Background: Norovirus is a common acute gastroenteritis (AGE) pathogen across all age groups worldwide, which is difficult to differentiate from other pathogens. This study aimed to understand the clinical characteristics and risk factors of norovirus gastroenteritis among children in Taiwan. Methods: A prospective AGE surveillance study was conducted in children aged ≤5 years who were hospitalized in 10 major hospitals in Taiwan between 2014 and 2017. The non-AGE control group included healthy children who were matched based on age, gender, season, and geographic area. Results: Overall, 674 norovirus gastroenteritis patients were enrolled. Fever (p < 0.001), mucoid stool (p < 0.001), and bloody stool (p < 0.001) occurred less frequently among norovirus gastroenteritis patients. Norovirus gastroenteritis patients yielded lower CRP values on admission (21.78 ± 36.81 vs. 46.26 ± 58.12 mg/L, p < 0.001) than non-norovirus controls. Norovirus gastroenteritis patients were associated with higher direct contact rates with AGE patients within 1 week (30.5% vs. 0.97%, p < 0.001), lower hand wash rates before meals (21.6% vs. 15.4%, p = 0.001), lower human milk (15.8% vs. 19.8%, p = 0.045) and guava consumption rates (17.8% vs. 24.3%, p = 0.002) than non-AGE participants. Conclusions: Body temperature, stool characteristics, and CRP value can help distinguish the norovirus from other pathogens. The major risk factor of norovirus AGE is contact with AGE patient. Higher frequency of hand wash, human milk, and guava intake may be protective against norovirus gastroenteritis.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Microbiology (medical)
- Infectious Diseases