The article by Middleton and co-workers, entitled "Viruses Associated with Acute Gastroenteritis in Young Children," which appears in this issue of the Journal (see p 733) is of special value to the clinician and epidemiologist because it shows that search for viruses by direct examination of untreated feces gives accurate information on the viral etiology of gastroenteritis. It is clear that laboratories of many medical centers and state and city health departments could readily adopt the methods described by Middleton and his colleagues.
The authors' note that more than 30% of the cases of viral gastroenteritis were contracted in the hospital. This fact should cause pediatricians to reexamine isolation techniques presently in use. The authors suggest that surgical wards may be especially dangerous for the spread of gastroenteritis.
Middleton and colleagues confirm previous reports that indicate that viruses cause more gastroenteritis among infants and young children in countries with a
HODES HL. Viral Gastroenteritis. Am J Dis Child. 1977;131(7):729-731. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1977.02120200011001