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Minerva Pediatrica 2012 June;64(3):333-9


language: English

Prospective study of human norovirus infection in children with acute gastroenteritis in Greece

Mammas I. N. 1, Koutsaftiki C. 1, Nika E. 2, Vagia F. 2, Voyatzi A. 2, Spandidos D. A. 3, Theodoridou M. 4, Myriokefalitakis N. 1

1 First Department of Pediatrics, Penteli Children’s Hospital, Athens, Greece; 2 Department of Clinical Microbiology, Penteli Children’s Hospital, Athens, Greece; 3 Department of Clinical Virology, University of Crete School of Medicine, Crete, Greece; 4 First Department of Pediatrics, Aghia Sophia Children’s Hospital, University of Athens School of Medicine, Athens, Greece


AIM: Noroviruses are considered as a major cause of acute gastroenteritis in childhood worldwide. This prospective study was undertaken to investigate the frequency and clinical features of norovirus infections in children aged less than 5 years with acute gastroenteritis in Greece.
METHODS: Routine stool samples were obtained from 227 children, 119 boys and 108 girls, with acute gastroenteritis, who attended a tertiary paediatric hospital in Athens during the period November 2008 - October 2009. All specimens were tested for the presence of norovirus, rotavirus and adenovirus antigens using validated enzyme-linked immunoassays.
RESULTS: Norovirus was detected in 8 (7.9%) out of 101 children during the period November 2008 to April 2009, while the respective rate during the period May 2009 to October 2009 was 1/126 (0.8%). In the total sample, rotavirus was detected in 56 (24.7%) children and adenovirus in 5 (2.2%) children. Three (1.3%) samples grew Campylobacter jejuni, while 6 (2.6%) samples grew Salmonella. In all cases, norovirus was detected as a unique viral pathogen. Among norovirus-positive children, who required hospitalization, the median duration of intravenous fluid administration was 3.5 days. The median duration of hospitalization was 4 days (range 3 days to 5 days) and did not differ from the duration of hospitalization of rotavirus-positive children.
CONCLUSION: Our results suggest norovirus as the second most common cause of community-acquired acute gastroenteritis in children in Greece, following rotavirus. We highlight the need to implement norovirus detection assays for the clinical diagnosis and the prevention of viral gastroenteritis in paediatric departments.

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