J Med Virol. 2013 Jul;85(7):1307-12

Distribution of Rotavirus G and P Genotypes Approximately Two Years Following the Introduction of Rotavirus Vaccines in South Korea

Jung Ok Shim,1 Van Thai Than,2 Eell Ryoo,3 Inseok Lim,4 Yoosik Yoon,2 Kijeong Kim,2 Sang-In Chung,2 and Wonyong Kim2

1Department of Pediatrics, Korea University Guro Hospital, Seoul, South Korea.

2Department of Microbiology, Chung-Ang University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea.

3Department of Pediatrics, Gachon University of Medicine and Science, Incheon, South Korea. 4Department of Pediatrics, Chung-Ang University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea.



Genotyping of human rotaviruses was performed on 299 (40.1%) rotavirus-positive samples obtained from 745 children with acute diarrhea in three provinces in South Korea between March 2008 and February 2010, approximately 2 years following the introduction of the RotaTeq (September 2007) and Rotarix (July 2008). The most prevalent G genotypes were G1 (51.5%), followed by G3 (24.0%), G4 (15.4%), G9 (6.4%), and G2 (4.7%). The predominant types of P genotypes were P[8] (72.6%), followed by P[6] (19.1%) and P[4] (6.0%). The phylogenetic analyses of the VP7 genes of G9 strains revealed they were highly identical and belonged in lineage III. This study highlights the consistency of the predominant G1 genotype and slightly higher predominance of the identical G9 strains over the G2 genotype.

PMID: 23595867



Rotaviruses are the most common etiological agent of acute waterborne diarrhea among children worldwide. Each year, these viruses cause approximately 447,000 deaths among children under the age of five, residing mostly in the low-income countries of Africa and Asia, where access to safe water, sanitation, and medical care is often limited.

Rotavirus vaccination plays a key role in protecting children against rotavirus gastroenteritis related hospitalizations and deaths. Two effective rotavirus vaccines, RotaTeq® and Rotarix, are available on the world market. Rotarix is comprised of an attenuated G1P[8] rotavirus, and RotaTeq® is a human-bovine reassortant vaccine containing the G1–G4 genotypes, along with P[8].

In South Korea, rotavirus is the most common cause of acute diarrhea in young children, particularly during the winter months. Surveillance studies have indicated that the G1, G2, G3, and G4 strains are the most common, and their distribution may depend on seasonal and geographic influences. The RotaTeq® and Rotarix vaccines were launched in South Korea in September 2007 and July 2008, respectively, and these vaccines have been shown to be effective, safe, and economical through the Korea national vaccination program.

In this study, the efficacy of the rotavirus vaccines that have the potential to change circulating rotavirus genotypes was investigated by characterizing the genetic distribution of these strains from 745 stool samples collected from children under the age of five years who were hospitalized for acute gastroenteritis in three university hospitals located in Seoul, Incheon, and Gangwon province, South Korea from March 2008 to February 2010.

Wonyong Kim-1

Fig.1. Frequencies (%) of rotavirus G/P combinations among 279 samples, for which both G and P genotypes were determined among children <5 years of age in South Korea, from March 2008 to February 2010.

Wonyong Kim-2

Fig. 2. Phylogenetic tree based on the VP7-capsid coding gene sequences for the Korean rotavirus A genotype G9 strains. Korean strains are marked in bold and by triangle symbols. Species origin is designated as follows: Hu – human.

Of the 745 stool samples, 299 samples showed positive results for group A rotavirus. Genotype G1 was predominant, followed by G3, and G4. Of note, the first time of our studies, the G9 genotypes were greater predominance than the G2 genotypes (Table 1, Fig. 1). Phylogenetic tree showed that the G9 Korean study strains were grouped in lineage III together with other recent G9 reference strains collected during the 2008 and 2010 seasons (Fig. 2).

Table 1. Distribution of rotavirus G and P genotypes among children <5 years of age in South Korea, from March 2008 to February 2010Wonyong Kim-table1NT: non-typeable.


The data highlights the constancy of the predominant G1 genotype, and the slightly greater predominance of the G9 genotype over the G2 genotypes. These data will also be useful for identifying the circulating genotypes and provides baseline data for future vaccine studies.


Grant sponsor: Basic Science Research Program, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology; Grant number: 2010-0012857.

Wonyong Kim-3


Wonyong Kim, Ph.D.

Professor of Microbiology

Head of Department, The Graduate School of Medicine

President of Industry-Academic Cooperation Foundation

Chung-Ang University

84, Heukseok-ro, Dongjak-gu, Seoul 156-861, South Korea



Multiselect Ultimate Query Plugin by InoPlugs Web Design Vienna | Webdesign Wien and Juwelier SchönmannMultiselect Ultimate Query Plugin by InoPlugs Web Design Vienna | Webdesign Wien and Juwelier Schönmann