Seroepidemiological study of genogroup I and II calicivirus infections in South and Southern Africa

T. K. Smit, P. Bos, I. Peenze, Xi Jiang, M. K. Estes, A. D. Steele*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Diarrhoea is associated with the daily death of between 180 and 200 children under the age of 5 years in South Africa. Until recently, many cases and outbreaks of diarrhoea were not associated with a known aetiologic agent. Previous studies using baculovirus-expressed Norwalk virus (NV) and Mexico virus (MxV) capsid antigens have shown that human calicivirus infection is common in South Africa. In this study, our surveillance was extended to different populations, as well as to four other southern African countries: Namibia, Angola, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique. More than 1,700 specimens, some involved in previous cohort studies of infectious diseases, were enrolled in the surveillance. The overall seroprevalence of antibody against NV was >90% for all cohorts except for Mozambican refugees that had 83.8% sero- positivity. The MxV antibody prevalence was higher than NV, with >95% positivity for all cohorts, except for one in Namibia that had 81% exposure. This study is one of only a few reporting on the concurrent incidence of NV and MxV infections in a cohort study, and has determined that small round structured viruses are prevalent in the local populations of South and Southern Africa. These agents may account for a number of previously unknown or unidentified causes of diarrhoeal illness, in both adults and children, in southern Africa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-231
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Medical Virology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Mexico virus
  • Norwalk virus
  • SRSVs
  • Seroprevalence


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