Astroviruses cause infectious diarrhea worldwide, and are primarily found in young children. A recent study by Koopmans et al indicated Astrovirus prevalence at 91% for serotype 1. Another study in 1998 by Maldonado et al implicated Astroviruses in 61% of infants. Clearly, Astroviruses are ubiquitous: in many instances they are second only to Rotavirus as a cause of childhood diarrhea.
With the recent licensing of the Rotashield vaccine, it will be interesting to watch the incidence of Rotavirus infection decline: Astroviruses are likely to become the leading cause of childhood diarrhea. It is fortunate that their clinical manifestati on is generally less severe; however, due to their prevalence Astroviruses would make a good candidate for vaccine development.