Prevalence and Diversity of Rotavirus Strains in Children with Acute Diarrhea from Rural Communities in the Limpopo Province, South Africa, from 1998 to 2000
Journal of Infectious Diseases
Background. Data regarding the prevalence and molecular epidemiology of rotavirus infection in rural areas of Africa are limited. In this study the prevalence and genetic diversity of rotaviruses in a rural South African setting were investigated. Methods. During June 1998 to June 2000, 420 stool specimens were collected from children with acute diarrhea who visited primary health care clinics in the rural Vhembe region, Limpopo Province, South Africa. Group A rotaviruses were detected by
... e detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and the G and P types were determined by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction. Results. Of the 420 specimens, 111 (26.4%) were positive for group A rotavirus; PG1 strains predominated (32.4%), followed by PG1 (13.5%), PG9 (4.5%), PG8 (3.6%), PG1 (3.6%), PG8 (3.6%), and PG2 (2.7%). Dual infections, with 11 P type, were seen in 33 (37.1%) of the positive specimens. Conclusion. The unusual serotype and genotype combinations of rotavirus circulating in the rural communities of the Limpopo Province highlight the need for more studies to monitor the geographic distribution of rotavirus strains in rural African settings. Since their first description in 1973, numerous studies have confirmed the importance of human rotaviruses (HRVs) in severe dehydrating gastroenteritis in infants and young children, resulting in an estimated 440,000 deaths worldwide      . In sub-Saharan Africa it is estimated that HRVs causes ∼145,000 deaths each year in children !5 years of age  .