR. A total of 225 children with HA-AGE and 351 with CA-AGE were enrolled in the study. HA viral gastroenteritis constituted one fifth of the diarrheal diseases among hospitalized children and commonly occurred in critical care areas. We detected >1 virus in 120 (53%) of HA-AGE cases; rotavirus (31%), norovirus (16%), and adenovirus 40/41 (15%) were the predominant viruses identified. Molecular evidence indicated rotaviruses and noroviruses were frequently introduced into the hospital from the community. Rotavirus vaccines could substantially reduce the incidence of HA-AGE in children.
PMCID: PMC2874353  PMID: 20031043
Rotavirus; norovirus; nosocomial; gastroenteritis; molecular; vaccine; viruses; research; UK; children
3.  Norovirus infections in children under 5 years of age hospitalized due to the acute viral gastroenteritis in northeastern Poland 
The primary aim of this study was to evaluate the frequency and seasonality of norovirus infection in hospitalized Polish children under 5 years of age, and a secondary aim was to compare the clinical severity of norovirus and rotavirus disease. The prospective surveillance study was carried out from July 2009 through June 2010. Stool samples from 242 children hospitalized due to acute viral gastroenteritis were tested for rotavirus group A and adenovirus with commercial immunochromatographic test and for norovirus with EIA assay. Single norovirus infection was found in 35/242 (14.5%) patients and in a further 5 (2.1%) children as co-infection with rotavirus. Overall, norovirus was detected in 16.5% of stool specimens. Norovirus infections tended to peak from October to November and again from February to March. In autumn months and in February, the proportion of norovirus gastroenteritis cases was equal or even surpassed those of rotavirus origin. Both norovirus and rotavirus infections most commonly affected children between 12 and 23 months of age. The low-grade or no fever was significantly more common in children infected with norovirus (94.3%) compared to rotavirus cases (52.9%). Overall, norovirus gastroenteritis was less severe than rotavirus disease with regard to 20-point severity scale (p < 0.05). Noroviruses have emerged as a relevant cause of acute gastroenteritis in Polish children. There is a great need for introducing routine norovirus testing of hospitalized children with gastroenteritis.
PMCID: PMC3303077  PMID: 21732202
4.  Acute Infantile Gastroenteritis Associated with Human Enteric Viruses in Tunisia▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2008;46(4):1349-1355.
This prospective study, conducted from January 2003 to June 2005, investigated the incidence and the clinical role of various enteric viruses responsible for infantile gastroenteritis in 632 Tunisian children presenting in dispensaries (380 children) or hospitalized (252 children) for acute diarrhea. At least one enteric virus was found in each of 276 samples (43.7%). A single pathogen was observed in 234 samples, and mixed infections were found in 42 samples. In terms of frequency, rotavirus and norovirus were detected in 22.5 and 17.4% of the samples, respectively, followed by astrovirus (4.1%), Aichi virus (3.5%), adenovirus types 40 and 41 (2.7%), and sapovirus (1.0%). The seasonal distribution of viral gastroenteritis showed a winter peak but also an unusual peak from May to September. The severity of the diarrhea was evaluated for hospitalized infants. No significant differences were observed between rotavirus and norovirus infections with regard to the incidence and the clinical severity of the disease, especially in dehydration.
PMCID: PMC2292941  PMID: 18287312
5.  Evaluation of a New Immunochromatographic Assay Kit for the Rapid Detection of Norovirus in Fecal Specimens 
Annals of Laboratory Medicine  2011;32(1):79-81.
Rapid and accurate detection of norovirus is essential for the prevention and control of norovirus outbreaks. This study compared the effectiveness of a new immunochromatographic assay kit (SD BIOLINE Norovirus; Standard Diagnostics, Korea) and real-time reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) for detecting norovirus in fecal specimens. Compared with real-time RT-PCR, the new assay had sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of 76.5% (52/68), 99.7% (342/343), 98.1% (52/53), and 95.5% (342/358), respectively. The sensitivity of the assay was 81.8% (18/22) for GII.3 and 75.7% (28/37) for GII.4. None of the 38 enteric virus-positive specimens (3 for astrovirus, 5 for enteric adenovirus, and 30 for rotavirus) tested positive in the cross-reactivity test performed by using this assay. The new immunochromatographic assay may be a useful screening tool for the rapid detection of norovirus in sporadic and outbreak cases; however, negative results may require confirmatory assays of greater sensitivity.
PMCID: PMC3255496  PMID: 22259783
Immunochromatographic assay; Norovirus; Sensitivity; Specificity
6.  Etiological Role of Viruses in Outbreaks of Acute Gastroenteritis in The Netherlands from 1994 through 2005▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2007;45(5):1389-1394.
Acute gastroenteritis is one of the most common diseases worldwide. In developed countries, viruses, particularly noroviruses, are recognized as the leading cause. In The Netherlands, the surveillance of gastroenteritis outbreaks with suspected viral etiologies (as determined by Kaplan criteria) was established by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in 1994. This paper presents an overview of viral gastroenteritis outbreaks reported from 1994 through 2005. A minimum epidemiological data set consisting of the associated setting(s), the probable transmission mode, the date of the first illness and the date of sampling, the number of persons affected, and the number of hospitalizations was requested for each reported outbreak. Stool samples were tested for the presence of norovirus, sapovirus, rotavirus, astrovirus, adenovirus, and Aichi virus by electron microscopy, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and/or reverse transcription-PCR. A total of 6,707 stool samples from 941 gastroenteritis outbreaks were investigated. Noroviruses were detected as the causative agent in 735 (78.1%) of the outbreaks, and rotaviruses, adenoviruses, and astroviruses were found to be responsible for 46 (4.9%), 9 (1.0%), and 5 (0.5%) outbreaks, respectively. Among the gastroenteritis outbreaks in which a mode of transmission was identified, most outbreaks (38.1%) were associated with person-to-person transmission, and the majority (54.9%) of the outbreaks investigated were reported by residential institutions. Since 2002, the total number of outbreaks reported and the number of unexplained outbreaks have increased. Furthermore, the number of rotavirus-associated outbreaks has increased, especially in nursing homes. Despite thorough testing, 115 (12.2%) outbreaks suspected of having viral etiologies remain unexplained. Increases in numbers of reported outbreaks may indicate undefined changes in the criteria for reporting or the emergence of new pathogens.
PMCID: PMC1865895  PMID: 17360839
7.  European Multicenter Evaluation of Commercial Enzyme Immunoassays for Detecting Norovirus Antigen in Fecal Samples▿  
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology : CVI  2007;14(10):1349-1355.
A total of 2,254 fecal samples were tested in a European multicenter evaluation of commercially available norovirus antigen detection assays. Two commercial enzyme immunoassays, IDEIA Norovirus (Oxoid; Thermo Fisher Scientific, Ely, United Kingdom) and RIDASCREEN Norovirus (R-Biopharm, Darmstadt, Germany), were included in the evaluation, and their performance was compared with the results of reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR). Included in the evaluation were samples collected in sporadic cases of gastroenteritis, samples from outbreaks in which two or more samples were collected, well-characterized samples representing genotypes currently cocirculating within Europe, and samples collected from patients with gastroenteritis caused by a pathogen other than norovirus. The sensitivities and specificities of the IDEIA Norovirus and RIDASCREEN Norovirus assays were 58.93 and 43.81% and 93.91 and 96.37%, respectively, compared with RT-PCR. The sensitivities of both assays for outbreak investigations improved when six or more samples from an outbreak were examined. The IDEIA Norovirus assay exhibited reactivity to a broader range of norovirus genotypes than the RIDASCREEN Norovirus assay, which showed genotype-dependent sensitivities. The results indicate that, if used, these assays should serve as screening assays and the results should be confirmed by RT-PCR.
PMCID: PMC2168115  PMID: 17715333
8.  Norovirus Infections in Symptomatic and Asymptomatic Food Handlers in Japan▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2007;45(12):3996-4005.
Noroviruses are the leading cause of outbreaks of gastroenteritis in the world. At present, norovirus genogroup II, genotype 4 (GII/4), strains are the most prevalent in many countries. In this study we investigated 55 outbreaks and 35 sporadic cases of norovirus-associated gastroenteritis in food handlers in food-catering settings between 10 November 2005 and 9 December 2006 in Japan. Stool specimens were collected from both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals and were examined for norovirus by real-time reverse transcription-PCR; the results were then confirmed by sequence analysis. Norovirus was detected in 449 of 2,376 (19%) specimens. Four genogroup I (GI) genotypes and 12 GII genotypes, including one new GII genotype, were detected. The GII/4 sequences were predominant, accounting for 19 of 55 (35%) outbreaks and 16 of 35 (46%) sporadic cases. Our results also showed that a large number of asymptomatic food handlers were infected with norovirus GII/4 strains. Norovirus GII had a slightly higher mean viral load (1 log unit higher) than norovirus GI, i.e., 3.81 × 108 versus 2.79 × 107 copies/g of stool. Among norovirus GI strains, GI/4 had the highest mean viral load, whereas among GII strains, GII/4 had the highest mean viral load (2.02 × 108 and 7.96 × 109 copies/g of stool, respectively). Importantly, we found that asymptomatic individuals had mean viral loads similar to those of symptomatic individuals, which may account for the increased number of infections and the predominance of an asymptomatic transmission route.
PMCID: PMC2168587  PMID: 17928420
9.  Prevalence of Rotavirus, Adenovirus, Norovirus, and Astrovirus Infections and Coinfections among Hospitalized Children in Northern France▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2010;48(5):1943-1946.
From January to December 2007, 973 stool specimens were prospectively collected from children hospitalized for gastroenteritis signs or from neonates and premature cases who were born in two French hospital settings in the north of France. They were tested by rapid enzyme immunoassay (EIA) analyses for rotavirus and adenovirus and by two commercially available ELISA tests for the detection of norovirus and astrovirus. The overall rates of prevalence for rotavirus, norovirus, adenovirus, and astrovirus were 21, 13, 5, and 1.8%, respectively, and they did not significantly differ between the two hospital settings (P = 0.12). Mixed virus infections were detected in 32 (3.3%) of the 973 study children and were associated with norovirus in 21 (66%) infants, including 5 premature cases. From fall to spring, norovirus infections accounted for 52% of documented gastroenteritidis viral infections at a time when rotavirus was epidemic, resulting in mixed norovirus and rotavirus gastrointestinal tract infections. Of the 367 documented viral gastroenteritis cases, 15 (4.1%) were identified as nosocomial infections, 5 of which occurred in premature cases. These findings highlight the need to implement norovirus and astrovirus ELISA detection assays in association with rapid EIA rotavirus and adenovirus detection assays for the clinical diagnosis and the nosocomial prevention of gastroenteritis viral infections in pediatric departments.
PMCID: PMC2863921  PMID: 20305010
10.  Epidemiology of astrovirus infection in children 
Korean Journal of Pediatrics  2012;55(3):77-82.
Human astrovirus (HAstV) is a major cause of acute diarrhea among children, resulting in outbreaks of diarrhea and occasionally hospitalization. Improved surveillance and application of sensitive molecular diagnostics have further defined the impact of HAstV infections in children. These studies have shown that HAstV infections are clinically milder (diarrhea, vomiting, fever) than infections with other enteric agents. Among the 8 serotypes of HAstV identified, serotype 1 is the predominant strain worldwide. In addition to serotype 1, the detection rate of HAstV types 2 to 8 has increased by using newly developed assays. HAstV is less common compared with other major gastroenteritis viruses, including norovirus and rotavirus; however, it is a potentially important viral etiological agent with a significant role in acute gastroenteritis. A better understanding of the molecular epidemiology and characteristics of HAstV strains may be valuable to develop specific prevention strategies.
PMCID: PMC3315622  PMID: 22474461
Epidemiology; Acute gastroenteritis; Diarrhea; Human astrovirus; Serotype
11.  Food-borne norovirus-outbreak at a military base, Germany, 2009 
Norovirus is often transmitted from person-to-person. Transmission may also be food-borne, but only few norovirus outbreak investigations have identified food items as likely vehicles of norovirus transmission through an analytical epidemiological study.
During 7-9 January, 2009, 36 persons at a military base in Germany fell ill with acute gastroenteritis. Food from the military base's canteen was suspected as vehicle of infection, norovirus as the pathogen causing the illnesses. An investigation was initiated to describe the outbreak's extent, to verify the pathogen, and to identify modes of transmission and source of infection to prevent further cases.
For descriptive analysis, ill persons were defined as members of the military base with acute onset of diarrhoea or vomiting between 24 December 2008, and 3 February 2009, without detection of a pathogen other than norovirus in stools. We conducted a retrospective cohort study within the headquarters company. Cases were military base members with onset of diarrhoea or vomiting during 5-9 January. We collected information on demographics, food items eaten at the canteen and contact to ill persons or vomit, using a self-administered questionnaire. We compared attack rates (AR) in exposed and unexposed persons, using bivariable and multivariable logistic regression modelling. Stool specimens of ill persons and canteen employees, canteen food served during 5-7 January and environmental swabs were investigated by laboratory analysis.
Overall, 101/815 (AR 12.4%) persons fell ill between 24 December 2008 and 3 February 2009. None were canteen employees. Most persons (n = 49) had disease onset during 7-9 January. Ill persons were a median of 22 years old, 92.9% were male. The response for the cohort study was 178/274 (72.1%). Of 27 cases (AR 15.2%), 25 had eaten at the canteen and 21 had consumed salad. Salad consumption on 6 January (aOR: 8.1; 95%CI: 1.5-45.4) and 7 January (aOR: 15.7; 95%CI: 2.2-74.1) were independently associated with increased risk of disease.
Norovirus was detected in 8/28 ill persons' and 4/25 canteen employees' stools, 6/55 environmental swabs and 0/33 food items. Sequences were identical in environmental and stool samples (subtype II.4 2006b), except for those of canteen employees. Control measures comprised cohort isolation of symptomatic persons, exclusion of norovirus-positive canteen employees from work and disinfection of the canteen's kitchen.
Our investigation indicated that consumption of norovirus-contaminated salad caused the peak of the outbreak on 7-9 January. Strict personal hygiene and proper disinfection of environmental surfaces remain crucial to prevent norovirus transmission.
PMCID: PMC2831023  PMID: 20163705
12.  Continuous Presence of Noroviruses and Sapoviruses in Raw Sewage Reflects Infections among Inhabitants of Toyama, Japan (2006 to 2008) ▿  
Various genotypes of norovirus (NoV) (genogroup I genotype 1 [GI.1], -2, -4, -5, -8, -11, -12, and -14; GII.3, -4, -6, -7, -10, -13, -14, and -15), and sapovirus (SaV) (GI.1 and GI.2, GII.1, and GIV.1) were detected from raw sewage from April 2006 to March 2008, while limited numbers of genotypes of NoV (GI.8, GII.4, GII.6, and GII.13) and SaV (GII.3 and GIV.1) and of NoV (GII.4, GII.7, and GII.13) were detected from clinical cases and healthy children, respectively. During the winter 2006 to 2008, a large number of sporadic gastroenteritis outbreaks and many outbreaks caused by NoV GII.4 occurred among inhabitants in Toyama, Japan. The copy number of genomes of NoV GII detected from raw sewage changed in relation to the number of outbreaks. NoV strains of the same genotypes observed in both raw sewage and human specimens belonged to the same cluster by phylogenetic analysis and had almost identical nucleotide sequences among each genotype. These data suggest that NoVs and SaVs detected from raw sewage reflect the viruses circulating in the community, irrespective of symptoms, and that subclinical infections of NoV are common in Japan. Combined surveys of raw sewage with those of clinical cases help us to understand the relationship between infection of these viruses and gastroenteritis.
PMCID: PMC2648165  PMID: 19124591
13.  Evaluation and Verification of the Seeplex Diarrhea-V ACE Assay for Simultaneous Detection of Adenovirus, Rotavirus, and Norovirus Genogroups I and II in Clinical Stool Specimens ▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2011;49(9):3154-3162.
Acute viral gastroenteritis is an intestinal infection that can be caused by several different viruses. Here we describe the evaluation and verification of Seeplex Diarrhea-V ACE (Seeplex DV), a novel commercial multiplex reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) assay that detects 5 diarrheal pathogens, including adenovirus, rotavirus, norovirus genogroup I (GI) and GII, and astrovirus. We describe a retrospective study of 200 clinical specimens of which 177 were stool specimens previously tested for the presence of gastrointestinal viruses by electron microscopy (EM) and/or real-time RT-PCR (rRT-PCR). The remaining 23 specimens comprised other human pathogens of viral or bacterial origin. Discordant norovirus GI and GII results were resolved using a commercial kit; discordant adenovirus and rotavirus results were resolved using a home brew multiplex rRT-PCR assay. Diagnostic sensitivities and specificities were calculated before and after discordant analysis. After discordant analysis, estimated diagnostic sensitivities were 100% for adenovirus, rotavirus, and norovirus GI and 97% for norovirus GII. Diagnostic specificities after discordant analysis were 100% for adenovirus, rotavirus, and norovirus GI and 99.4% for norovirus GII. The 95% limits of detection were 31, 10, 2, and 1 genome equivalent per reaction for adenovirus, rotavirus, and norovirus GI and GII, respectively. The results demonstrate that the Seeplex DV assay is sensitive, specific, convenient, and reliable for the simultaneous detection of several viral pathogens directly in specimens from patients with gastroenteritis. Importantly, this novel multiplex PCR assay enabled the identification of viral coinfections in 12 (6.8%) stool specimens.
PMCID: PMC3165607  PMID: 21775550
14.  Etiological study of enteric viruses and the genetic diversity of norovirus, sapovirus, adenovirus, and astrovirus in children with diarrhea in Chongqing, China 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:412.
Enteric viruses are a major cause of diarrhea in children, especially those <5 years old. Identifying the viral agents is critical to the development of effective preventive measures. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of common enteric viruses in children <5 years old presented with diarrhea to the Children’s Hospital of Chongqing Medical University.
Five hundred fecal samples were collected between August and November 2010 from children <5 years of age who presented with acute diarrhea at the Children’s Hospital of Chongqing Medical University. All samples were tested for rotaviruses A, B, and C, noroviruses GI and GII, adenovirus, sapovirus, and astrovirus using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), or PCR. Partial sequences of norovirus, sapovirus, adenovirus, and astrovirus were phylogenetically analyzed to determine the genotype.
Enteric viruses were detected in 302 of the 500 children who presented with acute diarrhea (277/477; 58.07%) and persistent diarrhea (5/23; 21.74%). In 277 samples from children with acute diarrhea in whom at least one viral agent was found, rotavirus A was the most frequent virus identified (132 cases; 27.67%), followed by norovirus GII in 130 cases (27.25%), adenovirus in 30 cases (6.29%), sapovirus in 9 cases (1.89%) and astrovirus in one case (0.21%). Twenty-two of the norovirus GII-positive cases were randomly selected for genotyping. GII/4 was the predominant strain, followed by GII/6, GII/2, GII/3, and GII/7. Sapovirus was classified into four genotypes: GI/1 was predominant, followed by GI/2, GII/1, and GIV. The predominant adenovirus was type 41. Mixed infections were found in 25 cases, all of which presented with acute diarrhea (25/477; 5.24%). Viruses were positive in 5/23 (21.74%) cases with persistent diarrhea. Neither rotavirus B, rotavirus C, nor norovirus GI were found in any of the samples.
Enteric viruses are a major cause of diarrhea in children <5 years old in Chongqing. Rotavirus A is the most common etiological agent, follow by norovirus.
PMCID: PMC3766652  PMID: 24004442
15.  Assessment of Gastroenteric Viruses Frequency in a Children's Day Care Center in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil: A Fifteen Year Study (1994–2008) 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e33754.
This 15-year study aimed to determine the role of the main viruses responsible for acute infantile gastroenteritis cases in a day care center in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. From 1994 to 2008, 539 fecal samples were obtained from 23 outbreaks as well as sporadic cases that occurred in this period. The detection of Rotavirus group A (RVA), norovirus (NoV) and astrovirus (AstV) was investigated both by classical and molecular methods of viral detection. RVA was detected by enzymatic immune assay and/or polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and genotyped by using semi-nested multiplex PCR. NoV and AstV were subsequently tested by real time PCR in all RVA-negative samples and genotyped throughout genome sequencing. Three protocols for molecular characterization of NoV nucleotide sequencing were performed with the partial nucleotide sequencing of genomic regions known as region B (polymerase gen), C and D (capsid gen).Viruses were identified in 47.7% (257/539) of the cases, and the detection rates of RVA, NoV and AstV in16.1% (87/539), 33.4% (151/452), and 6.3% (19/301), respectively. Most gastroenteritis cases were reported in autumn and winter, although NoV presented a broader monthly distribution. Viruses' detection rates were significantly higher among children aged less than 24 months old, although NoV cases were detected in all age groups. RVA genotypes as G1P[8], G9P[8], G2P[4], G3P[8] and G1+G3P[8] and RVA was no longer detected after 2005. NoV characterization revealed genotypes variability circulating in the period as GI.2, GI.3, GI.8 GII.2, GII.3, GII.4, GII.4 variants 2001 and 2006b, GII.6, GII.7, GII.12 and GII.17. AstV genotypes 1, 2, 4 and 5 were also characterized. Those data demonstrate the impact of NoV infection in cases of infantile gastroenteritis, surpassing RVA infection responsible for high morbidity rate in children under five years old.
PMCID: PMC3309004  PMID: 22448271
16.  Multiplex Reverse Transcription PCR Luminex Assay for Detection and Quantitation of Viral Agents of Gastroenteritis 
Several viruses can cause diarrheal disease, a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Existing diagnostic methods include ELISA and nucleic acid amplification, usually performed individually.
(1) Develop a multiplexed assay for simultaneous detection of major enteric viral pathogens.
(2) Quantitation of viral load by normalizing with an extrinsic control.
Study Design
A simple protocol combining a one-step multiplex reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) with microsphere-based fluorescence detection was developed for norovirus GI and GII, rotavirus, astrovirus, sapovirus, and adenovirus. An extrinsic control, bacteriophage MS2, was spiked into each fecal sample before nucleic acid extraction to normalize between samples for the efficiency of nucleic acid extraction and amplification.
The fluorescent results were quantitative and nearly as sensitive as the corresponding singleplex realtime RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) assay on analytic samples. Upon testing 229 fecal samples from inpatients with diarrhea in Tanzania the assay yielded between 88% and 100% sensitivity and specificity for all analytes. The difference in fluorescence intensities of MS2 between samples indicated variable extraction efficiency and was used to better refine the viral load of each specimen.
This one-step nucleic acid-based assay enables rapid, sensitive and specific detection of the major viral causes of gastroenteritis. The quantitation yielded by the assay is informative for clinical research particularly in the context of mixed infections.
PMCID: PMC3059344  PMID: 21256076
17.  Nearly Constant Shedding of Diverse Enteric Viruses by Two Healthy Infants 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2012;50(11):3427-3434.
Stool samples from two healthy infant siblings collected at about weekly intervals during their first year of life were analyzed by PCR for 15 different enteric viral genera. Adenovirus, Aichi virus, Anellovirus, Astrovirus, Bocavirus, Enterovirus, Parechovirus, Picobirnavirus, and Rotavirus were detected. Not detected were Coronavirus, Cardiovirus, Cosavirus, Salivirus, Sapovirus, and Norovirus. Long-term virus shedding, lasting from one to 12 months, was observed for adenoviruses, anelloviruses, bocaviruses, enteroviruses, parechoviruses, and picobirnaviruses. Repeated administration of oral poliovirus vaccine resulted in progressively shorter periods of poliovirus detection. Four nonpolio enterovirus genotypes were also detected. An average of 1.8 distinct human viruses were found per time point. Ninety-two percent (66/72) of the fecal samples tested contained one to five different human viruses. Two British siblings in the mid-1980s showed nearly constant fecal viral shedding. Our results demonstrate that frequent enteric infections with diverse viruses occur during early childhood in the absence of severe clinical symptoms.
PMCID: PMC3486243  PMID: 22875894
18.  Incidence of Acute Gastroenteritis and Role of Norovirus, Georgia, USA, 2004–2005 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2011;17(8):1381-1388.
TOC summary: Improved clinical assays will guide appropriate case management.
Approximately 179 million cases of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) occur annually in the United States. However, lack of routine clinical testing for viruses limits understanding of their role among persons seeking medical care. Fecal specimens submitted for routine bacterial culture through a health maintenance organization in Georgia, USA, were tested with molecular diagnostic assays for norovirus, rotavirus, astrovirus, sapovirus, and adenovirus. Incidence was estimated by using national health care utilization rates. Routine clinical diagnostics identified a pathogen in 42 (7.3%) of 572 specimens; inclusion of molecular viral testing increased pathogen detection to 15.7%. Community AGE incidence was 41,000 cases/100,000 person-years and outpatient incidence was 5,400/100,000 person-years. Norovirus was the most common pathogen, accounting for 6,500 (16%) and 640 (12%) per 100,000 person-years of community and outpatient AGE episodes, respectively. This study demonstrates that noroviruses are leading causes of AGE among persons seeking medical care.
PMCID: PMC3381564  PMID: 21801613
norovirus; viruses; gastroenteritis; AGE; etiology; incidence; Georgia; United States; research
19.  Replacing Traditional Diagnostics of Fecal Viral Pathogens by a Comprehensive Panel of Real-Time PCRs▿ 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2011;49(5):1926-1931.
Molecular DNA-based diagnostics are increasingly being used for diagnosis of viral infections. For enteric viruses, PCR assays have also been developed. The aims of this study were to compile and evaluate a comprehensive panel of PCR assays for diagnosis of viruses causing diarrheal disease and to evaluate its use in a largely pediatric population in a 750-bed university medical center. The PCR panel was designed to include assays for detection of adenovirus, astrovirus, enterovirus, norovirus, parechovirus, rotavirus, and sapovirus. The results of the PCR panel were evaluated in relation to conventional viral diagnostics consisting of viral culture and/or rotavirus and adenovirus rapid antigen tests on samples that were taken for routine diagnostics. Comparing conventional with PCR-based testing, the number of viruses detected increased dramatically from 25 to 106 when PCR assays were used. This increase was due mainly to detection of previously undetected viruses, i.e., astrovirus, norovirus, and sapovirus. In 24% of the samples, norovirus was detected. Also, the lower detection limit of PCR-based adenovirus, enterovirus, parechovirus, and rotavirus diagnostics further increased the detection rate. By focusing on samples from patients with complaints of gastroenteritis, detection of a causative agent was increased from 49% by conventional tests to 97% by molecular diagnostics. However, many samples containing low viral loads were found in patients with complaints other than intestinal complaints. In conclusion, the proposed comprehensive PCR panel with appropriate cutoff values can be used for sensitive, rapid, and clinically relevant diagnosis of gastrointestinal viruses.
PMCID: PMC3122640  PMID: 21430103
20.  Clinical Features and Role of Viral Isolates from Stool Samples of Intussuception in Children 
To detect major acute gastroenteritis virus (rotavirus, norovirus, astrovirus, and enteric adenovirus) and non-enteric type of adenovirus (AdV) in the stools of intussusception patients and to investigate the clinical role of detected viruses.
From March 2012 to February 2013, major acute gastroenteritis virus and non-enteric type of AdV were isolated from stool samples that collected from 44 patients treated for intussusception in Chungnam National University Hospital. Patients were divided according to age and isolated virus.
Virus was detected in 28 (63%) stool specimens. The virus detection rate was significantly lower in patients aged under 12 months (p = 0.04). Twenty-two patients (78.6%) had non-enteric adenovirus, 4 (14.3%) had norovirus, 1 (3.6%) had sapovirus, and 1 (3.6%) had astrovirus. AdV subgroup C (AdV 1, 2, 5, and 6) comprised the majority with 20 cases (90.9%). A monthly increment-and-decrement pattern of intussusception was similar to that of viral detection in the stool samples. Enema reductions were successful in 39 patients and surgical manual reductions were performed in 5 patients. Virus was detected in 24 patients (61.5%) of enema reduction group and 4 patients (80.0%) of surgical manual reduction group. All of the detected viruses were non-enteric adenovirus subgroup C (AdV 1, 5, and 6) in surgical reduction patients.
The virus detection rate was high in the stools of intussusception patients. The pattern of seasonal intussusception occurrence rate was parallel with seasonal these viral detection rate in the stool samples. These findings suggest that viral infection plays an important role in the development of intussusception and further research is warranted.
PMCID: PMC3819690  PMID: 24224149
Intussusception; Non-enteric type of adenovirus; Norovirus
21.  A Laboratory-Developed TaqMan Array Card for Simultaneous Detection of 19 Enteropathogens 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2013;51(2):472-480.
The TaqMan Array Card (TAC) system is a 384-well singleplex real-time PCR format that has been used to detect multiple infection targets. Here we developed an enteric TaqMan Array Card to detect 19 enteropathogens, including viruses (adenovirus, astrovirus, norovirus GII, rotavirus, and sapovirus), bacteria (Campylobacter jejuni/C. coli, Clostridium difficile, Salmonella, Vibrio cholerae, diarrheagenic Escherichia coli strains including enteroaggregative E. coli [EAEC], enterotoxigenic E. coli [ETEC], enteropathogenic E. coli [EPEC], and Shiga-toxigenic E. coli [STEC]), Shigella/enteroinvasive E. coli (EIEC), protozoa (Cryptosporidium, Giardia lamblia, and Entamoeba histolytica), and helminths (Ascaris lumbricoides and Trichuris trichiura), as well as two extrinsic controls to monitor extraction and amplification efficiency (the bacteriophage MS2 and phocine herpesvirus). Primers and probes were newly designed or adapted from published sources and spotted onto microfluidic cards. Fecal samples were spiked with extrinsic controls, and DNA and RNA were extracted using the QiaAmp Stool DNA minikit and the QuickGene RNA Tissue kit, respectively, and then mixed with Ag-Path-ID One Step real-time reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) reagents and loaded into cards. PCR efficiencies were between 90% and 105%, with linearities of 0.988 to 1. The limit of detection of the assays in the TAC was within a 10-fold difference from the cognate assays performed on plates. Precision testing demonstrated a coefficient of variation of below 5% within a run and 14% between runs. Accuracy was evaluated for 109 selected clinical specimens and revealed an average sensitivity and specificity of 85% and 77%, respectively, compared with conventional methods (including microscopy, culture, and immunoassay) and 98% and 96%, respectively, compared with our laboratory-developed PCR-Luminex assays. This TAC allows fast, accurate, and quantitative detection of a broad spectrum of enteropathogens and is well suited for surveillance or clinical purposes.
PMCID: PMC3553916  PMID: 23175269
22.  Genetic Diversity of Norovirus and Sapovirus in Hospitalized Infants with Sporadic Cases of Acute Gastroenteritis in Chiang Mai, Thailand 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2004;42(3):1305-1307.
Stool specimens from hospitalized infants with sporadic gastroenteritis in Chiang Mai, Thailand, between July 2000 and July 2001 were examined for norovirus and sapovirus by reverse transcription-PCR and sequence analysis. These viruses were identified in 13 of 105 (12%) specimens. One strain was found to be a recombinant norovirus.
PMCID: PMC356817  PMID: 15004104
23.  Characterising the aetiology of severe acute gastroenteritis among patients visiting a hospital in Qatar using real-time polymerase chain reaction 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:329.
Acute gastroenteritis (AGE) remains a common cause of clinic visits and hospitalizations, though its aetiology has not been determined in Qatar.
We performed a prospective, emergency department–based study of 288 children and adults with AGE. Stool specimens were collected at presentation from June to November 2009. Faecal specimens were tested, using real-time PCR, for a panel of four viral (norovirus, adenovirus, astrovirus and rotavirus) and bacterial pathogens.
Viral and bacterial pathogens were detected in 131 (45.5%) and 34 (12.2%) of the 288 patients recruited. The most commonly detected pathogens were norovirus (28.5%), rotavirus (10.4%), followed by adenovirus (6.25%) and astrovirus (0.30%). Norovirus was the most commonly detected viral pathogen amongst all the age groups with an almost even distribution in all age groups. Rotavirus and adenovirus were more common in children under 5 yr of age. Astrovirus was found in only one person.
Viruses, especially noroviruses, are associated with severe diarrhoea in children and adults in Qatar. Further studies to confirm the findings and to explore the causes of illness among patients from whom a pathogen cannot be determined are needed.
PMCID: PMC3734054  PMID: 23865805
Norovirus; Rotavirus; Adenovirus; Astrovirus; Acute gastroenteritis
24.  Asymptomatic and Symptomatic Excretion of Noroviruses during a Hospital Outbreak of Gastroenteritis 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2004;42(5):2271-2274.
During an investigation of a hospital outbreak of norovirus gastroenteritis identified as being caused by a recombinant genogroup II (rGII-3a) strain, fecal specimens collected from asymptomatic staff and patients were tested by nested PCR. A GII-4 norovirus strain, the predominant strain associated with outbreaks in hospitals over the last few years, was detected in 26 and 33% of asymptomatic staff and patients, respectively. No rGII-3a (Harrow/Mexico) norovirus strains were detected in the samples of asymptomatic staff or patients.
PMCID: PMC404621  PMID: 15131210
25.  Rapid and sensitive detection of human astrovirus in water samples by loop-mediated isothermal amplification with hydroxynaphthol blue dye 
BMC Microbiology  2014;14:38.
The aim of this paper was to develop a reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) method for rapid, sensitive and inexpensive detection of astrovirus.
The detection limit of LAMP using in vitro RNA transcripts was 3.6×10 copies·μL-1, which is as sensitive as the presently used PCR assays. However, the LAMP products could be identified as different colors with the naked eye following staining with hydroxynaphthol blue dye (HNB). No cross-reactivity with other gastroenteric viruses (rotavirus and norovirus) was observed, indicating the relatively high specificity of LAMP. The RT-LAMP method with HNB was used to effectively detect astrovirus in reclaimed water samples.
The LAMP technique described in this study is a cheap, sensitive, specific and rapid method for the detection of astrovirus. The RT-LAMP method can be simply applied for the specific detection of astrovirus and has the potential to be utilized in the field as a screening test.
PMCID: PMC3930758  PMID: 24524254
Astrovirus; Loop-mediated isothermal amplification; Hydroxynaphthol blue

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