Rotaviruses belonging to the Reoviridae family, are the most common causative agents of severe diarrhoea in infants and young children. Rotaviruses are easily spread by hand-to-mouth contact with stool from an infected person.Although most children with rotavirus diarrhoea recover on their own, in same cases they become very ill with severe vomiting, diarrhoea and life-threatening loss of fluids that requires hospitalization. In this context, the availability of effective laboratory diagnostic methods is important to assure a correct and rapid identification of these agents and to control viral spread. In this study 58 stool samples were analyzed by traditional virological methods used in diagnostic routine, such as electron microscopy (ME), a commercial assay based on latex agglutination for rotavirus proteins and the analysis of the electropherotype of rotavirus RNA segments (used only for those samples with a negative agglutination test). An additional method, the immunochromatographic assay RIDA ®QUICK Rotavirus (R-Biopharm) for the research of virus-specific proteins, was applied retrospectively on the same samples stored at -80°C. Among the 58 stool samples included in this study, 46/58 (79.3%) were identified as reovirus-like by ME; 41/58 (70.6%) of them resulted positive for rotavirus by the latex agglutination test.The 5 samples negative by the latter method were tested for the electropherotype analysis, that demonstrated the positivity for rotavirus genome segments.The immunochromatographic assay RIDA ®QUICK Rotavirus identified as positive all the 46 samples (yet found as reovirus-like by EM), including those positive by the agglutination method, as well as those resulted positive with the electropherotype analysis. Taken together, these data support the effectiveness of the immunochromatographic test RIDA ®QUICK Rotavirus, that is not only a cheap and simple-to-use method, allowing an easy interpretation of results, but also showed a sensitivity possibly comparable to the molecular technique.
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