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Short, well demarcated epidemics of rotavirus diarrhoea were observed during two consecutive cool, dry seasons in The Gambia. This seasonal pattern has now been documented for 4 consecutive years. During the 1985/86 epidemic, transmission was intense, with a clinical attack rate for infants of 36%. During this outbreak it was estimated that asymptomatic virus-shedding was two-thirds as common as symptomatic infection. Rotavirus diarrhoea was more severe than diarrhoea due to all other causes and clinical rotavirus infection was associated with weight loss in the post-infection period. Non-epidemic periods were characterized by very occasional mild cases and asymptomatic virus-shedding in neonates. There was a change in RNA electropherotypes from a predominantly long pattern in 1983/84 and 1984/85 to short patterns in 1985/86.

Original publication





Annals of tropical paediatrics

Publication Date





238 - 243


Medical Research Council Laboratories, Banjul, The Gambia.


Humans, Rotavirus, Rotavirus Infections, Diarrhea, Diarrhea, Infantile, RNA, Viral, Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel, Epidemiologic Methods, Seasons, Disease Outbreaks, Child, Preschool, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Urban Population, Gambia