In an effort to reduce the high mortalities associated with rotavirus infections, a number of African countries are considering introducing human rotavirus vaccines. The demonstrated safety and efficacy of the live-attenuate human rotavirus vaccines in several clinical trials worldwide has accelerated such initiatives. Although the percentage-mortality rates for Sierra Leone are top of the list for rotavirus-associated deaths in Africa, no study has reported the prevalent strains circulating within this country. In this study, stool specimens were collected from 128 Sierra Leonean children presenting with diarrhea in 2005. Almost 37.5% (48/128) were rotavirus positive by EIA, of which 89.6% (43/48) revealed a short electropherotype, and a further 6.98% (3/48) could not be assigned a PAGE pattern. Genotyping analysis revealed G2P (30.23%), G2P (13.95%), G8P (11.63%), G2P (4.65%), G8P (4.65%), and G8P (2%) strains. About 11% were only assigned VP7 genotypes (G2), while 20.9% had mixed G and P types. The frequent detection of G2 rotaviruses could be of concern considering data generated from some studies that suggests lower efficacy of Rotarix® vaccine against G2 rotaviruses. This underscores the need for extensive and continuous regional strain surveillance to support rotavirus vaccines introduction and guide future vaccine development efforts. Such information will be useful before considering administration of specific rotavirus vaccine candidates in countries like Sierra Leone where little is known about circulating rotavirus strains. J. Med. Virol. 83:540-550, 2011.
- Rotavirus vaccine
- Sierra Leone