Last updated on: 21.02.2021

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Reoviridae; Rotavirus

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Reoviridae is a genus of non-enveloped (naked) virus particles (diameter 70-80nm) equipped with a complex structure. The virions are three-layered (outer and inner isocahedral capsid and core shell). The core shell contains the viral genome (ds(+/-)RNA, 18-19Kb) consisting of 11 discrete segments of double-stranded RNA. This segmentation can lead to new rotavirus variants in double infections via segment exchange (reassortment).

Within the reovirus family, several subfamilies, genera, and species exist. The most important pathogenic viruses include:

  • In the subfamily Sedoreovirinae, the genus Rotavirus with the species Rotavirus (A to C).
  • In the subfamily Spinareovirans and the genus Coltvirus, the species Colorado tick fever virus.

Rotaviruses are the most common causative agents of hospitalization-associated gastroenteritis in children <5 years of age.

Rotaviruses absorb at cellular structures (receptors) that carry neuraminic acid residues. Upon entry is the cytoplasm of the host cell, the outer protein envelope of the virus is stripped off. The remainder of the particle is retained and maintains a connection between the virus interior and the environment via numerous pores in the two remaining envelopes.

General information
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A distinction is made between 7 serogroups (A-G). Group A rotaviruses have the greatest epidemiological importance worldwide. The antigenicity of the virus is determined by two proteins (VP4 and VP7) of the virus envelope. These envelope proteins also define the classification of the viruses according to the different serotypes (genotypes). A distinction is made between 16 VP7 types ("G-") and 27 VP4 types ("P-"). The largest proportion of rotavirus diseases in Germany is caused by rotaviruses of the types G1P and G4P, followed by G2P and G9P. Rotaviruses are extremely resistant to environmental influences.

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  1. Crawford SE et al (2017) Rotavirus infection. Nat Rev Dis Primers 3:17083.
  2. Gervasi G et al (2016) Nosocomial rotavirus infection: An up to date evaluation of European studies. Hum Vaccine Immunother. 12:2413-2418.
  3. Schnitzler P et al (2019) Rotavirus. In: Hof H, Schlüter D, Dörries R, Ed. Duale Reihe Medizinische Mikrobiologie. 7th, completely revised and extended edition. Stuttgart: Thieme p. 246-247
  4. Velázquez FR et al (1996) Rotavirus infection in infants as protection against subsequent infections. N Engl J Med 335:1022-1028.

Last updated on: 21.02.2021