Noroviruses are a leading cause of epidemic and sporadic acute gastroenteritis worldwide. The development of sensitive molecular diagnostic techniques has revolutionized our understanding of norovirus epidemiology over the past two decades, but norovirus strain types associated with sporadic gastroenteritis remain poorly described. Therefore, we conducted a systematic review of studies performed after 2000 to clarify the genotypic distribution of noroviruses in children (≤18 years of age) with sporadic acute gastroenteritis. Genogroup GII norovirus was the most prevalent, accounting for 96% of all sporadic infections. GII.4 was the most prevalent genotype, accounting for 70% of the capsid genotypes and 60% of the polymerase genotypes, followed by the capsid genotype GII.3 (16%) and the polymerase genotype GII.b (14%). The most common ORF1/ORF2 inter-genotype recombinants were GII.b, GII.12, and GII.4 polymerase genotypes combined with the capsid genotype GII.3, accounting for 19% of all genotyped strains. The distribution of GII.4 variants over the last decade was dominated by successive circulation of GII.4/2002, GII.4/2004, GII.4/2006b, and GII.4/2008 with GII.4/2006b continuing to date. Genotypes GII.4 and GII.3 have predominated in children during the past decade; this is most notable in the global emergence of GII.4 variant noroviruses. As the burden of rotavirus disease decreases following the introduction of childhood immunization programs, the relative importance of norovirus in the etiology of acute childhood gastroenteritis will likely increase. In order for a successful norovirus vaccine to be developed, it should provide immunity against strains with capsid genotypes GII.4 and GII.3.
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