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, 144 (3), 218-24

A Prospective Study of Rotavirus Infection in Infants and Young Children

A Prospective Study of Rotavirus Infection in Infants and Young Children

M Gurwith et al. J Infect Dis.


Diarrhea in neonates, followed as a cohort, and their families was studied prospectively. The families were followed for an average of 16.3 months. Stool and serum specimens were obtained at least every three months. Stool specimens were examined for viruses by electron microscopy and cultured for enteropathogens, and serum specimens were tested for antibodies to rotavirus and Norwalk virus. During the study, 237 episodes of gastroenteritis were observed in 104 infants and their 62 siblings. Rotavirus, detected 82 times in 72 children, was by far the most common enteropathogen. It was associated with gastrointestinal symptoms in 72% (with diarrhea in 65%). Rotavirus diarrhea occurred mostly in winter months and was significantly more frequently associated with respiratory symptoms than were diarrheas with other etiologies. Rotavirus infection was uncommon in the first six months of life, but by two years of age, 62% of the infants had had at least one infection. Neither breast feeding nor the presence of antibody to rotavirus in cord blood appeared to be protective.

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