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Rev Med Virol. 2005 Jan-Feb;15(1):29-56.

Global distribution of rotavirus serotypes/genotypes and its implication for the development and implementation of an effective rotavirus vaccine.

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Departamento de Virologia, Instituto de Microbiologia, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, 21.941-590, Brazil.


A safe and effective rotavirus vaccine is urgently needed, particularly in developing countries. Critical to vaccine development and implementation is a knowledge base concerning the epidemiology of rotavirus G and P serotypes/genotypes throughout the world. The temporal and geographical distribution of human rotavirus G and P types was reviewed by analysing a total of 45571 strains collected globally from 124 studies reported from 52 countries on five continents published between 1989 and 2004. Four common G types (G1, G2, G3 and G4) in conjunction with P[8] or P[4] represented over 88% of the strains analysed worldwide. In addition, serotype G9 viruses associated with P[8] or P[6] were shown to have emerged as the fourth globally important G type with the relative frequency of 4.1%. When the global G and/or P type distributions were divided into five continents/subcontinents, several characteristic features emerged. For example, the P[8]G1 represented over 70% of rotavirus infections in North America, Europe and Australia, but only about 30% of the infections in South America and Asia, and 23% in Africa. In addition, in Africa (i) the relative frequency of G8 was as high as that of the globally common G3 or G4, (ii) P[6] represented almost one-third of all P types identified and (iii) 27% of the infections were associated with rotavirus strains bearing unusual combinations such as P[6]G8 or P[4]G8. Furthermore, in South America, uncommon G5 virus appeared to increase its epidemiological importance among children with diarrhea. Such findings have (i) confirmed the importance of continued active rotavirus strain surveillance in a variety of geographical settings and (ii) provided important considerations for the development and implementation of an effective rotavirus vaccine (e.g. a geographical P-G type adjustment in the formulation of next generation multivalent vaccines).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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