Research – Pooled prevalence and genetic diversity of norovirus in Africa: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Virology J

Food Borne Illness - Norovirus -CDC Photo



Noroviruses are the leading cause of acute gastroenteritis in all age groups globally. The problem is magnified in developing countries including Africa. These viruses are highly prevalent with high genetic diversity and fast evolution rates. With this dynamicity, there are no recent review in the past five years in Africa. Therefore, this review and meta-analysis aimed to assess the prevalence and genetic diversity of noroviruses in Africa and tried to address the change in the prevalence and genetic diverisity the virus has been observed in Africa and in the world.


Twenty-one studies for the pooled prevalence, and 11 out of the 21 studies for genetic characterization of norovirus were included. Studies conducted since 2006, among symptomatic cases of all age groups in Africa, conducted with any study design, used molecular diagnostic methods and reported since 2015, were included and considered for the main meta-analysis. PubMed, Cochrane Library, and Google Scholar were searched to obtain the studies. The quality the studies was assessed using the JBI assessment tool. Data from studies reporting both asymptomatic and symptomatic cases, that did not meet the inclusion criteria were reviewed and included as discussion points. Data was entered to excel and imported to STATA 2011 to compute the prevalence and genetic diversity. Heterogeneity was checked using I2 test statistics followed by subgroup and sensitivity analysis. Publication bias was assessed using a funnel plot and eggers test that was followed by trim and fill analysis.


The pooled prevalence of norovirus was 20.2% (95% CI: 15.91, 24.4). The highest (36.3%) prevalence was reported in Ghana. Genogroup II noroviruses were dominant and reported as 89.5% (95% CI: 87.8, 96). The highest and lowest prevalence of this genogroup were reported in Ethiopia (98.3%), and in Burkina Faso (72.4%), respectively. Diversified genotypes had been identified with an overall prevalence of GII. 4 NoV (50.8%) which was followed by GII.6, GII.17, GI.3 and GII.2 with a pooled prevalence of 7.7, 5.1, 4.6, and 4.2%, respectively.


The overall pooled prevalence of norovirus was high in Africa with the dominance of genogroup II and GII.4 genotype. This prevalence is comparable with some reviews done in the same time frame around the world. However, in Africa, an in increasing trained of pooled prevalence had been reported through time. Likewise, a variable distribution of non-GII.4 norovirus genotypes were reported as compared to those studies done in the world of the same time frame, and those previous reviews done in Africa. Therefore, continuous surveillance is required in Africa to support future interventions and vaccine programs.

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