Experimental infection of chimpanzees with the Norwalk agent of epidemic viral gastroenteritis

J Med Virol. 1978;2(2):89-96. doi: 10.1002/jmv.1890020203.


A fecal filtrate of human origin containing the Norwalk agent of epidemic viral gastroenteritis was administered by stomach tube to chimpanzees in an attempt to induce diarrheal disease. Significant postchallenge serum antibody rises against Norwalk viral antigens were demonstrated in all animals using the techniques of immune electron microscopy and radioimmunoassay. In addition, viral antigens were detected in feces from five of nine animals using radioimmunoassay. Clinical illness characterized by diarrhea and/or vomiting did not occur. Infection was transmitted subsequently by feeding four additional chimpanzees a fecal filtrate prepared from one of the previously infected animals. Development of an antibody response in four animals and detection of viral antigen in two animals that received this passage filtrate indicated that viral replication had occurred in the absence of clinical illness. The availability of the chimpanzee as an experimental animal host susceptible to infection with the Norwalk agent should facilitate the study of epidemic viral gastroenteritis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral / biosynthesis
  • Antigens, Viral / analysis
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Feces / immunology
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Gastroenteritis / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Pan troglodytes
  • Virus Diseases / immunology*
  • Viruses, Unclassified / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Antigens, Viral