Background: Infections by previously underdiagnosed viruses astrovirus and sapovirus are poorly characterized compared with norovirus, the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis. Methods: Children <18 years old with acute gastroenteritis were recruited from pediatric emergency departments in Alberta, Canada between 2014 and 2018. We described and compared the clinical course of acute gastroenteritis in children with astrovirus, sapovirus, and norovirus. Results: Astrovirus was detected in 56 of 2688 (2.1%) children, sapovirus was detected in 146 of 2688 (5.4%) children, and norovirus was detected in 486 of 2688 (18.1%) children. At illness onset, ~60% of astrovirus cases experienced both diarrhea and vomiting. Among sapovirus and norovirus cases, 35% experienced diarrhea at onset and 80% of 91% (sapovirus/norovirus) vomited; however, diarrhea became more prevalent than vomiting at approximately day 4 of illness. Over the full course of illness, diarrhea was 18% (95% confidence interval [CI], 8%-29%) more prevalent among children with astrovirus than norovirus infections and had longer duration with greater maximal events; there were a median of 4.0 fewer maximal vomiting events (95% CI, 2.0-5.0). Vomiting continued for a median of 24.8 hours longer (95% CI, 9.6-31.7) among children with sapovirus versus norovirus. Differences between these viruses were otherwise minimal. Conclusions: Sapovirus infections attended in the emergency department are more similar to norovirus than previously reported, whereas astrovirus infections have several distinguishable characteristics.
- Emergency department