Emergence of rare sapovirus genotype among infants and children with acute gastroenteritis in Japan
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A total of 1,154 fecal specimens from infants and children with acute gastroenteritis in five cities in Japan (Maizuru, Tokyo, Sapporo, Saga, and Osaka), collected from July 2003 to June 2005, were tested for the presence of diarrheal viruses by reverse transcriptase multiplex PCR. Overall, 469 of 1,154 (40.6%) were positive for diarrheal viruses, of which 49 (10.4%) were positive for sapovirus. The peak of sapovirus infection shifted from April–June in 2003–2004 to October–December in 2004–2005. The observations show that maximum sapovirus prevalence can occur during warmer seasons. Sapovirus was subjected to molecular genetic analysis by sequencing. The results indicated that sapovirus genogroup I was a dominant group (100%). Sapovirus strains detected in this study were further classified into four genotypes (GI/1, GI/4, GI/6, and GI/8). Of these, sapovirus GI/1 was the most predominant, followed by sapovirus GI/6; these accounted for 93% (13 of 14) and 7% (1 of 14), respectively, in 2003–2004. However, it was noteworthy that sapovirus GI/6 suddenly emerged to become the leading genotype, accounting for 77% (27 of 35) of isolates in 2004–2005. This is believed to be the first report of the changing distribution of sapovirus genotypes and of the emergence of the rare sapovirus GI/6.
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