Epidemiology and potential methods for prevention of neonatal intestinal viral infections

Robert H. Yolken, Yvonne Maldonado, Janet Kinney, Steve Vonderfecht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Viral infections of the gastrointestinal tract remain a major problem during the neonatal period. In addition to causing acute diarrhea, rotaviruses and other enteric viruses may be involved in the pathogenesis of necrotizing enterocolitis and other neonatal enteric diseases. There are several potential methods for the prevention and treatment of gastrointestinal viral infections. Antiviral immunoglobulins might be used to inhibit intestinal viral replication. Since only small concentrations of serum immunoglobulins are present at mucosal surfaces, oral administration of immunoglobulins might be utilized to maximize antiviral efficacy. Alternatively, inhibitors of specific glycoproteins of virus-cell binding might be used to prevent the productive infection of intestinal epithelial cells. In addition, since many enteric viruses require proteolytic enzymes for protein cleavage, protease inhibitors may prove effective for inhibition of intestinal viral replication. At this time, these methods have proven useful for the inhibition of rotavirus infection in experimental animals. The successful application of these and other methods for the prevention of enteric infections in humans might substantially reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with enteric diseases in high-risk neonates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S421-S427
JournalReviews of infectious diseases
StatePublished - May 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


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