Rotavirus infection is the most common cause of severe gastroenteritis in children under five years of age in both developed and developing countries. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends the surveillance of rotavirus strains prior to vaccine introduction in all applicable countries. The objective of this study was to describe the epidemiological characteristics as well as to determine the circulating genotypes of rotaviruses in Côte d’Ivoire prior to vaccine introduction.
The study included children under five years of age who met the inclusion criteria after informed consent had been sort from their parents or guardians. Rotavirus VP6 antigens were detected for each stool sample using Enzyme Immunoassay (EIA). Genotyping of positive EIA samples was performed by reverse-transcriptase-PCR (RT-PCR) assays.
A total of 684 children were recruited. Children aged between 6 and 11 months were the most represented with 34%. Rotavirus VP6 antigens were found in 27.1% (186/684) of samples tested. Commonly detected G genotypes included G12 (46.6% (82/176) and G1 (13.1% (23/176) whilst P (49.8% (91/183) was the most predominant P genotype. Rotavirus G12P was the most predominant strain circulating in Côte d’Ivoire within the period of study and constituted 26.6% of all strains detected.
The monitoring of circulating strains will help guide decision-makers in the choice of vaccine. Genotypic variability of circulating rotavirus strains over the years implies there is a need for continuous rotavirus strain surveillance even after vaccine introduction.