Accurate estimates of rotavirus incidence in infants are crucial given disparities in rotavirus vaccine effectiveness from low-income settings. Sero-surveys are a pragmatic means of estimating incidence however serological data is prone to misclassification. This study used mixture models to estimate incidence of rotavirus infection from anti-rotavirus immunoglobulin A (IgA) titres in infants from Vellore, India, and Karonga, Malawi. IgA titres were measured using serum samples collected at 6 month intervals for 36 months from 373 infants from Vellore and 12 months from 66 infants from Karonga. Mixture models (two component Gaussian mixture distributions) were fit to the difference in titres between time points to estimate risk of sero-positivity and derive incidence estimates. A peak incidence of 1.05(95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.64, 1.64) infections per child-year was observed in the first 6 months of life in Vellore. This declined incrementally with each subsequent time interval. Contrastingly in Karonga incidence was greatest in the second 6 months of life (1.41 infections per child year [95% CI: 0.79, 2.29]). This study demonstrates that infants from Vellore experience peak rotavirus incidence earlier than those from Karonga. Identifying such differences in transmission patterns is important in informing vaccine strategy, particularly where vaccine effectiveness is modest.
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