Prevalence of rotavirus, adenovirus and astrovirus infection in young children with gastroenteritis in Gaborone, Botswana

  • G Basu
  • J Rossouw
  • TK Sebunya
  • BA Gashe
  • M De Beer
  • JB Dewar
  • AD Steele


Objective: To determine the prevalence of three enteric viruses, namely rotavirus, adenovirus and astrovirus, as agents of diarrhoea in and around Gaborone, Botswana.

Design: The sample were categorised into four groups according to the age of the patient: 0-3 months, 4-6 months, 7-12 months and 25-60 months. Total monthly samples across age groups formed basis for calcultating seasonal prevalence of rotavirus infection.

Setting: Stool samples were collected from three medical laboratories in Gaborone and one in the town of Mochudi. These were collected from children under the age of five years with gastroenteritis.

Subjects: Stool samples were collected between March 2001 and February 2002 from 346 children less than five years of age suffering from gastroenteritis. These samples had been sent to medical laboratories for microbiological examination.

Methods: The samples were screened for rotavirus (RV), adenovirus (Ad) and astrovirus (AsV) antigens using commercially available ELISA kits. The Ad positive samples were further analysed by commercially available group specific Ad type 40/41 Enzyme Immuno Assays (EIA).

Results: Shedding of RV was detected in 9.2%, Ad in 7.8% and AsV in 2.7% of the samples analysed. The enteric Ad (types 40 and 41) were detected in 2% of the samples and the remaining 5.8% of Ad positive samples were non-enteric Ad. An increase of RV was noted in the autumn-winter season but no seasonal pattern was observed in Ad shedding. Seasonal prevalence of AsV could not be determined. The average age of children infected with these agents was less than one year.

Conclusion: The incidence of rotavirus infection amongst children in Botswana appears to be relatively low. The prevalence rate of adenovirus and astrovirus is similar to other studies in parts of Southern Africa. However, continued enteric virus surveillance and epidemiology amongst this group is required.

East African Medical Journal Vol.80(12) 2003: 652-655

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0012-835X