Anticipating rotavirus vaccines: Epidemiology and surveillance of rotavirus in South Africa

A. D. Steele*, I. Peenze, M. C. De Beer, C. T. Pager, J. Yeats, N. Potgieter, U. Ramsaroop, N. A. Page, J. O. Mitchell, A. Geyer, P. Bos, J. J. Alexander

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


Rotavirus infection is associated with acute infantile gastroenteritis in infants and young children globally. In South Africa, rotavirus infection has been shown to be associated with approximately one-quarter of all diarrhoeal admissions to hospital. Rotavirus infection predominantly occurs in infants less than 12 months of age (75%) and has a peak of shedding during the cooler, drier months of the year. A secondary peak during the spring has been observed. Multiple infections with rotavirus and at least one other microbial agent are common. The circulating VP7 serotypes and VP4 genotypes have been determined in various regions of South Africa and show a geographic specific distribution. A decade previously, P[8]G1 or G4 strains predominated, and P[4]G2 strains occurred in an epidemic pattern in one region. More recently, rotavirus strains with P[6] genotype have become common and novel VP7/VP4 genotype combinations are occurring across the country. G9 strains have been reported from Cape Town to Vendaland. The circulating rotavirus types observed in this study add to the knowledge of the natural history of rotavirus infection and provide the groundwork to consider future vaccine strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)354-360
Number of pages7
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2003


  • Epidemiology
  • Rotavirus vaccine
  • South Africa


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