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J Infect Dis. 2009 Nov 1;200 Suppl 1:S131-9. doi: 10.1086/605060.

Sentinel hospital surveillance for rotavirus in latin american and Caribbean countries.

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Immunization Unit, Pan American Health Organization, Washington, DC 20037, USA.


The burden of rotavirus disease in the Latin American region has been poorly understood despite the promise of effective vaccines. We describe here the implementation and results of a rotavirus surveillance network in the Latin American and Caribbean region. From 2005 through 2007, stool specimens and epidemiologic information were gathered from children <5 years of age who were hospitalized for acute diarrhea (3 looser-than-normal stools within <24 h) lasting <14 days with use of a standardized generic protocol. Stool samples were tested for rotavirus, and a proportion of detected strains were typed. The proportion of samples positive for rotavirus was applied to World Health Organization diarrhea-related mortality estimates to calculate rotavirus-associated mortality. In 2007, the network comprised 54 sites in 11 countries. During 2006-2007, specimens were collected from 19,817 children; 8141 of these specimens were positive for rotavirus. The median percentage of positive specimens in the country was 31.5% (range, 24%-47%). The risk of death from rotavirus diarrhea by age 5 years was 1 of 2874. Strong rotavirus winter seasonality was apparent, even in tropical Central America. Globally common strains (P[8] G1, P[8] G9, and P[4] G2) accounted for >75% of strains, although unusual strains, including G12, were detected at low levels. As rotavirus vaccines continue to be introduced in Latin America, maintenance of surveillance will provide robust pre-introduction data and a platform for estimating vaccine effectiveness and other measures of impact.

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