Viral infections of the gastrointestinal tract

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Viral infections of the gastrointestinal tract are a major worldwide cause of morbidity and mortality, especially in underdeveloped settings. Rotavirus is the leading cause of severe gastroenteritis in children and has been the object of intensive vaccine development efforts for several years. Although much has been learned, a satisfactory vaccine strategy has yet to be reported and many investigators are now testing alternative strategies. Recent advances in the study of gastroenteritis viruses include the cloning and characterization of the genomes of Norwalk-like viruses (now designated members of the Caliciviridae) and astroviruses, which have spawned a variety of epidemiologic studies and portend many more.

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