Prevalence of rotavirus genotypes in children younger than 5 years of age before the introduction of a universal rotavirus vaccination program: report of rotavirus surveillance in Turkey

PLoS One. 2014 Dec 1;9(12):e113674. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0113674. eCollection 2014.


Background: Group A rotaviruses are the most common causative agent of acute gastroenteritis among children less than 5 years of age throughout the world. This sentinel surveillance study was aimed to obtain baseline data on the rotavirus G and P genotypes across Turkey before the introduction of a universal rotavirus vaccination program.

Methods: Rotavirus antigen-positive samples were collected from 2102 children less than 5 years of age who attended hospitals participating in the Turkish Rotavirus Surveillance Network. Rotavirus antigen was detected in the laboratories of participating hospitals by commercial serological tests such as latex agglutination, immunochromatographic test or enzyme immunoassay. Rotavirus G and P genotypes were determined by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) using consensus primers detecting the VP7 and VP4 genes, followed by semi-nested type-specific multiplex PCR.

Results: RT-PCR found rotavirus RNA in 1644 (78.2%) of the samples tested. The highest rate of rotavirus positivity (38.7%) was observed among children in the 13 to 24 month age group, followed by children in the age group of 25 to 36 months (28.3%). A total of eight different G types, six different P types, and 42 different G-P combinations were obtained. Four common G types (G1, G2, G3, and G9) and two common P types (P[8] and P[4]) accounted for 95.1% and 98.8% of the strains, respectively. G9P[8] was the most common G/P combination found in 40.5% of the strains followed by G1P[8] (21.6%), G2P[8] (9.3%), G2P[4] (6.5%), G3P[8] (3.5%), and finally, G4P[8] (3.4%). These six common genotypes included 83.7% of the strains tested in this study. The rate of uncommon genotypes was 14%.

Conclusion: The majority of the strains analyzed belonged to the G1-G4 and G9 genotypes, suggesting high coverage of current rotavirus vaccines. This study also demonstrates a dramatic increase in G9 genotype across the country.

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Viral / genetics*
  • Capsid Proteins / genetics*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Prevalence
  • Public Health Surveillance*
  • RNA, Viral / analysis
  • Rotavirus / genetics*
  • Rotavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Rotavirus Infections / virology*
  • Rotavirus Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Rotavirus Vaccines / immunology*
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Turkey


  • Antigens, Viral
  • Capsid Proteins
  • RNA, Viral
  • Rotavirus Vaccines
  • VP4 protein, Rotavirus
  • VP7 protein, Rotavirus

Grant support

This sentinel surveillance study was supported by the Turkish Ministry of Health, National Public Health Agency of Turkey (B.10.1.HSK.O.16.00.00/94/6386). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.