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J Med Virol. 1999 Dec;59(4):520-6.

Epidemiological features of rotavirus infection in Caracas, Venezuela: implications for rotavirus immunization programs.

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1
Sección de Investigación de Enfermedades Entéricas, Instituto de Biomedicina/UCV/MSAS, Fuvesin, Caracas, Venezuela. iperez@reacciun.ve

Abstract

The epidemiological features of rotavirus infection may be quite relevant for evaluation of the performance of a rotavirus vaccine in different settings, as well as for monitoring its impact during vaccination under routine conditions. This article describes some important issues regarding rotavirus epidemiology in Venezuela, where major field trials of rotavirus vaccine have been carried out. Rotaviruses was significantly more frequently observed in inpatient (43%) than in outpatient (21%) consultations for diarrhea in infants and young children. There was a high prevalence of rotavirus illness, regardless of socioeconomic conditions, but the risk of dehydration was greater among the lower socioeconomic groups. Rotavirus disease occurs year-round, with a slight seasonal pattern. Eighty-five percent of rotavirus-positive diarrheal episodes, as well as 86% of cases of dehydration due to rotavirus, occurred during the first year of life. However, rotavirus illnesses occur less commonly during the first months of life (0-2 months), which may be a result of protection by transplacental antibodies. The pattern of acquisition of rotavirus antibody was consistent with this age distribution of disease and with optimal age for vaccination. Thus, regional epidemiological characteristics of rotavirus infection may affect optimal performance of rotavirus vaccine.

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