Noroviruses are the enteric pathogens most commonly responsible for infectious gastroenteritis and outbreaks of foodborne illness. The GII.4 norovirus, in particular, is responsible for the majority of epidemics. Here, we present data on the distribution of norovirus genotypes in Chungnam, Korea, in 2008, measure genetic variation among GII.4 strains, and compare Korean GII.4 variants with reference strains based on the 237-bp junction of ORF1 and ORF2. We detected 139 different strains, which formed two distinct genetic clusters with significant sequence diversity. One Korean cluster (2008-Korea_a) showed high similarity to the Sakai cluster that appeared in Japan and Europe in 2006. The other cluster (2008-Korea_b) was unique and unrelated to previously reported clusters. Genotype GII.4 was confirmed as the predominant cause of norovirus epidemics in Korea. Foodborne norovirus infections, on the other hand, were generally caused by emerging GII.4 genetic variants similar to those responsible for global epidemics.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: May 1, 2010
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