Rotaviruses cause acute diarrhea worldwide. Previous studies of rotavirus diarrhea in China found that rotavirus infection is the most common cause of severe diarrhea in young children. In the present study, surveillance of rotavirus diarrhea was conducted involving 9549 children aged <5 years who were admitted for treatment of diarrhea at 11 sentinel hospitals in China from August 2003 through July 2007. Group A rotavirus was detected in 3749 (47.8%) of the 7846 fecal specimens by using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Rotavirus isolates were characterized by reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction to determine G and P genotypes. All the strains that are common worldwide were detected; G3P was the most common. An unusual G5 strain was detected in 2 specimens. Of all episodes of rotavirus diarrhea, 94% occurred during the first 2 years of life, peaking at 6-23 months of age. Our findings indicate that globally common rotavirus strains continue to be a major cause of severe childhood diarrhea in China. Introduction of routine immunization with effective rotavirus vaccines would substantially reduce this burden.
- Child, Preschool
- Infant, Newborn
- Rotavirus Infections/epidemiology
- Time Factors