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Background: Diarrhea is a major cause of childhood morbidity and mortality in the developing countries. Rotavirus is a major cause of acute watery diarrhea.
Aim: This study aims at characterizing the prevalent rotavirus G-genotypes among under.five children presenting with acute watery diarrhea in Benin City, Nigeria.
Methodology: A total of 470 children <5 years presenting with diarrhea of <2 weeks duration, were over a period of 1 year consecutively recruited for the study. Stool samples were collected for rotavirus antigen detection using Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) and further analyzed with reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for VP7 genotyping.
Results: Comparing the ability of the two methods to detect rotavirus in stool samples, 65 (13.8%) and 90 (19.2%) of the stools tested positive for rotavirus using ELISA and RT-PCR, respectively. Using VP7 primers, genotypes G1 were detected in 49 out of 90 stool samples (54.4%), G2 in 26 out of 90 stool samples (28.9%), G3 in 19 out of 90 stool samples (21.1%), G4 in 34 out of 90 stool samples (37.8%) and G9 in 8 of the 90 stool samples (8.9%). Some strains were observed to be reactive with 2 or more of the primers yielding dual or triple VP7 genotype reactivity.
Conclusion: Rotavirus of varying genotypes as shown cause acute watery diarrhea among under-five children and vaccine with strains peculiar to this environment should be introduced. Techniques such as RT.PCR rather than ELISA, where affordable, should be used in stool rotavirus screening.
Key words: Acute watery diarrhea; Benin City, characterization, human rotavirus genotypes, under-five children