Viral acute gastroenteritis (AG) is a significant cause of hospitalisation in children younger than five years. Group A rotavirus (RVA) is responsible for 30% of these cases. Following the introduction of RVA immunisation in Brazil in 2006, a decreased circulation of this virus has been observed. However, AG remains an important cause of hospitalisation of paediatric patients and only limited data are available regarding the role of other enteric viruses in these cases. We conducted a prospective study of paediatric patients hospitalised for AG. Stool samples were collected to investigate human adenovirus (HAdV), RVA, norovirus (NoV) and astrovirus (AstV). NoV typing was performed by nucleotide sequencing and phylogenetic analysis. From the 225 samples tested, 60 (26%) were positive for at least one viral agent. HAdV, NoV, RVA and AstV were detected in 16%, 8%, 6% and 0% of the samples, respectively. Mixed infections were found in nine patients: HAdV/RVA (5), HAdV/NoV (3) and HAdV/NoV/RVA (1). The frequency of fever and lymphocytosis was significantly higher in virus-infected patients. Phylogenetic analysis of NoV indicated that all of these viruses belonged to genotype GII.4. The significant frequency of these pathogens in patients with AG highlights the need to routinely implement laboratory investigations.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Rotavirus (RV) is the main etiological agent of diarrhea in childhood; its laboratory diagnosis is crucial to guide the clinical management and prevention of its spread. RV immunization was introduced in Brazilian 6-month-old children in 2006. The present study was aimed to evaluate three methodologies used for human RV detection in stool samples obtained from patients hospitalized due to gastroenteritis in a teaching hospital and report the impact of RV immunization in hospitalization by diarrhea. METHODS: 293 stool samples collected in the 2001-2008 period were analyzed by enzyme immunoassay (EIA), latex agglutination (LA) and polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE). RESULTS: Rotavirus was detected in 34.8% of samples by LA assay, 28.3% of samples by EIA assay and in 25.6% of samples by PAGE assay. Considering the PAGE method as gold standard, the sensitivity, specificity and accuracy of EIA were 94.6%, 94.4% and 94.5%, and to LA were 82.6%, 81.6% and 81.9%, respectively. CONCLUSION: These results indicate that antigen detection by EIA is a rapid, sensitive and specific method, and could be used in large-scale applications for screening stool samples suspected of RV infection. This study showed decreased incidence of RV infection in hospitalized children prior to the implementation of the national immunization program against RV.