Novel norovirus recombinants detected in South Africa

Virol J. 2014 Sep 17;11:168. doi: 10.1186/1743-422X-11-168.


Background: Noroviruses (NoV) are the leading cause of viral gastroenteritis worldwide. Recombination frequently occurs within and between NoV genotypes and recombinants have been implicated in sporadic cases, outbreaks and pandemics of NoV. There is a lack of data on NoV recombinants in Africa and therefore their presence and diversity was investigated in South Africa (SA).

Results: Between 2010 and 2013, eleven types of NoV recombinants were identified in SA. Amplification of the polymerase/capsid region spanning the ORF1/2 junction and phylogenetic analysis confirmed each of the recombinant types. SimPlot and maximum x2 analysis indicated that all recombinants had a breakpoint in the region of the ORF1/2 junction (P < 0.05). The majority (9/11) were intergenotype recombinants, but two intragenotype GII.4 recombinants were characterised. Three combinations represent novel recombinants namely GII.P not assigned (NA)/GII.3, GII.P4 New Orleans 2009/GII.4 NA and GII.P16/GII.17. Several widely reported recombinants were identified and included GII.P21/GII.2, GII.P21/GII.3, GII.Pe/GII.4 Sydney 2012, and GII.Pg/GII.12. Other recombinants that were identified were GII.Pg/GII.1, GII.Pe/GII.4 Osaka 2007, GII.P4 New Orleans 2009/GII.4 Sydney 2012, GII.P7/GII.6. To date these recombinant types all have a reportedly restricted geographic distribution. This is the first report of the GII.P4 New Orleans 2009/GII.4 Sydney 2012 recombinant in Africa.

Conclusions: Over the past four years, remarkably diverse NoV recombinants have been circulating in SA. Pandemic strains such as the GII.Pe/GII.4 Sydney 2012 recombinant co-circulated with novel and emerging recombinant strains. Combined polymerase- and capsid-based NoV genotyping is essential to determine the true diversity and global prevalence of these viruses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Caliciviridae Infections / epidemiology
  • Caliciviridae Infections / virology*
  • Gastroenteritis / epidemiology
  • Gastroenteritis / virology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Viral
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Norovirus / genetics*
  • Phylogeny
  • Reassortant Viruses / genetics*
  • Reassortant Viruses / isolation & purification
  • South Africa / epidemiology

Associated data

  • GENBANK/KC962457
  • GENBANK/KC962458
  • GENBANK/KC962459
  • GENBANK/KC962460
  • GENBANK/KC962461
  • GENBANK/KC962462
  • GENBANK/KJ710245
  • GENBANK/KJ710246
  • GENBANK/KJ710247
  • GENBANK/KJ710248
  • GENBANK/KM025143