Astroviruses are a common cause of diarrhea in young hospitalized children

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Last Updated: 2001-07-20 16:22:23 EDT (Reuters Health)

WESTPORT, CT (Reuters Health) – Astroviruses are an important cause of acute diarrhea in hospitalized children <2 years old and, after rotaviruses, these pathogens are the second most common cause of community-acquired and nosocomial infections, US researchers report in The Journal of Infectious Diseases for July 1.

During a 5-year period, Dr. Penelope H. Dennehy, of Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, and colleagues found that 14.6% of all hospitalized children 10 years old or younger had diarrhea. About 11% had diarrhea as the cause of admission, while the remaining 3% developed diarrhea while in the hospital.

Testing of stool samples from 807 children with diarrhea revealed that viruses were the most frequently isolated pathogens, the researchers report. The most common viral pathogens were group A rotaviruses (30.0%), astroviruses (6.8%), enteric adenoviruses (5.6%) and group C rotaviruses (3.3%).

They found that 16.2% of astrovirus infections were nosocomial and 6.8% were community-acquired. Astrovirus type 1 was the predominant strain identified, and most causes occurred between March and June.

Compared with children with rotavirus diarrhea, children with astrovirus diarrhea were younger, had less dehydration and less severe symptoms and were less likely to receive a diagnosis of gastroenteritis on admission.

The researchers conclude that astrovirus, which only requires rehydration therapy, should be considered as another common diarrheal pathogen in children younger than age 2.

J Infect Dis 2001;184:10-15.

-Westport Newsroom 203 319 2700

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