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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 468304, 8 pages
Research Article

Molecular Epidemiology of Human Norovirus in Korea in 2013

Department of Laboratory Medicine, Hallym University College of Medicine, 7 Keunjaebong-gil, Hwaseong-si, Gyeonggi-do 445-170, Republic of Korea

Received 23 June 2015; Revised 21 August 2015; Accepted 24 August 2015

Academic Editor: Fumio Imazeki

Copyright © 2015 Jae-Seok Kim et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Norovirus is a major cause of acute gastroenteritis. The molecular epidemiology of norovirus exhibits temporal and geographical fluctuations, and new variants of the GII.4 genotype emerge every 2-3 years to cause global epidemics of acute gastroenteritis. We investigated GI and GII genotypes of human norovirus strains isolated from patients with acute gastroenteritis in Korea in 2013. Norovirus antigen test was performed on 2,980 fecal specimens from January to December 2013. RNA was extracted from norovirus antigen-positive fecal suspensions, and the norovirus capsid (VP1) and polymerase (RdRp) genes were characterized by RT-PCR and sequencing. Of the 230 genotyped strains, GII.4 (77.3%) was the most frequently observed capsid genotype, followed by GII.3 (6.1%) and GII.13 (3.9%). A norovirus GII.4 variant, GII.Pe/GII.4 Sydney 2012, was the most frequently found polymerase/capsid genotype (65.7%), followed by GII.P17/GII.17 (2.1%) and GII.P21/GII.3 (2.1%). Phylogenetic, similarity, and capsid epitope analyses of GII.Pe/GII.4 Sydney 2012 strains were performed. We concluded that the norovirus GII.4 variant, GII.Pe/GII.4 Sydney 2012, was the main cause of norovirus-related gastroenteritis in Korea in 2013.