Rotavirus Types in Europe and Their Significance for Vaccination

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The degree of diversity of cocirculating human rotavirus wild-type strains is high. This article reviews the occurrence and frequency of rotavirus types in European children younger than 5 years of age during the past 10–15 years. To enable greater understanding of the overall epidemiologic situation, rotavirus types found in animals in Europe are described. In addition, rotavirus types occurring in children outside Europe are considered. Taken together, these data provide an essential background to the development of rotavirus vaccines. The different concepts of immunization with the 2 main rotavirus candidate vaccines are briefly discussed, and their potential impact on the epidemiology of cocirculating rotavirus wild-type viruses is considered. A case is made for comprehensive surveillance of cocirculating human rotavirus types in Europe after the implementation of rotavirus vaccination.

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