Molecular epidemiology of noroviruses in Northern Greece, 2005–2006

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Noroviruses (NoVs) are important human pathogens associated with acute viral gastroenteritis worldwide, displaying significant genetic heterogeneity. Genotype GII.4 is responsible for the majority of outbreaks reported to date. A total of 460 faecal samples from sporadic gastroenteritis cases were screened for the presence of NoV RNA. Four additional human samples collected during a waterborne NoV gastroenteritis outbreak observed in 2005 in northern Greece, were also included in the study. All PCR-positive samples were tested further using a multiplex RT-PCR, which targets the viral capsid VP1 region D. PCR products from all outbreak samples and from 20 randomly selected samples were sequenced. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that GII.4 genotype predominated (70%), while genotypes GII.2 (10%), GII.7 (15%), and GI.1 (5%) were also detected. All the outbreak NoV strains belonged to the GI.1 genotype. The present study provides a first insight into the epidemiology and genetic diversity of NoVs in Greece and shows that various strains are circulating in the country and cause sporadic cases or outbreaks. J. Med. Virol. 87: 170–174, 2015. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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