Distribution and genetic variability of sapoviruses in Africa

Kgomotso Makhaola, Sikhulile Moyo, Lemme P. Kebaabetswe

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


In this review, we describe the distribution and genetic diversity of sapoviruses detected among humans, animals and the environment in African countries. Databases were searched for studies conducted in African countries and published between Jan 2005 and Mar 2019. Only studies where RT- PCR was used for initial detection were included in the systematic review. We identified 27 studies from14 African countries with 18 focused on human sapoviruses, two on animal sapoviruses and seven on sapoviruses observed in the environment. Samples. The overall estimated pooled prevalence of human sapovirus infections among symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals was similar at 5.0% (95% Confidence Interval (CI): 3.0-7.0) and 2.0% (95% CI: 1.0-3.0), respectively. In environmental samples sapovirus detection rates ranged from 0% to 90% while in animal studies it was 1.7% to 34.8%. Multiple causes of gastroenteritis, sensitivity of detection method used, diversity of sapovirus strains and rotavirus vaccine coverage rate are some of the factors that could have contributed to the wide range of sapovirus detection rates that were reported. The studies reported human genogroups GI, GII, and GIV, with genogroup GI being the most prevalent. Some potential novel strains were detected from animal samples. Most studies genotyped a small portion of either the capsid and/or polymerase region. However, this is a limitation as it does not allow for detection of recombinants that occur frequently in sapoviruses. More studies with harmonized genotyping protocols that cover longer ranges of the sapovirus genome are needed to provide more information on the genomic characterization of sapoviruses circulating in African countries. Further investigations on animal to human transmission for sapoviruses are needed as inter-species transmissions have been documented for other viruses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number490
Number of pages19
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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