Oral inoculation of newborn mice with the MET strain of human rotavirus produced transient diarrhoeal disease. Light and scanning electron microscopy showed typical rotavirus-induced morphological lesions in the villous epithelium of the small intestine consisting of extensive cytoplasmic vacuolation, villous necrosis and atrophy. Virus recovered from intestinal suspensions of infected mice showed the typical electrophoretic profile of the genome of the inoculated strain. Rotavirus antibody appeared in infected mice 10 to 20 days after inoculation but not in controls or nursing dams. The availability of a small animal model for experimental infection with human rotaviruses should prove useful for virulence and protection studies.


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