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J Infect Dis. 2002 Sep 1;186(5):593-7. Epub 2002 Aug 9.

Protective immunity after natural rotavirus infection: a community cohort study of newborn children in Guinea-Bissau, west Africa.

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Projecto de Saude de Bandim and Laboratorio National de Saude Publica, Bissau, Guinea-Bissau.


To study the natural history of rotavirus infection and to determine the protection it confers against reinfection and diarrhea, 200 newborns in Guinea-Bissau were prospectively followed for up to 2 years. Rotavirus was detected in stool specimens collected weekly. By age 2 years, the incidence of primary rotavirus infection was 74%. In the first 3 months of life, 17% of the infections were diarrhea associated, compared with 60% at 9-11 months; after age 18 months, all infections were asymptomatic. A primary infection conferred 52% (95% confidence interval [CI], 16% to 73%) and 70% (95% CI, 29% to 87%) protection against subsequent rotavirus infection and rotavirus diarrhea, respectively. The protection was 66% (95% CI, 24% to 85%) against reinfection within the same epidemic, compared with 34% (95% CI, -29% to 67%) against reinfection in any subsequent epidemic. The high level of protection against symptomatic rotavirus infection provides an important incentive for development of a rotavirus vaccine.

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