Pediatric Viral Gastroenteritis During Eight Years Of Study
During the period January 1974 through July 1982, fecal samples from 1,537 pediatric inpatients with gastroenteritis were tested for enteric viruses by electron microscopic and rotavirus enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay techniques. Rotaviruses were detected in 34.5% of these patients, enteric adenoviruses were detected in 4.7%, approximately 27-nm viruses were detected in 1.6%, and at least one of these agents was found in 40.1% of the study subjects. Three infections were by an apparently new agent which morphologically is a rotavirus, but which failed to react in the rotavirus enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. During the first 8 calendar years of study, rotaviruses were detected in 39.0% of 577 patients in the even-numbered years and 30.3% of 702 patients in the odd-numbered years. Adenoviruses were found in all calendar months. Rotaviruses were found in inpatients in November through July, whereas approximately 27-nm viruses were found in October through June. The percentage of patients who had a demonstrated viral infection rose steadily from 7.4% in September to 72.0% in January and then steadily declined to 2.9% in August. Viral infection was especially common in study subjects who were 7 through 24 months of age; 61% of such children had one or more enteric viruses. Rotavirus-infected patients tended to be younger during the months of greatest rotavirus activity than at the beginning and end of the rotavirus season, presumably because of a greater exposure to virus at the height of the rotavirus outbreak.