Rotavirus surveillance in Kisangani, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, reveals a high number of unusual genotypes and gene segments of animal origin in non-vaccinated symptomatic children

Elisabeth Heylen, Bibi Batoko Likele, Mark Zeller, Stijn Stevens, Sarah De Coster, Nádia Conceição-Neto, Christel Van Geet, Jan Jacobs, Dauly Ngbonda, Marc Van Ranst, Jelle Matthijnssens

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Abstract

Group A rotavirus (RVA) infections form a major public health problem, especially in low-income countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo (COD). However, limited data on RVA diversity is available from sub-Saharan Africa in general and the COD in particular. Therefore, the first aim of this study was to determine the genetic diversity of 99 RVAs detected during 2007-2010 in Kisangani, COD. The predominant G-type was G1 (39%) and the most predominant P-type was P[6] (53%). A total of eight different G/P-combinations were found: G1P[8] (28%), G8P[6] (26%), G2P[4] (14%), G12P[6] (13%), G1P[6] (11%), G9P[8] (4%), G4P[6] (2%) and G8P[4] (1%). The second aim of this study was to gain insight into the diversity of P[6] RVA strains in the COD. Therefore, we selected five P[6] RVA strains in combination with the G1, G4, G8 (2x) or G12 genotype for complete genome analysis. Complete genome analysis showed that the genetic background of the G1P[6] and G12P[6] strains was entirely composed of genotype 1 (Wa-like), while the segments of the two G8P[6] strains were identified as genotype 2 (DS-1-like). Interestingly, all four strains possessed a NSP4 gene of animal origin. The analyzed G4P[6] RVA strain was found to possess the unusual G4-P[6]-I1-R1-C1-M1-A1-N1-T7-E1-H1 constellation. Although the majority of its genes (if not all), were presumably of porcine origin, this strain was able to cause gastro-enteritis in humans. The high prevalence of unusual RVA strains in the COD highlights the need for continued surveillance of RVA diversity in the COD. These results also underline the importance of complete genetic characterization of RVA strains and indicate that reassortments and interspecies transmission among human and animal RVAs strains occur regularly. Based on these data, RVA vaccines will be challenged with a wide variety of different RVA strain types in the COD.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume9
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)e100953
ISSN1932-6203
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • Animals
  • Child, Preschool
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Genes, Viral
  • Genome, Viral
  • Genotype
  • Geography
  • History, 21st Century
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Phylogeography
  • Population Surveillance
  • RNA, Viral
  • Rotavirus
  • Rotavirus Infections
  • Seasons
  • Viral Vaccines

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