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Rotavirus Burden, Genetic Diversity and Impact of Vaccine in Children under Five in Tanzania

Food and Microbiology Laboratory, Tanzania Bureau of Standards, Ubungo Area, Morogoro Road/Sam Nujoma Road, P.O. Box 9524, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Southern African Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance (SACIDS), Africa Centre of Excellence for Infectious Diseases of Humans and Animals in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACE), Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), P.O. Box 3297, Chuo Kikuu, SUA, Morogoro, Tanzania
Department of Animal, Aquaculture and Range Sciences, College of Agriculture, Sokoine University of Agriculture, P.O. Box 3004, Morogoro, Tanzania
Department of Veterinary Medicine and Public Health, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Sokoine University of Agriculture, P.O. Box 3021, Morogoro, Tanzania
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Pathogens 2019, 8(4), 210;
Received: 11 August 2019 / Revised: 27 September 2019 / Accepted: 7 October 2019 / Published: 29 October 2019
In Tanzania, rotavirus infections are responsible for 72% of diarrhea deaths in children under five. The Rotarix vaccine was introduced in early 2013 to mitigate rotavirus infections. Understanding the disease burden and virus genotype trends over time is important for assessing the impact of rotavirus vaccine in Tanzania. When assessing the data for this review, we found that deaths of children under five declined after vaccine introduction, from 8171/11,391 (72% of diarrhea deaths) in 2008 to 2552/7087 (36% of diarrhea deaths) in 2013. Prior to vaccination, the prevalence of rotavirus infections in children under five was 18.1–43.4%, 9.8–51%, and 29–41% in Dar es Salaam, Mwanza and Tanga, respectively, and after the introduction of vaccines, these percentages declined to 17.4–23.5%, 16–19%, and 10–29%, respectively. Rotaviruses in Tanzania are highly diverse, and include genotypes of animal origin in children under five. Of the genotypes, 10%, 28%, and 7% of the strains are untypable in Dar es Salaam, Tanga, and Zanzibar, respectively. Mixed rotavirus genotype infection accounts for 31%, 29%, and 12% of genotypes in Mwanza, Tanga and Zanzibar, respectively. The vaccine effectiveness ranges between 53% and 75% in Mwanza, Manyara and Zanzibar. Rotavirus vaccination has successfully reduced the rotavirus burden in Tanzania; however, further studies are needed to better understand the relationship between the wildtype strain and the vaccine strain as well as the zoonotic potential of rotavirus in the post-vaccine era. View Full-Text
Keywords: rotavirus; genetic diversity; diarrhoea; vaccine effectiveness; Tanzania rotavirus; genetic diversity; diarrhoea; vaccine effectiveness; Tanzania
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Malakalinga, J.J.; Misinzo, G.; Msalya, G.M.; Kazwala, R.R. Rotavirus Burden, Genetic Diversity and Impact of Vaccine in Children under Five in Tanzania. Pathogens 2019, 8, 210.

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