Epidemiology of Astrovirus Infection in Zaria, Nigeria
de Beer, M.C.
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Astrovirus has been shown to be an important aetiological agent associated with gastroenteritis in children, although few studies have been conducted in Africa. In this study, stool specimens were obtained from 375 young children less than 5 years of age with acute gastroenteritis presenting at Ahmadu Bello University Hospital, and from a control group of 122 children without diarrhoeal illness. The specimens were examined for the presence of human astroviruses using a monoclonal antibody-based ELISA (Astrovirus IDEIATM, Dako, UK). Negative staining electron microscopy was performed on specimens to confirm the presence of astrovirus particles. Astrovirus was detected in 6.7 per cent (25/375) of the diarrhoeal stools compared to 5.7 per cent (7/122) of the control specimens. Astrovirus seemed to infect older children and more than half the children were between 1 and 4 years of age (15/25). Only four children were less than 6 months old. A winter peak of shedding was observed.
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