Viral Agents Associated with Neonatal Diarrhoea and their Detection by Electron Microscopy

  • M. S. McNulty
  • W. L. Curran
  • J. B. McFerran
Part of the Current Topics in Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science book series (CTVM, volume 13)


Simple techniques for diagnosis of enteric viral infections by direct electron microscopy of faeces are described. For best results, some degree of purification and/or concentration of faecal material is necessary. This can be adequately achieved by differential centrifugation. A number of viruses have been observed in the faeces of the domestic animal species and man. These include rotaviruses, coronaviruses, astroviruses, caliciviruses, adenoviruses, parvoviruses and enterovirus-like particles. Mixed infections with combinations of these viruses are extremely common. Caution should be exercised in interpretation of results. Detection of one of the above viruses in the faeces of an animal with diarrhoea does not necessarily indicate etiological significance.


Mixed Infection Infectious Bronchitis Virus Enteric Virus Viral Enteritis Immune Electron Microscopy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Appel, M.J.G., Cooper, B.J., Griesen, H. and Carmichael, L.E., 1978. Status report: canine viral enteritis. JAVMA, 173: 1516–1518.Google Scholar
  2. Bass, E.P. and Sharpee, R.L., 1975. Coronavirus and gastroenteritis in foals. Lancet, ii: 822.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bohl, E.H., 1979. Diagnosis of diarrhoea in pigs due to transmissable gastroenteritis virus or rotavirus. In: F. Bricout and R. Scherrer (Editors), Viral Enteritis in Humans and Annuals. INSERM, Paris, pp. 341–343.Google Scholar
  4. Caul, E.O., Paver, W.K. and Clarke, S.K.R., 1975. Coronavirus particles in faeces from patients with gastroenteritis. Lancet, i: 1192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Caul, E.O. and Egglestone, S.I., 1979. Coronavirus-like particles present in simian faeces. Vet. Rec., 104: 168–169.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chasey, D. and Cartwright, S.F., 1978. Virus-like particles associated with porcine epidemic diarrhoea. Res. Vet. Sci., 25: 255–256.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Eugster, A.K. and Nairn, C., 1977. Diarrhoea in puppies: parvovirus-like particles demonstrated in their faeces. Southwest Vet., 30: 59–60.Google Scholar
  8. Eugster, A.K. and Sidwa, T., 1979. Rotaviruses in diarrhoeic faeces of a dog. Vet. Med. Sm. An. Clin., 74: 817–819.Google Scholar
  9. Flewett, T.H., Bryden, A.S. and Davies, H., 1973. Virus particles in gastroenteritis. Lancet, ii: 1497.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Flewett, T.H., Bryden, A.S. and Davies, H., 1975. Virus diarrhoea in foals and other animals. Vet. Rec., 96: 477.Google Scholar
  11. Flewett, T.H., Bryden, A.S., Davies, H. and Morris, C.A., 1975. Epidemic virus enteritis in a long-stay children’s ward. Lancet, i: 4–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Flewett, T.H., 1978. Electron microscopy in the diagnosis of infectious diarrhoea. JAVMA, 173: 538–543.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Holmes, I.H., 1979. Viral gastroenteritis. In: J.L. Melnick (Editor), Progress in Medical Virology, 25: 1–36. Karger, Basel.Google Scholar
  14. Hoshino, Y. and Scott, F.W., 1980. Coronavirus-like particles in the faeces of normal cats. Arch. Virol., 63: 147–152.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kapikian, A.Z., Wyatt, R.G., Dolin, R., Thornhill, T.S., Kalica, A.R. and Chanock, R.M., 1972. Visualization by immune electron microscopy of a 27 nm particle associated with acute infectious non-bacterial gastroenteritis. J. Virol., 10: 1075–1081.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Madeley, C.R. and Cosgrove, B.P., 1975. Viruses in infantile gastroenteritis. Lancet, ii: 124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Madeley, C.R. and Cosgrove, B.P., 1976. Caliciviruses in man. Lancet, i: 199–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Madeley, C.R., 1979. Comparison of the features of astroviruses and caliciviruses seen in samples of faeces by electron microscopy. J. infect. Dis., 139: 519–523.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Mathan, M., Mathan, V.I., Swaminathan, S.P., Yesudoss, S. and Baker, S.J., 1975. Pleomorphic virus-like particles in human faeces. Lancet, i: 1068–1069.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. McNulty, M.S., McFerran, J.B., Bryson, D.G., Logan, E.F. and Curran, W.L., 1976. Studies on rotavirus infection and diarrhoea in young calves. Vet. Rec., 99: 229–230.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. McNulty, M.S., Curran, W.L., Todd, D. and McFerran, J.B., 1979a. Detection of viruses in avian faeces by direct electron microscopy. Avian Pathol., 8: 239–247.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. McNulty, M.S., Allan, G.M., Todd, D. and McFerran, J.B., 1979b. Isolation and cell culture propagation of rotaviruses from turkeys and chickens. Arch. Virol., 61: 13–21.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. McNulty, M.S., Curran, W.L. and McFerran, J.B., 1980. Detection of astroviruses in turkey faeces by direct electron microscopy. Vet. Rec., in press.Google Scholar
  24. Mebus, C.A., Underdahl, N.R., Rhodes, M.B. and Twiehaus, M.J., 1969. Calf diarrhoea (scours): reproduced with a virus from a field outbreak. Univ. Neb. agric. exp. Station Res. Bull. No. 233.Google Scholar
  25. Mebus, C.A., Rhodes, M.B. and Underdahl, N.R., 1978. Neonatal calf diarrhoea caused by a virus that induces villous epithelial cell syncitia. Am. J. Vet. Res., 39: 1223–1228.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Middleton, P.J., Szymanski, M.T. and Petric, M., 1977. Viruses associated with acute gastroenteritis in young children. Am. J. Dis. Child., 131: 733–737.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Pensaert, M.B. and de Bouck, P., 1978. A new Coronavirus-like particle associated with diarrhoea in swine. Arch. Virol., 58: 243–247.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ritchie, A.E., Desmukh, D.R., Larsen, C.T. and Pomeroy, B.S., 1973. Electron microscopy of Coronavirus-like particles characteristic of turkey bluecomb disease. Avian Dis., 17: 546–558.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Rodger, S.M., Craven, J.A. and Williams, I., 1975. Demonstration of reovirus-like particles in intestinal contents of piglets with diarrhoea. Aust. Vet. J., 51: 536.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Saif, L.J., Bohl, E.H., Kohler, G.M. and Hughes, J.H., 1977. Immune electron microscopy of transmissable gastroenteritis virus and rotavirus (reovirus-like agent of swine). Am. J. Vet. Res., 38: 13–20.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Schnagl, R.D. and Holmes, I.H., 1978. Coronavirus-like particles in stools from dogs, from some country areas of Australia. Vet. Rec., 102: 528–529.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Snodgrass, D.R., Smith, W., Gray, E.W. and Herring, J.A., 1976. A rotavirus in lambs with diarrhoea. Res. Vet. Sci., 20: 113.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Snodgrass, D.R. and Gray, E.W., 1977. Detection and transmission of 30 nm virus particles (astroviruses) in faeces of lambs with diarrhoea. Arch. Virol., 55: 287–291.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Snodgrass, D.R., Angus, K.W. and Gray, E.W., 1979. A rotavirus from kittens. Vet. Rec., 104: 222–223.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Stair, E.L., Rhodes, M.B., White, R.G. and Mebus, C.A., 1972. Neonatal calf diarrhoea: purification and electron microscopy of a Coronavirus-like agent. Am. J. Vet. Res., 33: 1147–1156.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Storz, J. and Leary, J.J., 1979. Bovine parvoviruses: epidemiology and host-virus relationships. In: F. Bricout and R. Scherrer (Editors), Viral Enteritis in Humans and Animals. INSERM, Paris, pp. 63–80.Google Scholar
  37. Tzipori, S., Smith, M. and Makin, T., 1978. Enteric Coronavirus-like particles in sheep. Aust. Vet. J., 54: 320–321.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Woode, G.N., Bridger, J.C., Jones, J.M., Flewett, T.H., Bryden, A.S., Davies, H.A. and White, G.B.B., 1976. Morphological and antigenic relationships between viruses (rotaviruses) from acute gastroenteritis of children, calves, piglets, mice and foals. Infect. Immun., 14: 804–810.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Woode, G.N. and Bridger, J.C., 1978. Isolation of small viruses resembling astroviruses and caliciviruses from acute enteritis of calves. J. Med. Microbiol., 11: 441–452.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© ECSC, EEC, EAEC, Brussels-Luxembourg 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. S. McNulty
    • 1
  • W. L. Curran
    • 1
  • J. B. McFerran
    • 1
  1. 1.Veterinary Research LaboratoriesBelfastN. Ireland

Personalised recommendations