Group A rotaviruses are the major cause of severe gastroenteritis in young
children worldwide. Because rotavirus vaccination appeared imminent, a nati
onwide surveillance program was organized between October 1996 and October
1998 in the largest Argentine cities. Surveillance for disease burden, rota
virus detection, and rotavirus typing was undertaken at nine locations. Res
ults showed rotavirus to be associated with 42% of diarrhea admissions. Alt
hough the prevalent G types changed from year to year, common G types were
found in 96% of the cases and were usually associated with common P types.
Uncommon G types, G9 and G5, were found at low prevalence and uncommon G/P
combinations occurred at almost every study site. These data suggest that a
rotavirus vaccine could substantially decrease the rotavirus disease burde
n in Argentina, but that introduction of a vaccine should be accompanied by
a concurrent surveillance system. (C) 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.