Continuing rotavirus circulation in children and adults despite high coverage rotavirus vaccination in Finland

J Infect. 2020 Jan;80(1):76-83. doi: 10.1016/j.jinf.2019.09.009. Epub 2019 Sep 30.


Objectives: To determine occurrence of residual rotavirus (RV) disease in different age groups in Finland after five to nine years of high coverage (≥90%) mass-vaccination with RotaTeq vaccine, and to examine the vaccine effect on circulating genotypes.

Methods: Since 2013 all clinical laboratories in the country were obliged to send RV positive stool samples for typing. RVs were genotyped by RT-PCR for VP7 and VP4 proteins, sequenced and compared to reference strains.

Results: RV continued to circulate throughout the study period at low level with a small increase in 2017-2018. There were three age-related clusters: young children representing primary or secondary vaccine failures, school-age children who may not have been vaccinated, and the elderly. Genotype distribution differed from the pre-vaccination period with a steady decline of G1P[8], emergence of G9P[8] and especially more recently G12P[8]. In the elderly, G2P[4] was predominant but was also replaced by G12P[8] in 2017-18.

Conclusions: RV vaccination with a high coverage keeps RV disease at low level but does not prevent RV circulation. New RV genotypes have emerged replacing largely the previously predominant G1P[8]. Increase of overall RV activity with emergence of G12P[8] in the latest follow-up season 2017-18 might be a potential alarm sign.

Keywords: Genotype; RotaTeq; Rotavirus; Surveillance; Vaccination.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Feces
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Gastroenteritis*
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Rotavirus Infections* / epidemiology
  • Rotavirus Infections* / prevention & control
  • Rotavirus Vaccines*
  • Rotavirus* / genetics
  • Vaccination


  • Rotavirus Vaccines