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Molecular epidemiology and clinical characterization of group A rotavirus infections in Tunisian children with acute gastroenteritis

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Abstract:

Rotaviruses are the most common cause of severe viral gastroenteritis in early childhood worldwide. Thus, the objectives of our study were to determine the molecular epidemiology and the clinical features of rotavirus gastroenteritis in Tunisia. Between January 2003 and April 2007, a prospective study was conducted on 788 stool samples collected from children under 12 years of age who were suffering from acute gastroenteritis. Rotavirus was detected by multiplex RT-PCR in 27% (n = 213) of samples, among them 79.3% (n = 169) cases were monoinfections. The frequency of rotavirus infections was significantly higher among inpatients (29%) than among outpatients (13%) (P < 0.001). The seasonal distribution of rotavirus diarrhea showed a winter peak, with an unusual peak from June to September. The mean duration of hospitalization was 6.5 ± 8.1 days and the mean age was 15.8 ± 22.8 months for rotavirus monoinfections. Fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, and dehydration were observed in 88, 98, 13, and 80 cases, respectively, in children with rotavirus monoinfections. G3P[8] (45.6%) and G1P[8] (23.9%) were the most common genotypes found in our study. The determination of rotavirus infection prevalence and the characterization of the rotavirus strains circulating will help us to better understand the molecular biology and epidemiology of the disease in our country.

Keywords: Tunisia; Tunisie; diarrhea; diarrhée; genotyping; génotypage; rotavirus; symptoms; symptômes

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1139/w11-074

Affiliations: 1: Laboratory of Infectious Diseases and Biological Agents, Faculty of Pharmacy, TU-5000 Monastir, Tunisia. 2: National Reference Center for Enteric Viruses, Laboratory of Virology, University Hospital of Dijon, F-21070 Dijon, France. 3: Pediatric Department, University Hospital Fattouma Bourguiba, TU-5000 Monastir, Tunisia. 4: Laboratory of Immunology, University Hospital Fattouma Bourguiba, TU-5000 Monastir, Tunisia.

Publication date: 2011-10-21

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  • Published since 1954, this monthly journal contains new research in the field of microbiology including applied microbiology and biotechnology; microbial structure and function; fungi and other eucaryotic protists; infection and immunity; microbial ecology; physiology, metabolism and enzymology; and virology, genetics, and molecular biology. It also publishes review articles and notes on an occasional basis, contributed by recognized scientists worldwide.
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