We found a human reovirus-like agent in the stools of 42 per cent of 143 infants and young children hospitalized with acute gastroenteritis between January, 1974, and June, 1975. Half the patients studied by electron microscopy and serologic technics had evidence of infection with the agent. The infection had a seasonal pattern: 59 per cent of those admitted during the cooler months (November to April) shed the agent, with a peak of 78 per cent in December, 1974, and January, 1975, combined. None of the patients admitted during the warmer months (May to October) shed the agent. None of 275 Escherichia coli isolates from 32 patients with diarrhea produced heat-labile enterotoxin, whereas 17 of the 32 had evidence of infection with the reovirus-like agent. In addition, 14 of 40 parents of 37 patients with diarrhea associated with the reovirus-like agent were also infected, but most infections were inapparent. This agent appears to be the major cause of diarrheal illness in the young during the cooler months. (N Engl J Med 294:965–972, 1976) A human reovirus-like (HRVL) agent, also designated orbivirus, rotavirus, duovirus, and infantile gastroenteritis virus, has emerged as a major etiologic agent of acute enteritis in studies of hospitalized infants and young children in many parts of the world.123456However, only three studies dealing with the frequency of infection with the HRVL agent have embraced a period as long as one year. In these studies, the agent was the major known etiologic agent of acute enteritis with peak infection occurring in the winter months.789In this report, we present the results of a survey of infants and young children admitted to the.
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