The last decade has seen an increase in the detection of rotavirus strains other than G1-G4 emerging or even predominating in some settings. The performance of the current rotavirus vaccines against unusual or rare circulating rotavirus serotypes cannot be predicted and continuous monitoring of wild type rotaviruses will remain a priority. Routine molecular rotavirus surveillance conducted in the Gauteng Province, South Africa during 2004, resulted in the detection of strains that could not typed using standard G specific genotyping primers. Sequencing of the first round amplicons revealed 19 serotype G12P strains and one G12P strain. Phylogenetic analyses of the G12 strains indicated that these strains are probably a recent introduction into South Africa and emerged from a strain related to the Indian isolate ISO-5. The association of the South African G12s with the P genotype may suggest a mechanism for unusual strains to become more ecologically suited to local population transmission dynamics. This is the first report of serotype G12 strains on the African continent and continued surveillance will be required to track the emergence of G12 strains in Africa.
- Serotype G12
- South Africa