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Keywords:

  • norovirus;
  • rotavirus;
  • gastroenteritis;
  • inpatient

ABSTRACT

Acute diarrhea is one of commonest pediatric illnesses worldwide. Although the importance of norovirus as a cause of gastroenteritis outbreaks is well documented, its role in sporadic acute gastroenteritis is not well characterized. The aim of this study was to clarify the prevalence and clinical characteristics of norovirus gastroenteritis among hospitalized children. Between November 2007 and April 2008, inpatients under 12 years of age with acute gastroenteritis in a single hospital in Japan were investigated. A stool sample from each patient was screened for enteropathogenic bacteria and tested by reverse transcription polymerase reaction for norovirus and by an immunochromatographic method for rotavirus and enteric adenoviruses. The clinical features of children with norovirus gastroenteritis were compared with those of children with rotavirus and children without noro- or rotovirus infections. Among 107 patients included in this study, norovirus and rotavirus were detected in 36 (34%) and 37 (35%) patients, respectively. Compared with rotavirus enteritis, the duration of vomiting and diarrhea was significantly longer, and serum C-reactive protein concentrations were higher, in patients with norovirus enteritis. Norovirus was detected as frequently as rotavirus in hospitalized pediatric gastroenteritis patients. Our results suggest that norovirus gastroenteritis among hospitalized young children is not less severe than rotavirus gastroenteritis.