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      Detection of human coronaviruses in simultaneously collected stool samples and nasopharyngeal swabs from hospitalized children with acute gastroenteritis


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          Human coronaviruses (HCoVs) are a well-known cause of respiratory infections but their role in gastrointestinal infections is unclear. The objective of our study was to assess the significance of HCoVs in the etiology of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) in children <6 years of age.


          Stool samples and nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs collected from 260 children hospitalized for AGE (160 also had respiratory symptoms) and 157 otherwise healthy control children admitted for elective surgery were tested for the presence of four HCoVs using real time RT-PCR. Registered at ClinicalTrials.gov (reg. NCT00987519).


          HCoVs were more frequent in patients with AGE than in controls (23/260, 8.8% versus 4/151, 2.6%; odds ratio, OR 3.3; 95% confidence interval, CI 1.3–10.0; P = 0.01). Three of four HCoV-positive members in the control group, asymptomatic when sampled, recalled gastrointestinal or respiratory symptoms within the previous 14 days. In patients with AGE, HCoVs were present in NP samples more often than in stools (22/256, 8.6%, versus 6/260, 2.3%; P = 0.0004). In 5/6 children with HCoVs detected in stools, the viruses were also detected in NP swabs. Patients had a significantly higher probability of HCoV detection in stool (OR 4; 95% CI 1.4–15.3; P = 0.006) and also in stool and/or NP (OR 3.3, 95% CI 1.3–10.0; P = 0.01) than healthy controls. All four HCoVs species were detected in stool and NP samples.


          Although HCoVs were more frequently detected in patients with AGE than in the control group, high prevalence of HCoVs in NP swabs compounded by their low occurrence in stool samples and detection of other viruses in stool samples, indicate that HCoVs probably play only a minor role in causing gastrointestinal illness in children <6 years old.

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          Identification of a Novel Coronavirus in Patients with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome

          The severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) has recently been identified as a new clinical entity. SARS is thought to be caused by an unknown infectious agent. Clinical specimens from patients with SARS were searched for unknown viruses with the use of cell cultures and molecular techniques. A novel coronavirus was identified in patients with SARS. The virus was isolated in cell culture, and a sequence 300 nucleotides in length was obtained by a polymerase-chain-reaction (PCR)-based random-amplification procedure. Genetic characterization indicated that the virus is only distantly related to known coronaviruses (identical in 50 to 60 percent of the nucleotide sequence). On the basis of the obtained sequence, conventional and real-time PCR assays for specific and sensitive detection of the novel virus were established. Virus was detected in a variety of clinical specimens from patients with SARS but not in controls. High concentrations of viral RNA of up to 100 million molecules per milliliter were found in sputum. Viral RNA was also detected at extremely low concentrations in plasma during the acute phase and in feces during the late convalescent phase. Infected patients showed seroconversion on the Vero cells in which the virus was isolated. The novel coronavirus might have a role in causing SARS. Copyright 2003 Massachusetts Medical Society
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            Coronavirus as a possible cause of severe acute respiratory syndrome.

            An outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) has been reported in Hong Kong. We investigated the viral cause and clinical presentation among 50 patients. We analysed case notes and microbiological findings for 50 patients with SARS, representing more than five separate epidemiologically linked transmission clusters. We defined the clinical presentation and risk factors associated with severe disease and investigated the causal agents by chest radiography and laboratory testing of nasopharyngeal aspirates and sera samples. We compared the laboratory findings with those submitted for microbiological investigation of other diseases from patients whose identity was masked. Patients' age ranged from 23 to 74 years. Fever, chills, myalgia, and cough were the most frequent complaints. When compared with chest radiographic changes, respiratory symptoms and auscultatory findings were disproportionally mild. Patients who were household contacts of other infected people and had older age, lymphopenia, and liver dysfunction were associated with severe disease. A virus belonging to the family Coronaviridae was isolated from two patients. By use of serological and reverse-transcriptase PCR specific for this virus, 45 of 50 patients with SARS, but no controls, had evidence of infection with this virus. A coronavirus was isolated from patients with SARS that might be the primary agent associated with this disease. Serological and molecular tests specific for the virus permitted a definitive laboratory diagnosis to be made and allowed further investigation to define whether other cofactors play a part in disease progression.
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              Enteric involvement of severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus infection 1

              Background & Aims: Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a recently emerged infection from a novel coronavirus (CoV). Apart from fever and respiratory complications, gastrointestinal symptoms are frequently observed in patients with SARS but the significance remains undetermined. Herein, we describe the clinical, pathologic, and virologic features of the intestinal involvement of this new viral infection. Methods: A retrospective analysis of the gastrointestinal symptoms and other clinical parameters of the first 138 patients with confirmed SARS admitted for a major outbreak in Hong Kong in March 2003 was performed. Intestinal specimens were obtained by colonoscopy or postmortem examination to detect the presence of coronavirus by electron microscopy, virus culture, and reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction. Results: Among these 138 patients with SARS, 28 (20.3%) presented with watery diarrhea and up to 38.4% of patients had symptoms of diarrhea during the course of illness. Diarrhea was more frequently observed during the first week of illness. The mean number of days with diarrhea was 3.7 ± 2.7, and most diarrhea was self-limiting. Intestinal biopsy specimens obtained by colonoscopy or autopsy showed minimal architectural disruption but the presence of active viral replication within both the small and large intestine. Coronavirus was also isolated by culture from these specimens, and SARS-CoV RNA can be detected in the stool of patients for more than 10 weeks after symptom onset. Conclusions: Diarrhea is a common presenting symptom of SARS. The intestinal tropism of the SARS-CoV has major implications on clinical presentation and viral transmission.

                Author and article information

                Virol J
                Virol. J
                Virology Journal
                BioMed Central
                5 February 2013
                : 10
                : 46
                [1 ]Institute of Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, Zaloška 4, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
                [2 ]Department of Infectious Diseases, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Japljeva 2, 1525 Ljubljana, Slovenia
                [3 ]Department of Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Bohoričeva 20, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
                [4 ]Institute of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics, Faculty of Medicine, Vrazov trg 2, 1104 Ljubljana, Slovenia
                Copyright ©2013 Jevšnik et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                : 25 July 2012
                : 30 January 2013

                Microbiology & Virology
                human coronavirus,viral gastroenteritis,respiratory infection
                Microbiology & Virology
                human coronavirus, viral gastroenteritis, respiratory infection


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