Noroviruses are, after rotaviruses, the second most common causative agents of acute gastroenteritis in young children. We studied norovirus genotypes in faecal specimens collected from Finnish children followed-up prospectively in rotavirus vaccine trials. Almost 5000 faecal specimens collected from cases of acute gastroenteritis were examined using reverse transcriptase–PCR. A total of 1172 cases (25% of all acute gastroenteritis) were associated with noroviruses. Of these, 96% were genogroup GII. GII.4 was the most common genotype (46%) throughout the study period but the proportion of this genotype varied in different norovirus epidemic seasons. Additional norovirus genotypes detected were: GII.7 (15%), GII.3 (14%), GII.1 (9%), GII.b (7%), GII.2 (3%), and GI.3 (2%). GII.4 dominated during the following years: 1998–1999 (75%), 2002–2003 (88%) and 2006–2007 (98%) while recombinant genotype GII.b was dominant between 2003 and 2004 (83%). In conclusion, genotypes GII.4 and GIIb have emerged as predominant norovirus genotypes in endemic gastroenteritis affecting young infants and children in Finland.
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