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J Infect Dis. 2010 Sep 1;202 Suppl:S168-74. doi: 10.1086/653577.

Epidemiology of rotavirus infection in children in Blantyre, Malawi, 1997-2007.

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University of Liverpool, United Kingdom.


Acute gastroenteritis caused by rotavirus infection is an important cause of morbidity and mortality among infants and young children in Africa. From 1997 through 2007, we enrolled 3740 children <5 years of age with acute gastroenteritis who received hospital care at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi. Group A rotavirus was detected in fecal specimens by enzyme immunoassay. Rotavirus strains were characterized for VP7 (G) and VP4 (P) types with use of reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction. Overall, rotavirus was detected in one-third of children. The median age of children with rotavirus gastroenteritis was 7.8 months, compared with 10.9 months for those without rotavirus in stool specimens (P > .001). Rotavirus circulated throughout the year, with the detection proportion greatest during the dry season (from May through October). A total of 15 single rotavirus strain types were detected during the study period, with genotypes P[8]G1, P[6]G8, P[4]G8, P[6]G1, P[8]G3, and P[6]G9 comprising 83% of all strains characterized. Serotype G12 was detected for the first time in Blantyre during the final 2 years of study. Zoonotic transmission and viral reassortment contributed to the rich diversity of strains identified. Current rotavirus vaccines have the potential to greatly reduce the rotavirus disease burden in Malawi, but they will be required to protect against a broad range of rotavirus serotypes in a young population with year-round rotavirus exposure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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