Hospital-based surveillance for rotavirus gastroenteritis in children younger than 5 years of age in Ethiopia: 2007-2012

Almaz Abebe*, Telahun Teka, Tassew Kassa, Mapaseka Seheri, Berhane Beyene, Birke Teshome, Ferehiwot Kebede, Abebe Habtamu, Lorens Maake, Aron Kassahun, Mekonnen Getahun, Kassahun Mitiku, Jason M. Mwenda

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND:: Rotavirus surveillance was initiated in Ethiopia to estimate the burden of rotavirus gastroenteritis in children <5 years of age, to generate data to assist the policy-making process for new vaccine introduction and to monitor impact of vaccination on disease burden after introduction. METHODS:: Sentinel surveillance was conducted at 3 hospitals in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia using a standardized WHO surveillance protocol from August 2007 to March 2012. Children <5 years of age, hospitalized for the primary reason of treatment for acute gastroenteritis, were enrolled, stool samples were collected and tested for group A rotavirus using an enzyme immunoassay. Confirmed positive specimens were further characterized by rotavirus genotyping. RESULTS:: A total of 1841 children were enrolled and 21% were rotavirus positive. Children 6-12 months of age had the highest proportion of rotavirus (36%) followed by children <6 months of age (23%). There was no significant difference between sexes. Significant differences in clinical characteristics, such as vomiting, vomiting episodes, cases with vomiting and diarrhea among rotavirus positive cases, were observed. Rotavirus circulated year round with peak prevalence from October through January. The most prevalent detected genotypes were G1P[8] (20%), G12P[8] (17%) and G3P[6] (15%), respectively. CONCLUSIONS:: Rotavirus infection is common in Ethiopian children. A safe and effective intervention against the infection is needed to prevent severity of the disease. Rotavirus vaccine introduction is planned before the end of 2013. The established surveillance system and the data generated can be used to monitor the impact of rotavirus vaccination program on severe disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S28-S33
JournalPediatric Infectious Disease Journal
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Ethiopean children
  • gastroenteritis
  • rotavirus


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