The Epidemiology of Noroviruses in Ghana: A Case Study of Norovirus Detection

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Chuan-Jay Jeffrey Chen
Belinda Lartey
Chantal Agbemabiese
George Armah, PhD
Adel Mahmoud, MD-PhD


Diarrheal diseases cause significant morbidity and mortality worldwide, particularly in children under age five. Most of the 2.5 million annual diarrhea-related deaths occur in developing countries, where access to treatment is limited by geographic, cultural and knowledge-based factors. Noroviruses, the leading cause of diarrhea in adults, are the second leading viral etiology of diarrhea in children behind rotaviruses, causing a roughly estimated 218,000 child deaths a year. The recent introduction of rotavirus vaccines throughout the world may open a path for noroviruses to take over as the leading viral etiology of diarrhea in children. However, while norovirus vaccines are still currently in development, the burden of norovirus disease in many developing nations has yet to be established. Through the analysis of 152 stool specimens collected from Ghanaian children presenting with diarrhea from 3 sites, this study demonstrates that noroviruses are a significant contributor to the childhood diarrheal disease burden in Ghana, responsible for at least 16.4% of all cases. The results help establish the baseline norovirus prevalence in this developing nation prior to the introduction of rotavirus vaccines and explore the potential for future interventions against this major viral etiology of childhood diarrhea. Moreover, a survey of the disparities in norovirus studies around the world leads to a call for standardized detection protocols.

Article Details

diarrheal disease, norovirus, rotavirus, vaccines, Ghana
Original Research
How to Cite
Chen, C.-J. J., Lartey, B., Agbemabiese, C., Armah, G., & Mahmoud, A. (2013). The Epidemiology of Noroviruses in Ghana: A Case Study of Norovirus Detection. The Columbia University Journal of Global Health, 3(2), 11–14.