Role of astroviruses in childhood diarrhea

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Abstract

Human astrovirus (HAstV) is a significant cause of acute diarrhea among children, resulting in outbreaks of diarrhea and occasionally in hospitalization. Improved detection methods for eight antigenic types of HAstV and studies assessing the frequency and severity of HAstV diarrhea have further defined the impact of HAstV infections in children. These studies have shown that HAstV infections are clinically milder (diarrhea, vomiting, fever) than rotavirus infections. However, frequent coinfection of HAstV with rotavirus and caliciviruses in childhood diarrhea complicates the epidemiology. Seroprevalence studies have provided evidence that the majority of children are infected by HAstV by 6 years of age. The route of transmission is probably fecal-oral from food or water sources. Recent and planned studies will help to define the epidemiology and in the future lead to prevention strategies, which could include vaccination.

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