Review of Naturally Occurring Intussusception in Young Children in the WHO African Region prior to the Era of Rotavirus Vaccine Utilization in the Expanded Programme of Immunization

J Trop Pediatr. 2017 Jun 1;63(3):221-228. doi: 10.1093/tropej/fmw069.


Rotavirus vaccines, Rotarix and RotaTeq, are increasingly being introduced in national immunization programmes in Africa to prevent severe dehydrating acute gastroenteritis. A low-level risk of intussusception has been associated with rotavirus vaccines. We reviewed published data on intussusception in children <2 years of age in Africa. PubMed electronic database search was used to retrieve papers published on intussusception. The search was further refined to identify surveillance reports and case series conducted from 1980 to 2014, with at least 25 cases. The initial search identified 34 studies, and the refined search yielded 16. Intussusception occurred naturally in infants 2-4 months and peaked around 5-8 months of age. Delayed presentation was common and required surgical intervention in 87% (1008 of 1158) of cases with a high CFR, 10-33.7%. In African children, intussusception has been reported infrequently at a young age when the first dose of rotavirus vaccine is administered.

Keywords: Africa; age <2 years old; intussusception; rotatvirus vaccines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Delayed Diagnosis
  • Diarrhea / etiology*
  • Dysentery / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intussusception / diagnosis*
  • Intussusception / mortality
  • Intussusception / surgery
  • Male
  • Treatment Outcome