Journal of
Public Health and Epidemiology

  • Abbreviation: J. Public Health Epidemiol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2316
  • DOI: 10.5897/JPHE
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 569

Full Length Research Paper

Epidemiology of astrovirus infection in young children hospitalized with gastroenteritis in Iran, over a period of seven years, using reverse Transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)

Saied Maham1, Neda Marhamati2, Fatemeh Fallah1, Raheleh Sadat Sajadi Nia3 and Fatemeh Atashrazm1*
1Pediatric Infection Research Center, Shahid Beheshti Uni University of Medical Sciences, Mofid Children’s Hospital, Tehran, Iran. 2Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Mofid Children`s Hospital, Tehran, Iran. 3Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 19 November 2012
  •  Published: 31 January 2013


Human astroviruses have been increasingly identified as important agents of diarrheal disease in children. Outbreaks of diarrhea due to astrovirus have frequently been reported and astroviruses have also been associated with nosocomial infections in hospitals. A 7-year study involving 2,490 gastroenteritis samples was conducted to determine the prevalence and age distribution of human astrovirus infection as well as the seasonality pattern in 5 different cities of Iran using reverse Transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Astrovirus was detected in 40 of 2490 specimens tested by RT-PCR, and astrovirus infection was confirmed by Southern hybridization. Detection rates were higher in winter, although astrovirus infections also occurred in summer months. The overall incidence of astrovirus was found to be 1.6%. The mean age of infected children was 14.7 months, and the median age was 15 months. Majority of the infected children were less than 2 years of age making up 36 (90%) infected children, only 4 cases of infected children were more than 2 years of age (10%). The difference between the two age groups was statistically significant (P < 0.02). Our findings provide evidence that astrovirus can be a leading cause of viral gastroenteritis infections and highlight the need to implement astrovirus detection assays in association with rapid rotavirus and adenovirus detection enzyme immunoassays (EIAs) for the clinical diagnosis and nosocomial prevention of viralgastroenteritis infections in pediatric departments.


Key words: Astrovirus, reverse Transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), gastroenteritis, pediatric, prevalence.