Prolonged norovirus shedding in infants
Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2007 Jan;26(1):46-9. doi: 10.1097/01.inf.0000247102.04997.e0.


Background: Noroviruses (NV) are one of the leading causes of gastroenteritis in young children; however, the duration of NV shedding in young children is not well known.

Methods: Fecal specimens were collected from children with acute gastroenteritis at a pediatric clinic during the period from November to December 2002 and tested for NV by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction.

Results: Of 71 children infected with NV, 60 (84.5%) were less than 3 years old. Among children aged <2 years and those aged 2 to 5 years, the duration of illness was longer (7 days versus 3.5 days, P = 0.0069), the maximum number of stools in a 24-hour period was greater (7 versus 3, P = 0.0078) and a 20-point severity score was higher (11 versus 8, P = 0.0031) in patients aged <2 years than in patients aged 2 to 5 years. Among the 23 children whose follow-up specimens were obtained, the median duration of NV shedding was 16 days (range, 5-47 days). Virus shedding for more than 2 weeks after onset was observed in 75% (6 of 8), 71.4% (5 of 7) and 25% (2 of 8) of children aged <1 year, 1 year and 2 to 3 years, respectively. Three infants aged <or=6 months continued to excrete NV for an extremely long period (more than 42, 44 and 47 days from onset) after recovery.

Conclusion: Long-term virus shedding after the disappearance of clinical symptoms was observed. Caution should be exercised when handling the excrement of infants and young children infected with NV.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Caliciviridae Infections / virology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Feces / virology
  • Female
  • Gastroenteritis / virology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Norovirus / isolation & purification*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Virus Shedding