Epidemiology and Infection

Research Article

Seroprevalence of astrovirus types 1 and 6 in London, determined using recombinant virus antigen

S. Kristona1, M. M. Willcocksa2, M. J. Cartera2 and W. D. Cubitta1 c1

a1 Department of Virology, Camelia Botnar Laboratories, Hospital for Children, Great Ormond Street, London WCIN 3JH

a2 School of Biology Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 5XH


We have developed a microimmunofluorescence test (IF) which uses cells infected with a recombinant baculovirus which expresses the capsid proteins of astrovirus types 1 or 6. The IF test was sensitive and specific and the results for human astrovirus type 1 (HAst-1) were comparable to those obtained by immune electronmicroscopy and radioimmunoassay. Application of the test to a panel of 273 sera collected from patients and staff at two childrens hospitals in London showed that over 50% of the population were infected by Hast-1 between the age of 5 and 12 months rising to 90% by 5 years, whereas human astrovirus type 6 (HAst6) was relatively uncommon (10–30%) in all age groups.

(Accepted January 30 1996)


c1 Author for correspondence