Characterising the aetiology of severe acute gastroenteritis among patients visiting a hospital in Qatar using real-time polymerase chain reaction.

BMC infectious diseases

PubMedID: 23865805

Al-Thani A, Baris M, Al-Lawati N, Al-Dhahry S. Characterising the aetiology of severe acute gastroenteritis among patients visiting a hospital in Qatar using real-time polymerase chain reaction. BMC Infect Dis. 2013;13(1):329.
BACKGROUND
Acute gastroenteritis (AGE) remains a common cause of clinic visits and hospitalizations, though its aetiology has not been determined in Qatar.

METHODS
We performed a prospective, emergency department-based study of 288 children and adults with AGE. Stool specimens were collected at presentation from June to November 2009. Faecal specimens were tested, using real-time PCR, for a panel of four viral (norovirus, adenovirus, astrovirus and rotavirus) and bacterial pathogens.

RESULTS
Viral and bacterial pathogens were detected in 131 (45.5%) and 34 (12.2%) of the 288 patients recruited. The most commonly detected pathogens were norovirus (28.5%), rotavirus (10.4%), followed by adenovirus (6.25%) and astrovirus (0.30%). Norovirus was the most commonly detected viral pathogen amongst all the age groups with an almost even distribution in all age groups. Rotavirus and adenovirus were more common in children under 5 yr of age. Astrovirus was found in only one person.

CONCLUSIONS
Viruses, especially noroviruses, are associated with severe diarrhoea in children and adults in Qatar. Further studies to confirm the findings and to explore the causes of illness among patients from whom a pathogen cannot be determined are needed.