Characterization of a G1P[8] rotavirus causing an outbreak of gastroenteritis in the Northern Territory, Australia, in the vaccine era

Celeste M Donato, Daniel Cowley, Thomas L Snelling, Asmik Akopov, Ewen F. Kirkness, Carl D Kirkwood

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In 2010, a large outbreak of rotavirus gastroenteritis occurred in the Alice Springs region of the Northern Territory, Australia. The outbreak occurred 43 months after the introduction of the G1P[8] rotavirus vaccine Rotarix®. Forty-three infants were hospitalized during the outbreak and analysis of fecal samples from each infant revealed a G1P[8] rotavirus strain. The outbreak strain was adapted to cell culture and neutralization assays were performed using VP7 and VP4 neutralizing monoclonal antibodies. The outbreak strain exhibited a distinct neutralization resistance pattern compared to the Rotarix® vaccine strain. Whole genome sequencing of the 2010 outbreak virus strain demonstrated numerous amino acid differences compared to the Rotarix® vaccine strain in the characterized neutralization epitopes of the VP7 and VP4 proteins. Phylogenetic analysis of the outbreak strain revealed a close genetic relationship to global strains, in particular RVA/Human-wt/BEL/BE0098/2009/ G1P[8] and RVA/Human-wt/BEL/BE00038/2008/G1P[8] for numerous genes. The 2010 outbreak strain was likely introduced from a globally circulating population of strains rather than evolving from an endemic Australian strain. The outbreak strain possessed antigenic differences in the VP7 and VP4 proteins compared to the Rotarix® vaccine strain. The outbreak was associated with moderate vaccine coverage and possibly low vaccine take in the population.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere47
Number of pages6
JournalEmerging Microbes & Infections
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Australia
  • diarrheal outbreak
  • full-genome analysis
  • G1P[8]
  • Rotarix®
  • rotavirus

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