Background: Rotavirus are the most common etiologic agent of acute gastroenteritis in childhood. The knowledge of the circulating antigenic types is important in development of future vacunes.
Methods: Faeces from children (age < 4 years) with acute gastroenteritis admitted in the two hospitals (Hospital Severo Ochoa-Madrid and Hospital General Vic-Barcelona) have been studied prospectively during one year (October-1996 to October-1997). The detection of rotavirus was performed by ELISA (IDEIA, Dako). All samples were G-serotyping by EIA-Mabs (Silenius Laboratories) and the indeterminate or non-serotypable samples were G-genotyping by RT-PCR. P genotypes were identified by RT-PCR.
Results: 322 (45%) patients with acute diarrhoea causing for rotavirus were confirmed, 242 coming from the Madrid metropolitan area and other 80 from the Barcelona area. The EIA-Mabs technique made it possible to identify the G serotypes in 287 cases (89%), corresponding 207 to G1 serotype, 70 to G4 serotype and 6 to G3 serotype. In 4 patients both G1 and G4 serotypes were detected. The EIA-Mabs could not determined the serotype in 35 (11%) patients, all of whom were confirmed by RT-PCR (12 belonged to serotype G1 and 23 to serotype G4). Analysis of P genotypes was carried out in 25 patients obtained from Madrid and 17 from Barcelona; all cases were classified in the P genotype.
Conclusions: The most frequent serotype in both hospitals was G1. The EIA-Mabs technique were showed a high sensitivity, however, the RT-PCR technique used were even more efficient, making it possible for us to identify all the non-serotypable EIA-Mabs cases. The temporal study of circulating serotypes/genotypes of rotavirus is necessary to evaluate the efficiency of vaccines.