Two hundred and sixty-four samples of sera obtained from normal healthy persons belonging to different age groups were examined for haemagglutination-inhibiting antibodies against reovirus types 1–3 to assess the prevalence of reovirus infection in the northern part of India.
Reovirus infection appeared as early as 6 months to 1 year of age. With reovirus types 1 and 2, the maximum incidence of 67 and 48% respectively occurred by the age of 10–20 years, whereas with type 3 infection the maximum incidence (73%) was reached by the age of 25 years. The incidence of reovirus type 2 infection in all the age groups was remarkably low in this series. A drop in the incidence of reovirus type 2 infection was also noticed after the age of 20 years.
The difference in geometric mean titre of antibody in different ages against reovirus type 2 was highly significant, suggesting probably that most of the infection occurred by the age of twenty years. The difference in the geometric mean value of the titres of antibody against types 1 and 3 was not significant in different age groups. The levels of antibody against types 1 and 3 in all the age groups were almost the same, suggesting that infection, specially with reovirus type 3, was occurring in all the age groups even beyond 20 years of age.
The authors wish to express their sincerest thanks to Dr Leon Rosen, Pacific Research Section, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Honolulu, Hawaii, for the supply of prototype strains of reoviruses, to Drs B. K. Aikat, Director Professor of Pathology, R. N. Chakravarti, Department of Experimental Medicine, O. N. Bhakoo, and Sucheta Thukral, Department of Paediatrics, Post- Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chadigarh, for their invaluable help and co-operation, to Prof. P. V. K. Iyer, Department of Mathematics, Panjab University, and to Mr H. D. Gupta, Biostatistician, Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chadigarh for their statistical analysis of the results.
The authors gratefully acknowledge the helpful criticism and suggestion of Dr C G. Pandit, Ex-Director, Indian Council of Medical Research, during the preparation of the paper.
The authors acknowledge also the technical assistance of Mr Jagmohan Lai Pipat, Mr Gurmeet Singh Khatra, and Mr Amar Singh Saini.
This work was partly supported by the Research Grant of the Indian Council of Medical Research sanctioned to one of the authors (S. R. P.).