Rotavirus genetic diversity, disease association, and temporal change in hospitalized rural kenyan children

D. James Nokes, Ina Peenze, Lufuno Netshifhefhe, John Abwao, Mariet C. De Beer, Mapaseka Seheri, Thomas N. Williams, Nicola Page, Duncan Steele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Background. The effectiveness of rotavirus vaccines will be dependent on the immunity conferred against prevalent and emergent variants causing severe diarrheal disease. Longitudinal surveillance of disease-causing strains is a prerequisite to intervention. Methods. Molecular characterization was conducted on rotavirus-positive stool samples from children admitted with diarrhea to a rural district hospital during 2002-2004. Extracted viral RNA was separated by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, and rotavirus VP4 (P types) and VP7 (G types) specificities were determined. Results. Among 558 investigated cases, the predominant genotype was P[8]G1 (42%), followed by P[8]G9 (15%), P[4]G8 (7%), P[6]G8 (6%), and P[8]G8 (4%), with 10% mixed strains. Overall, there were 6 different P types and 7 G types. No association was identified between genotype and child age, sex, or severity of diarrhea. The P and G genotypes and polyacrylamide gel electropherotypes showed significant temporal variation in frequency: P[8]G1 decreased from 51% (95% confidence interval [CI], 43%-58%) in 2002 to 30% (95% CI, 24%-37%) in 2004, and P[4]G8 increased from 2% (95% CI, 0%-5%) in 2002 to 13% (95% CI, 9%-19%). Quarterly data revealed seasonally endemic and emergence and/or decay patterns. Conclusions. Our study of rotavirus strains causing severe diarrhea in rural Kenyan children showed a predominance of P[8]G1 and confirms the importance of G8 and G9 strains in sub-Saharan Africa. Considerable genetic diversity of rotavirus strains was observed, including substantial mixed and unusual types, coupled with significant temporal strain variation and emergence. These results warn of variable vaccine efficacy and the need for long-term surveillance of circulating rotavirus genotypes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S180-S186
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2010
Externally publishedYes


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