Molecular depiction of the gastrointestinal eukaryotic virome in elderly people


eMediNexus    14 December 2022

Acute gastroenteritis remains among the prominent causes of mortality and morbidity globally, affecting mainly children, the immunocompromised, and elderly people. Enteric viruses, especially rotavirus A, are important etiological agents, while long-term care facilities make favorable environments for the occurrence of sporadic cases and outbreaks of acute gastroenteritis. Thus, it is crucial to monitor the viral agents present in nursing homes, particularly because studies on the elderly population are scarce, causing a lack of available virological data. The causative agent remains unidentified in many reported acute gastroenteritis cases. However, the beginning of next-generation sequencing furnishes new opportunities for viral detection and discovery. The present study identified the viruses that circulate among elderly people with and without acute gastroenteritis residing in residential care homes in Belém, Pará, Brazil, between 2017 and 2019. The study collected Ninety-three samples and screened them by immunochromatography and qPCR. Then subjected them to next-generation sequencing to identify the virus circulating in this population. 


  • In 26 sequenced samples, it identified members of 13 eukaryotic virus families. 
  • Parvoviridae, Genomoviridae, and Smacoviridae were the most abundantly present virus families.
  • It detected Contigs displaying similarity to pegiviruses. 
  • It obtained a near-complete rotavirus A genome which could be classified as G3P[8] genotype with the equine DS-1-like genetic background. 
  • It detected complete sequences of the VP4 and VP7 genes of rotavirus C, belonging to G4P[2]. 


This study illustrates the first characterization of the gastrointestinal virome in the elderly. It found a diversity of viruses in patients with and without Diarrhea, supporting the necessity to monitor elderly people in long-term care facilities, especially in cases of acute gastroenteritis.


Portal TM, Vanmechelen B, Espen LV, et al. Molecular characterization of the gastrointestinal eukaryotic virome in elderly people in Belem, Para, Brazil. Infection, Genetics, and Evolution. 2022;99. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meegid.2022.105241.

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