An Information Bulletin on Rotaviruses

Fri, 25 Mar 11 

Between news stories we will introduce topics of potential interest to our web page visitors. BluTest specialises in antimicrobial agents against viruses and here is a brief description of one of the most important group of viruses, the rotaviruses, that have a huge effect on human and animal health world-wide.

Rotaviruses are certainly the most important viral cause of diarrhoeal death, and probably the most important waterborne pathogen. Rotaviruses infections of children are ubiquitous and the incidence of rotavirus infection of children is the same world-wide. More than 90% of children experience infection by the virus. Rotavirus infections predominate in the winter months and account for approximately 140 million cases/year with 600,000 -800,000 deaths/year [1]. Most of these deaths are in the developing world and account for 5% of all childhood deaths annually. In India one in every 250 children (100-150,000) die of rotavirus diarrhoea every year [2]. Vaccination can give good protection against the virus in individuals, but is complicated by the variety of rotavirus strains [3, 4]. There are seven groups of rotaviruses (A-G). Group A rotaviruses are most closely associated with human diarrhoea. Group A has been further divided into 15 G types (and 26 P types) of which G1-G4 represent >80% of strains and G9 (4.1%) are currently of epidemiologic importance [5, 6]. G8 and G9 might also be important in Sub-saharan Africa [7, 8]. Some types of rotavirus infecting humans might be of animal origin. Detailed epidemiologic data and new vaccine development gives considerable cause for optimism that rotaviral disease can be effectively curtailed. However, infection control of these viruses to prevent spread of disease is a high priority.

[1] Parashar UD, Hummelman EG, Bresee JS, Miller MA, Glass RI. Global illness and deaths caused by rotavirus disease in children. Emerging Infectious Disease. 2003;9:565-72.

[2]      Broor  S, Ghosh  D, Mathur  P. Molecular epidemiology of rotaviruses in India, Indian Journal of Medical Research, 2003; August : 59-67.

[3]      Glass RI. New hope for defeating rotavirus, Scientific American, 2006; April: 47-55.

[4]      Glass  RI,  Parashar  UD. The Promise of new rotavirus vaccines, New England Journal of Medicine, 2006; 354(1) : 75-77.

[5]      Estes MK, Rotaviruses and their replication, 2004, 1747-1786, In Knipe DM, Howley PM, Griffin DE et al, Fields Virology, 4th Edition. Lippinicott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, Pa.

[6]      Santos N, Hoshino Y, Global distribution of rotavirus serotypes/genotypes and its implication for the development and implementation of an effective rotavirus vaccine, Reviews in Medical Virology, 2005, 15(1):29-56.

[7]      Armah  GE, Steele  AD, et al. Changing patterns of rotavirus genotypes in Ghana: Emergence of human rotavirus G9 as a major cause of diarrhea in children, Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 2003; 41(6) : 2317-2414.

[8]      Matthijnssens J, Rahman M, Yang X et al, G8 rotavirus strains isolated in the Democratic Republic of Congo belong to the DS-1like genogroup, Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 2006, 44(5):1801-1809.