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Keywords:

  • Norwalk virus;
  • viral gastroenteritis;
  • radioimmunoassay;
  • enzyme immunoassay

Abstract

The development of a solid-phase microtiter enzyme immunoassay (EIA) for detection of Norwalk virus antigen in stool samples is described. The EIA was compared with a previously developed radioimmunoassay (RIA) for detection of Norwalk virus antigen in stools obtained from 30 volunteers who received Norwalk virus. The EIA detected viral antigen in stools from 17 of the volunteers and the RIA detected viral antigen in 15. Seroconversion was a more sensitive indicator of infection in some patients. However, two samples from volunteers who were clinically ill but did not show seroconversion to Norwalk virus were positive for Norwalk virus antigen by both immunoassays. This indicates that antigen detection may be important for use in epidemiological studies. Neither of the immunoassays gave positive reactions for stools known to contain enteric adenovirus, rotavirus, or Hawaii virus, or in stools from patients with acute diarrhea of unknown cause. The stability of the EIA reagents and ease of use should provide a means for more extensive testing for Norwalk virus in outbreaks of gastroenteritis.