Human adenovirus (HAdV) is recognized as frequent cause of acute gastroenteritis and enteric viruses can be preserved in frozen stored feces for long periods of times. The purpose of the present study was to investigate enteric HAdV genotypic diversity in archival fecal specimens stored from 1998 to 2005 in order to understand the natural history of HAdV in diarrheal patients in Brazil before rotavirus vaccine introduction. A total of 3346 specimens were tested for HAdV using conventional PCR. Genotypes were identified by sequencing. HAdV was detected in 6.8% (228/3346). Positivity was higher in children ≤ 5 years and males (p < 0.05). HAdV was most frequently observed during winter and spring seasons (p < 0.05). HAdV-F41 was the most prevalent genotype (59.2%;135/228), followed by HAdV-F40 (16.2%;37/228), HAdV-C1 (5.2%;12/228), HAdV-C2 (5.2%;12/228), HAdV-C5 (3.1%;7/228), HAdV-A12 (1.3%;3/228), HAdV-E4 (0.9%;2/228), HAdV-B3 (0.9%;2/228) and HAdV-B21 (0.4%;1/228). In 7.6% (17/228) only species D could be defined. HAdV-E4 strains were phylogenetic analyzed and classified as lineage (a)-like PG II. HAdV prevalence remained stable in Brazilian population, regardless rotavirus vaccine introduction. The predominant HAdV genotypes detected did not change over time, highlighting a high diversity of circulating strains in the country throughout decades. Due to the historical lack of HAdV genotyping surveillance in Brazil, HAdV-E4 epidemiology is virtually unknown in the country. The present study contributed significantly to the understanding of the natural history of HAdV in diarrheal patients in Brazil. The acquired data are important for clinical diagnosis, particularly for studies investigating enteric viruses' prevalence and molecular epidemiology of archival clinical specimens.
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