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Stool Viruses In Babies In Glasgow: 1. Hospital Admissions With Diarrhoea

C. R. Madeley, B. P. Cosgrove, E. J. Bell, R. J. Fallon

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SUMMARYStools from 183 babies under 2 years of age admitted to Ruchill Hospital with diarrhoea were examined by electron microscopy, virus culture, bacterial culture and light microscopy. As far as possible, several stools were examined from each patient and the results showed rotaviruses, astroviruses and other viruses in association with symptoms, as well as the expected bacterial pathogens. Examination of several stools from the same patient also showed that in this age group the viral flora of the gut changes rapidly and that the viruses seen by electron microscopy were only rarely grown in cell culture and vice versa. This phenomenon was particularly noted with adenoviruses. In 30% of cases no microbial pathogen was identified and in the remainder the presence of the infecting organism did not always coincide with the symptoms. It is concluded that, with viruses at least, presence of the organism does not constitute proof of causation.