SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1991

Evaluation of Rotavirus Test Kits for Possible Use with Environmental Samples


Rotavirus is recognized as the major causative agent of viral gastroenteritis in young children. In the early 1970's, rotavirus particles infecting infants were first detected using electron microscopy (EM). Since then, the development of rotavirus detection methods that do not require an electron microscope has been the aim of many clinical and environmental research studies. Although some human rotaviruses have been successfully grown in various mammalian cell cultures, this has required special manipulations that make the process a complicated and time consuming effort. Other techniques such as immunofluorescence, nucleic acid hybridization, and electropherotyping have also been used for rotavirus detection. However, implementation of these techniques can require special expertise that may not be available to the routine clinical or environmental laboratory. Fortunately, a number of simplified rotavirus test kits are commercially available. These test kits come in two types: enzyme-1inkedimmunoassay (ELISA) and latex agglutination, both designed to test stool samples for rotavirus in the clinical laboratory. We have examined eight different kits for their effectiveness in testing environmental samples for rotaviruses. The sensitivity of the rotavirus test kits varied with the ELISA assay type exhibiting lower virus detectable levels than the latex agglutination type. Comparative testing with the SA-11 simian and Wa human rotavirus strains showed the sensitivity patterns of the kits remaining constant for both strains. The human strain was detected at a two-logs greater sensitivity than the simian strain. The most sensitive of the rotavirus kits detected the human strain at the limits of 102 PFU/mL based on a visual rating and at 101 using a spectrophotometric analytical procedure. No interference was observed in the kit's detection capability when applied in conjunction with procedures used for monitoring for viruses in water.

Author Information

Dahling, DR
Wright, BA
Williams, FP
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Developed by Committee: D19
Pages: 524–535
DOI: 10.1520/STP17621S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5163-5
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1407-4