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J Med Virol. 2013 Feb;85(2):354-62. doi: 10.1002/jmv.23445. Epub 2012 Oct 16.

Diversity of rotavirus strains circulating in children under 5 years of age admitted to hospital for acute gastroenteritis in Morocco, June 2006 to May 2009.

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Virology Laboratory, National Institute of Hygiene, Ministry of Health, Rabat, Morocco.


Rotavirus vaccine was introduced in Morocco during 2010. In anticipation of introducing rotavirus vaccines, the Ministry of Health in Morocco established a rotavirus surveillance network in June 2006 at four hospitals in Morocco to obtain baseline data on rotavirus disease burden and prevalent strains. From June 2006 to May 2009, stool samples were collected from children under 5 years of age admitted for diarrhea to four sentinel hospitals serving different regions of Morocco. Rotaviruses were detected in stools using enzyme immunoassay, then genotyped by reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. Samples with adequate stool in which the P or G types could not be determined by RT-PCR were subjected to nucleotide sequence analysis. Overall, 42% (579 of 1,388) of the stools samples tested were positive for rotavirus. Genotyping of 548 (95%) samples demonstrated that G1P[8] (55%) was the most prevalent strain, followed by G9P[8] (11.3%), G2P[4] (9.1%), G4P[8] (0.9%), and G3P[8] (0.4%). Several other strains were identified including G1P[4] (0.2%), G1P[6] (0.9%), G2P[6] (4.3%), G2P[8] (0.2%), G3P[6] (0.4%), G3P[4] (0.2%), and G9P[6] (0.2%). A high prevalence of mixed infections was found (15% of all samples) of which G1G2P[8] (4%) and G1G3P[8] (3.6%) accounted for the majority. Considerable diversity of rotavirus genotypes was present among strains circulating in Morocco prior to the introduction of the vaccine. This study highlighted the need for maintaining active surveillance to monitor changes in rotavirus disease burden and strain dynamics and to detect changes over time that could impact the effectiveness of the vaccination program.

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