Rotavirus and adenovirus infections in 308 infants hospitalized for longer than 1 wk, and cases with necrotizing enterocolitis, were screened in a neonatal unit during a 15 mo period, covering two rotavirus epidemics in the community. Altogether, 1020 stool samples were collected weekly until hospital discharge, and in necrotizing enterocolitis cases at the onset of symptoms, and tested for rotavirus and adenovirus by means of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The positive samples were further analysed by polymerase chain reaction. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay revealed five adenovirus-positive cases, which were tested negative by polymerase chain reaction. Out of 16 necrotizing enterocolitis cases, one was adenovirus- and another rotavirus positive when tested by polymerase chain reaction, the latter having a concomitant Candida albicans septicaemia.
Conclusion: Routine rotavirus and adenovirus screening in hospitalized neonates seems to be unnecessary. Viral diagnostic examinations should be considered in patients with necrotizing enterocolitis.