Endemic gastroenteritis associated with the Norwalk-like viruses (NLVs) is little understood. This study tested for NLV in gastroenteritis cases in 257 households in Melbourne, Australia, for the period September 1997 to February 1999 by a reverse transcription hemi-nested polymerase chain reaction. Positive samples were studied by nucleotide sequencing and phylogenetic analysis. NLV was detected in 73 (11.4%) of 638 faecal specimens tested. Twelve (1.9%) were NLV genogroup 1 (G1) and 61 (9.6%) NLV genogroup 2 (G2). Gastroenteritis symptoms associated with NLV G2/no other pathogens were significantly more severe than where no NLV was detected. NLV G1 and NLV G2 were detected in adults and children, males and females. NLV G2 incidence showed a marked seasonal periodicity with significant peaks in the Australian late spring/early summer periods. NLV G1 seasonality was significantly different from that of NLV G2. Seven major NLV clusters were identified by phylogenetic analysis.
Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.