Multiple Introductions and Predominance of Rotavirus Group A Genotype G3P[8] in Kilifi, Coastal Kenya, 4 Years after Nationwide Vaccine Introduction

Mwanga MJ, Verani JR, Omore R, Tate JE, Parashar UD, Murunga N, Gicheru E, Breiman RF, Nokes DJ, Agoti CN
Pathogens. 2020;9

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Globally, rotavirus group A (RVA) remains a major cause of severe childhood diarrhea, despite the use of vaccines in more than 100 countries. RVA sequencing for local outbreaks facilitates investigation into strain composition, origins, spread, and vaccine failure. In 2018, we collected 248 stool samples from children aged less than 13 years admitted with diarrheal illness to Kilifi County Hospital, coastal Kenya. Antigen screening detected RVA in 55 samples (22.2%). Of these, VP7 (G) and VP4 (P) segments were successfully sequenced in 48 (87.3%) and phylogenetic analysis based on the VP7 sequences identified seven genetic clusters with six different GP combinations: G3P[8], G1P[8], G2P[4], G2P[8], G9P[8] and G12P[8]. The G3P[8] strains predominated the season (n = 37, 67.2%) and comprised three distinct G3 genetic clusters that fell within Lineage I and IX (the latter also known as equine-like G3 Lineage). Both the two G3 lineages have been recently detected in several countries. Our study is the first to document African children infected with G3 Lineage IX. These data highlight the global nature of RVA transmission and the importance of increasing global rotavirus vaccine coverage.