The prevalence of picobirnaviruses (PBVs) in human stools was investigated by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) analysis of 832 fecal specimens collected between 1982 and 1993 from patients in various clinical groups. Similar prevalences (9–13%) were detected in patients with or without gastroenteritis and throughout the age range of 3 to >65 years. Two methods for the extraction of nucleic acid, a phenol/ chloroform method and a guanidinium thiocynate (GTC)/silica method, were compared. Detection of PBVs by PAGE was three times more sensitive following RNA extraction by the GTC/ silica method. Characterisation of three strains was carried out. Segment sizes ranged from 1.625 to 1.95 kilo base pairs (Kbp) and 2.2 to 2.5 Kbp for the fast and slow migrating bands, respectively. The nuclic acid was shown to be double‐stranded RNA (dsRNA) by nuclease digestion. PBV‐like particles were detected by electron microscopy in two PAGE‐positive stools. Virion diameters ranged from 35 to 41 nm and a buoyant density of 1.38–1.4 g/ml in cesium chloride (CsCl) was demonstrated. These findings suggest that PBVs are widespread in humans in the United Kingdom. However, no disease association could be demonstrated. © 1995 Wiley Liss, inc.
- human stool