Rotavirus breakthrough infections responsible for gastroenteritis in vaccinated infants who presented with acute diarrhea at University Teaching Hospitals, Children s Hospital in 2016, in Lusaka Zambia

Julia Simwaka*, Mapaseka Seheri, Gina Mulundu, Patrick Kaonga, Jason M. Mwenda, Roma Chilengi, Evans Mpabalwani, Sody Munsaka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background In Zambia, before rotavirus vaccine introduction, the virus accounted for about 10 million episodes of diarrhoea, 63 000 hospitalisations and 15 000 deaths in 2015, making diarrhoea the third leading cause of death after pneumonia and malaria. In Zambia, despite the introduction of the vaccine acute diarrhoea due to rotaviruses has continued to affect children aged five years and below. This study aimed to characterise the rotavirus genotypes which were responsible for diarrhoeal infections in vaccinated infants aged 2 to 12 months and to determine the relationship between rotavirus strains and the severity of diarrhoea in 2016. Methods Stool samples from infants aged 2 to 12 months who presented to the hospital with acute diarrhoea of three or more episodes in 24 hours were tested for group A rotavirus. All positive specimens that had enough sample were genotyped using reverse transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR). A 20-point Vesikari clinical score between 1 5 was considered as mild, 6 10 as moderate and greater or equal to 11 as severe. Results A total of 424 stool specimens were tested of which 153 (36%, 95% CI 31.5% to 40.9%) were positive for VP6 rotavirus antigen. The age-specific rotavirus infections decreased significantly (p = 0.041) from 2 4 months, 32.0% (49/118) followed by a 38.8% (70/181) infection rate in the 5 8 months category and subsequently dropped in the infants aged 9 12 months with a positivity rate of 27.2%. 38.5% of infants who received a single dose, 34.5% of those who received a complete dose and 45.2% (19/42) of the unvaccinated tested positive for rotavirus. The predominant rotavirus genotypes included G2P[6] 36%, G1P[8] 32%, mixed infections 19%, G2P[4] 6%, G1P[6] 4% and G9P[6] 3%. Discussion and conclusion Results suggest breakthrough infection of heterotypic strains (G2P[6] (36%), homotypic, G1P[8] (32%) and mixed infections (19%) raises concerns about the effects of the vaccination on the rotavirus diversity, considering the selective pressure that rotavirus vaccines could exert on viral populations. This data indicates that the rotavirus vaccine has generallyreduced the severity of diarrhoea despite the detection of the virus strains.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0246025
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume16
Issue number2 February
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes

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