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Emerging GII.4 norovirus variants affect children with diarrhea in Palermo, Italy in 2006

  • Autori: Ramirez, S.; Giammanco, G.; DE GRAZIA, S.; Colomba, C.; Martella, V.; Arista, S.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2009
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • Parole Chiave: Norovirus; GII.4 genotype; gastroenteritis; children; Italy
  • OA Link:


Although the genetic/antigenic heterogeneity of human noroviruses (NoVs) is impressive, a few genogroup II strains of genotype 4 (GII.4) are dominant worldwide. GII.4 NoVs evolve rapidly and in the last 15 years six epidemic variants have been identified. In 2005–2006, surveillance of sporadic viral gastroenteritis in children in Palermo, Italy, resulted in the detection of NoV strains in 20.9% of the patients admitted to hospital. By restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and sequence analysis of region A in the RNA-dependent RNA-polymerase (RdRp) gene, 59 NoV strains were successfully characterized. Eighty-one percent of the strains were characterized as GII.4, 14% as GIIb/Hilversum and 5% as GI.1. Phylogenetic analysis of region A and of the ORF1/ORF2 overlapping region of the GII.4 strains recovered in Palermo in the years 2002–2006 revealed the sequential emergence of four variants, GII.4 2002, 2004, 2006a, and 2006b. The variant GII.4 2006a was detected in June and July, 2006, while the variant 2006b first appeared in August, 2006, becoming predominant thereafter. Based on these findings, the dynamics of replacement and circulation of the GII.4 NoV variants in Italy in 2005–2006 appear to have matched the temporal pattern observed in Europe during the same period.