Investigation of a Rotavirus Gastroenteritis Outbreak among Immunosuppressed Patients in a Hospital Setting
Rotavirus (RV) is the most common cause of severe dehydrating diarrhoea in healthy infants and young children. The aims of this study were to investigate a RV outbreak in the pediatric hematology and oncology ward and to examine possible associations between immune status and RV infection.
Patients and methods
Twenty-eight children (19 boys and 9 girls) who were hospitalized for treatment of hematological malignancy and solid organ tumor during the RV outbreak were enrolled in this study. Fourteen of the 28 patients developed RV gastroenteritis (GE) during the observation period. RV antigen and RV IgG and IgA were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. RV G and P types were determined by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction.
Mean duration of RVGE in 14 patients was 13.9 days and mean severity score was 7.4. Two RV strains (G3P  and G2P ) were mainly circulating in the ward, which might result in the formation of a reassortant G2P  strain and mixed infection with G2+3P  in the immunocompromised patients. RV antigenemia was detected in 22 of the 28 patients (78.6%). RV-specific IgG titers in acute-phase sera of RVGE group were significantly lower than those in non-RVGE group (P=0.001). Mean age of the patients was significantly lower in RVGE group (5.5±4.6 years) than non RVGE group (10.6±4.5 years) (P=0.015).
Our data demonstrate that host factors including age, underlying diseases, and immune status may be associated with the susceptibility of RV infection in immunocompromised patients at the time of the nosocomial infection.