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Nationwide surveillance study of human astrovirus infections in an Italian paediatric population

  • S. DE GRAZIA (a1), V. MARTELLA (a2), M. CHIRONNA (a3), F. BONURA (a1), F. TUMMOLO (a4), A. CALDERARO (a4), P. MOSCHIDOU (a2), G. M. GIAMMANCO (a1) and M. C. MEDICI (a4)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 17 May 2012

The study investigated the genetic diversity of human astroviruses (HAstVs) detected in children hospitalized with gastroenteritis in Italy in 2008–2009. A total of 1321 faecal samples were collected in Parma (northern Italy), Bari (southern Italy), and Palermo (Sicily) and screened for the presence of HAstVs. RT–PCR amplification of a portion at the 5′-end of ORF2 allowed the detection of HAstVs in 3·95% of the patients. Four different genotypes (HAstV-1, HAstV-2, HAstV-4, HAstV-5) were found to be circulating during the study period, with HAstV-1 being the predominant type. Interestingly, a novel lineage, proposed as HAstV-2d, was found to have emerged in Parma in 2009. Investigating the genetic variability of HAstVs will be important for understanding the epidemiological trends and evolution of these viruses.

Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence: Dr S. De Grazia, Dipartimento di Scienze per la Promozione della Salute ‘G. D'Alessandro’, Università di Palermo, via del Vespro 133, 90127 Palermo, Italy. (Email:
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