Human Caliciviruses Are a Significant Pathogen of Acute Sporadic Diarrhea in Children of Santiago, Chile
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Human caliciviruses (HuCVs) are increasingly recognized as common pathogens that cause acute sporadic diarrhea in children; however, regional antigenic and genetic diversity complicate detection techniques. Stool samples from children seeking medical attention in 2 outpatient clinics, a large emergency department, and 2 hospital wards were evaluated for HuCVs by reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction, using primers based on a conserved sequence of the polymerase region of a previously sequenced Chilean strain. HuCVs were detected in 53 (8%) of 684 children 1 month to 5 years of age (mean, 13 months). Detection occurred year-round without a clear seasonal peak, and detection frequency declined from 16% in 1997 to 2% in 1999. The decline may have been due to a change in virus genotype. HuCVs are a significant pathogen of acute sporadic diarrhea in Chilean children, and continuous characterization of genetic diversity will be crucial for appropriate detection.