Noroviruses (NoVs) give rise to clinically relevant gastroenteritis in all age groups and are widely distributed in both clinical and environmental settings. NoVs are classified into five genogroups (GI to GV), of which GI, GII and GIV infect humans. While data on the epidemiology of human NoVs GI and GII have been steadily increasing, very little information has been published on the spread of GIV in either the health care system or the environment, resulting in a lack of information about its clinical significance and pathogenesis. In order to investigate the distribution of GIV strains in the environment, we analyzed sewage samples collected from five treatment plants, by using newly designed nested RT-PCR assays. A collection of clinical stool samples, originating from pediatric patients with symptoms of acute gastroenteritis, previously analyzed in our laboratory for the presence of NoV GI or GII, was also analyzed for the presence of GIV norovirus. Results of this work attest to the presence of GIV in both clinical and environmental contexts and underline the importance of routinely screening for this genogroup, along with GI and GII, in order to better understand its distribution, prevalence and role during epidemics, which is probably underestimated.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 1, 2008
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