The evolving epidemiology of rotavirus gastroenteritis in central Portugal with modest vaccine coverage

Fernanda Rodrigues*, Miren Iturriza-Go'Mara, Robin Marlow, James Gray, Sameena Nawaz, Luís Januário, Adam Finn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Rotavirus (RV) vaccines have been available on the private market in Portugal since 2006, with an estimated coverage rising from 16 to 42% between 2007 and 2010. Objectives: To assess trends, surveillance of children presenting with acute gastroenteritis (AG) to a large paediatric emergency service (ES) in the central region of Portugal was conducted yearly during the winter-spring seasons. Study design: Stool samples, collected throughout five epidemic seasons (January-June, 2006 to 2010) from children ≤36 months of age attending the ES with AG, were tested for RV by immunochromatographic rapid test and positive samples were genotyped. Results: A total of 6145 AG cases were identified: 1956 (32%) provided a stool sample (range: 28% in 2008-37% in 2009). The proportion of AG subjects who tested positive for RV fluctuated over the five surveillance seasons (49%, 39%, 25%, 26% and 39%, respectively) as did the distribution of co-circulating RV genotypes. There were no consistent changes in seasonality or age distribution and the proportion of admitted AG subjects who tested RV-positive did not show progressive trends over time. Conclusions: Our results demonstrate fluctuations in RVAG incidence with no clear progressive trends or seasonal RV shifts among our surveillance subjects over five years, in the context of limited rotavirus vaccine coverage. Significant annual changes in genotype distributions were detected. Higher vaccine coverage may be necessary than at present for consistent impact on disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-134
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Virology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was partially funded by an unrestricted, investigator-initiated grant from Sanofi Pasteur MSD, Portugal. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis or preparation of the manuscript.

Funding Information:
Miren Iturriza-Gómara has received travel bursaries form GSK to attend scientific meetings. Has received funding for research in the form of non-restrictive educational grants from GSK and Sanofi Pasteur MSD.

Funding Information:
Sameena Nawaz is employed by the Health Protection Agency working a surveillance and research funded by a non-restrictive educational grant from GSK and Sanofi Pasteur MSD.

Funding Information:
Adam Finn is employed by the University of Bristol and University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust. Both institutions, but not A.F., have received funding from Sanofi Pasteur MSD and GSK for research conducted by A.F. and for consultancy and lectures.

Copyright 2013 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Acute gastroenteritis
  • Genotypes
  • Immunisation
  • Rotavirus


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