Role of Noroviruses in Sporadic Acute Gastroenteritis Cases from Children Attended in a Large Referral Childrenâ??s Hospital in Buenos Aires City, Argentina Buenos Aires City, Argentina

Background: Noroviruses (NV) are recognized as the leading cause of sporadic and epidemic acute gastroenteritis worldwide, in all age groups. While there is increasing knowledge that NV is responsible for many acute gastroenteritis outbreaks in Argentina, studies to estimate prevalence in sporadic cases are scarce.

Methods: Descriptive, observational, cross-sectional study was conducted with children less than 5 years with acute gastroenteritis attending the outpatient department at the “Ricardo Gutiérrez” Children’s Hospital (RGCH) in Buenos Aires city between June 2017 and June 2021. Sociodemographic, clinical and epidemiological data were recorded. Stool samples were tested and genotyped for norovirus. Association between Norovirus detection and demographic and clinical variables was assessed.

Results: A total of 350 children with acute diarrhea were included, of which stool samples were collected for 332 (94.9%). Norovirus was detected in 81 cases (24.4%). Vomiting and moderate/severe diarrhea were more frequent in Norovirus positive than Norovirus negative children. However, presence of watery diarrhea and history of Rotavirus vaccination were significantly associated with Norovirus etiology. GII and GII.4 were the most frequently detected genogroup and genotype, respectively.

Conclusion: Noroviruses were detected with high frequency, mostly in children between 6 months and 2 years old, reinforcing the hypothesis of a new updated scenario of Norovirus predominance over Rotavirus. Watery diarrhea, complete vaccination against Rotavirus and vomiting are three key parameters that should raise suspicion of possible Norovirus gastroenteritis. Continuous and active Norovirus surveillance in this age group is important since children represent a priority group for Norovirus vaccine design and development.

Author(s): Angela Gentile*, Areso Maria Soledad, Juarez Maria del Valle, Orqueda Ana, Degiuseppe Juan Ignacio, Juan Andres, Turco, Marisa and Sabbaj Liliana

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