Background: There are few reports on the symptoms of rotavirus infections in neonates. This study aims to describe clinical signs of rotavirus infections among neonates, with a particular focus on preterm infants, and to show the distribution of genotypes in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Methods: A prospective observational study was conducted at a regional NICU for 1 year. Stool specimens from every infant in the NICU were collected on admission, at weekly intervals, and from infants showing symptoms. Rotavirus antigens were detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and genotypes were confirmed by Reverse transcription-Polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The infants were divided into three groups: symptomatic preterm infants with and without rotavirus-positive stools [Preterm(rota+) and Preterm(rota-), respectively] and symptomatic full- or near-term infants with rotavirus-positive stools [FT/NT(rota+)]. Demographic and outcome data were compared among these groups. Results: A total of 702 infants were evaluated for rotaviruses and 131 infants were included in this study. The prevalence of rotavirus infections was 25.2%. Preterm(rota+) differed from Preterm(rota-) and FT/NT(rota+) with respect to frequent feeding difficulty (p = 0.047 and 0.034, respectively) and higher percentage of neutropenia (p = 0.008 and 0.011, respectively). G4P was the exclusive strain in both the Preterm(rota+) (97.7%) and FT/NT(rota+) (90.2%), and it was the same for nosocomial, institutional infections, and infections acquired at home. Conclusion: Systemic illness signs such as feeding difficulty and neutropenia are specific for preterm infants with rotavirus infections. G4P was exclusive, regardless of preterm birth or locations of infections. This study might be helpful in developing policies for management and prevention of rotavirus infections in NICUs.
- clinical symptom
- preterm infants