JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Development of a multiplex real-time PCR assay for detection of human enteric viruses other than norovirus using samples collected from gastroenteritis patients in Fukui Prefecture, Japan.

There are many varieties of gastroenteritis viruses, of which norovirus (NoV) accounts for over 90% of the viral food poisoning incidents in Japan. However, protocols for rapidly identifying other gastroenteritis viruses need to be established to investigate NoV-negative cases intensively. In this study, a multiplex real-time PCR assay targeting rotavirus A, rotavirus C, sapovirus, astrovirus, adenovirus, and enterovirus was developed using stool samples collected from gastroenteritis patients between 2010 and 2013 in Fukui Prefecture, Japan. Of the 126 samples collected sporadically from pediatric patients with suspected infectious gastroenteritis, 51 were positive for non-NoV target viruses, whereas 27 were positive for NoV, showing a high prevalence of non-NoV viruses in pediatric patients. In contrast, testing in 382 samples of 58 gastroenteritis outbreaks showed that non-NoV viruses were detected in 13 samples, with NoV in 267. Of the 267 NoV-positive patients, only two were co-infected with non-NoV target viruses, suggesting that testing for non-NoV gastroenteritis viruses in NoV-positive samples was mostly unnecessary in outbreak investigations. Given these results, multiplex real-time PCR testing for non-NoV gastroenteritis viruses, conducted separately from NoV testing, may be helpful to deal with two types of epidemiological investigations, regular surveillance of infectious gastroenteritis and urgent testing when gastroenteritis outbreaks occur.

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