The Pathology of Rotavirus-Associated Deaths, Using New Molecular Diagnostics

Maureen Lynch, Wun Ju Shieh, Kathleen Tatti, Jon R. Gentsch, Tara Ferebee-Harris, Baoming Jiang, Jeannette Guarner, Joesph S. Bresee, Margaret Greenwald, Steve Cullen, H. D. Davies, Cynthia Trevenen, Sherif R. Zaki, Roger I. Glass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Rotavirus, the most common cause of severe, dehydrating gastroenteritis among children worldwide, annually causes ∼500,000 deaths among children aged <5 years. The primary site of rotavirus infection is the small intestine. Pathologic investigations of patients who died of rotavirus infection are limited to data from a few reported autopsies, and dehydration with electrolyte imbalance is believed to be the major cause of death. Several recent reports suggest that children who died during a rotavirus illness were viremic before death, because rotavirus was detected at several extraintestinal sites. We report 3 rotavirus-associated deaths among children, 2 of whom had evidence of rotavirus genome in extraintestinal tissues detected by use of novel molecular diagnostic methods. The part played by rotavirus in fatal cases is unclear and requires additional investigation of diarrhea-associated deaths, because a better understanding might alter the approach to treatment and the need for antiviral therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1327-1333
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 15 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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