a1 Vaccine Research Center, University of Tampere Medical School, Tampere, Finland
a2 Department of Pediatrics, Tampere University Hospital, Finland
Noroviruses are, after rotaviruses, the second most common causative agents of acute gastroenteritis in young children. We studied norovirus genotypes in faecal specimens collected from Finnish children followed-up prospectively in rotavirus vaccine trials. Almost 5000 faecal specimens collected from cases of acute gastroenteritis were examined using reverse transcriptase–PCR. A total of 1172 cases (25% of all acute gastroenteritis) were associated with noroviruses. Of these, 96% were genogroup GII. GII.4 was the most common genotype (46%) throughout the study period but the proportion of this genotype varied in different norovirus epidemic seasons. Additional norovirus genotypes detected were: GII.7 (15%), GII.3 (14%), GII.1 (9%), GII.b (7%), GII.2 (3%), and GI.3 (2%). GII.4 dominated during the following years: 1998–1999 (75%), 2002–2003 (88%) and 2006–2007 (98%) while recombinant genotype GII.b was dominant between 2003 and 2004 (83%). In conclusion, genotypes GII.4 and GIIb have emerged as predominant norovirus genotypes in endemic gastroenteritis affecting young infants and children in Finland.
(Accepted March 09 2011)
(Online publication April 14 2011)