High Frequency of Rotavirus Viremia in Children With Acute Gastroenteritis: Discordance of Strains Detected in Stool and Sera

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Recently, rotavirus antigenemia and viremia have been identified in patients with acute gastroenteritis. This study examined rotavirus viremia in children hospitalized for acute gastroenteritis in order to establish its association with fecal shedding of rotavirus, infecting genotypes and antibody marker of acute infection. Thirtyone pairs of stool-serum specimens were collected from November 2004 to February 2005 together with clinical information. All paired specimens were screened for rotavirus RNA by RT-PCR using the VP6 gene primers. All stool and serum specimens were tested for rotavirus antigen and anti-rotavirus IgM respectively by ELISA. Sixteen of 31 stool-serum pairs showed the presence of rotavirus RNA. Nine stool and two serum specimens were positive only by RT-PCR. The total positivity in rotavirus RNA was significantly higher in both stools (80.6%) and sera (58.1%) than that of stool antigen (38.7%) and anti-rotavirus IgM (25.8%) (P<0.01). All PCR positive paired specimens were typed for the VP7 (G) and VP4 (P) genes. Five of sixteen pairs could be typed for both genes. Three of the five pairs showed concordance (G2P[4]/G2P[4]) while two showed discordance (G12P[8]/G2P[4], G8P[4]/G2P[4]) in the genotypes detected in stool and serum specimens respectively. The study documents a high frequency of rotavirus viremia in patients with acute diarrhea. The discordance of rotavirus strains at the genotypic level in the serum and stool of individual patients with diarrhea suggests the susceptibility of extraintestinal sites for rotavirus infection and the possibility of differential dissemination of rotavirus strains from the intestine.

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