Rotavirus strain diversity in the Centre Coast of Tunisia from 2000 through 2003
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An epidemiological survey investigating rotavirus infection in children was undertaken in the coastal region of Tunisia from January 2000 through September 2003. A total of 309 fecal specimens were screened by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and latex agglutination assay for the presence of group A rotavirus antigen. The detection rate was 26.2%. Rotavirus outbreaks showed a temperature-dependant pattern (P = .026) but no significant association with rainfall. Rotavirus strains isolated were analyzed by RNA polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and were characterized antigenically by monoclonal antibodies to the VP6 subgroup. Eight RNA electropherotypes were identified, with 3 long and 5 short different RNA profiles. Among VP6 typeable strains, all isolates with a long electrophoretic pattern carried the subgroup II specificity, whereas those with a short profile belonged to subgroup I. In total, 48 rotavirus-positive samples were analyzed for G and P typing by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction. A total of 8 different G and P combinations were found: G1P (35.7%), G1P (21.4%), G2P (4.8%), G3P (4.8%), G4P (4.8%), G8P (4.8%), G3P (2.3%), and G4P (2.3%). Mixed infections were detected in 19.1% of stool samples. The emergence in Tunisia of unconventional types, such as G8VP7 specificity, highlights the need for a continual survey of the uncommon strains in North Africa.
- Biological & Environmental Sciences [186 items ]