Disease: Causes vomiting, diarrhea, and gastroenteritis in animals and man.

Biology of Rotaviruses: Generally a disease of newborn animals, the major symptom is acute diarrhea which may be accompanied by fever and vomiting. A wide variety of mammals and at least some birds are susceptible hosts, with transmission occurring by the fecal-oral route.

Properties of Virions: Virus particles are isometric, 65–75 mm in diameter, with a double- layered protein capsid. The genome consists of 11 segments of double-stranded RNA. The two surface proteins VP7 and VP3 are neutralization antigens, with VP7 determin-ing the virus serotype. The important antigenic sites on VP7 have been located.

Cell Specificity and Cultivation: The virus is adapted to infect the highly differentiated epithelial cells of the small intestine. Growth in cell culture requires the use of susceptible cell lines and the addition of trypsin to activate virions.

Immunity: Protection against rotaviral diarrhea depends on the presence of antibodies in the lumen of the gut. While early subclinical infections can confer protection from disease later, the degree of cross protection against other serotypes is unclear. The role of VP7 and VP3 proteins is currently being investigated.

Diagnosis: The dynamics of virus excretion and antibody responses have been well stud-ied, and the knowledge used to devise numerous diagnostic tests. Many of these are discussed in detail, including methods for detecting virus particles, antigens, or dsRNA, as well as measurement of secretory or serum antibodies. Current problems in subgrouping and cell culture adaptation are also presented and discussed


Immune Electron Microscopy Cell Culture Adaptation Gnotobiotic Calf Vine Strain 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1988

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  • Ian H. Holmes

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