China experienced several large measles outbreaks in the past two decades, and a series of enhanced control measures were implemented to achieve the goal of measles elimination. Molecular epidemiologic surveillance of wild-type measles viruses (MeV) provides valuable information about the viral transmission patterns. Since 1993, virologic surveillnace has confirmed that a single endemic genotype H1 viruses have been predominantly circulating in China. A component of molecular surveillance is to monitor the genetic characteristics of the hemagglutinin (H) gene of MeV, the major target for virus neutralizing antibodies.
Analysis of the sequences of the complete H gene from 56 representative wild-type MeV strains circulating in China during 1993–2009 showed that the H gene sequences were clustered into 2 groups, cluster 1 and cluster 2. Cluster1 strains were the most frequently detected cluster and had a widespread distribution in China after 2000. The predicted amino acid sequences of the H protein were relatively conserved at most of the functionally significant amino acid positions. However, most of the genotype H1 cluster1 viruses had an amino acid substitution (Ser240Asn), which removed a predicted N-linked glycosylation site. In addition, the substitution of Pro397Leu in the hemagglutinin noose epitope (HNE) was identified in 23 of 56 strains. The evolutionary rate of the H gene of the genotype H1 viruses was estimated to be approximately 0.76×10−3 substitutions per site per year, and the ratio of dN to dS (dN/dS) was <1 indicating the absence of selective pressure.
Although H genes of the genotype H1 strains were conserved and not subjected to selective pressure, several amino acid substitutions were observed in functionally important positions. Therefore the antigenic and genetic properties of H genes of wild-type MeVs should be monitored as part of routine molecular surveillance for measles in China.
Wild-type measles viruses have been divided into distinct genetic groups according to the nucleotide sequences of their hemagglutinin and nucleoprotein genes. Most genetic groups have worldwide distribution; however, at least two of the groups appear to have a more limited circulation. To monitor the transmission pathways of measles virus, we observed the geographic distribution of genetic groups, as well as changes in them in a particular region over time. We found evidence of interruption of indigenous transmission of measles in the United States after 1993 and identified the sources of imported virus associated with cases and outbreaks after 1993. The pattern of measles genetic groups provided a means to describe measles outbreaks and assess the extent of virus circulation in a given area. We expect that molecular epidemiologic studies will become a powerful tool for evaluating strategies to control, eliminate, and eventually eradicate measles.
Measles virus (MeV) is monotypic, but genetic variation in the hemagglutinin H and nucleoprotein N genes can be analyzed by molecular epidemiologic techniques and used to study virus transmission patterns. The World Health Organization currently recognizes 8 clades (A-H) within which are 24 genotypes of MeV and one provisional genotype, d11. Genotype B3 is clearly the endemic genotype in most of African continent where it is widely distributed. We provide an update on the molecular characterization of wild-type MeVs that circulated in Cameroon between 2010 and 2011.
Viral RNA was extracted directly from samples obtained from clinically diagnosed measles patients using QIAamp viral RNA Mini Kit. Reverse transcription and PCR amplification of 634 nucleotides of the N gene was performed using the SuperScript™ III One-Step. Sequence analysis of 450 of the 634 nucleotides using Clustal X 2.0 program for multiple alignments and Mega version 5 for phylogenic analysis indicated that all the viruses belonged to genotype B3 with two distinct clusters. Twenty three (77%) belonged to subgroup B3.1 and the other 7 (23%) belonged to B3.3 a recently described subtype. Circulation of cluster 3 was detected in the Far-North Region (5/7) particularly along the Chad-Cameroon border in 2010 and later in Yaounde (2/7 in Biyem-assi Health District) the capital city of Cameroon in 2011.
This study highlights the endemic circulation in Cameroon of MeV B3 subtype 1, which probably has its source in the neighboring Nigeria, and the presence of the new subtype B3.3, suggesting a possible importation from Northern Africa where it was first described between 2008 and 2009.
Measles virus; Genotype B3; Nucleoprotein N; Cameroon
This report describes the genetic characterization of 297 wild-type measles viruses that were isolated in 24 provinces of China between 1995 and 2003. Phylogenetic analysis of the N gene sequences showed that all of the isolates belonged to genotype H1 except 3 isolates, which were genotype A. The nucleotide sequence and predicted amino acid homologies of the 294-genotype H1 strains were 94.7%–100% and 93.3%–100%, respectively. The genotype H1 isolates were divided into 2 clusters, which differed by approximately 2.9% at the nucleotide level. Viruses from both clusters were distributed throughout China with no apparent geographic restriction and multiple co-circulating lineages were present in many provinces. Even though other measles genotypes have been detected in countries that border China, this report shows that genotype H1 is widely distributed throughout the country and that China has a single, endemic genotype. This important baseline data will help to monitor the progress of measles control in China.
Genetic characterization of wild-type measles virus was studied using nucleotide sequencing of the C-terminal region of the N protein gene and phylogenetic analysis on 59 isolates from 16 provinces of China in 2004. The results showed that all of the isolates belonged to genotype H1. 51 isolates were belonged to cluster 1 and 8 isolates were cluster 2 and Viruses from both clusters were distributed throughout China without distinct geographic pattern. The nucleotide sequence and predicted amino acid homologies of the 59 H1 strains were 96.5%–100% and 95.7%–100%, respectively. The report showed that the transmission pattern of genotype H1 viruses in China in 2004 was consistent with ongoing endemic transmission of multiple lineages of a single, endemic genotype. Multiple transmission pathways leaded to multiple lineages within endemic genotype.
Real-time PCR has been developed to genotype measles virus (MV) isolates. MV strains circulating in epidemics in Gabon in 1984, Cameroon in 2001, Morocco in 2003, and France in 2004 were investigated. We developed a real-time amplification refractory mutation system PCR (RT-AMRS PCR) using SYBR green fluorescent dye. Six pairs of primers for RT-ARMS PCR were designed to specifically amplify genotypes A, B2, B3.1, B3.2, C2, and D7. Genotypes could be differentiated by melting curve analysis. All strains were also confirmed by direct sequencing. Using the result obtained by direct sequencing and phylogenetic analysis as the reference, the accuracy of MV by RT-ARMS PCR and melting curve analysis was 97%. However, the latter method is more rapid and sensitive than the former method. This method could be a useful tool for molecular epidemiological studies of MV, providing an efficient alternative for large-scale studies.
Molecular epidemiology of measles virus (MV) is important, not only to measure the success of measles vaccination programs but also to monitor the circulation and elimination of the virus worldwide. In this study, we compared MV obtained from patients before the 2003 mass vaccination MR campaign and viruses detected after 2003 until 2008 in Iran.
The nucleoprotein (N) gene of 29 MV strains circulating in Iran between 2002 and 2008 were amplified by RT-PCR and subjected to sequence and phylogenetic analysis.
Molecular characterization of MV studied here revealed that although the outbreaks in Iran were associated with MV genotype D4, the isolated viruses clearly belonged to several different lineages. Maximum and minimum homology within the 29 Iranian strains in our study was100% and 94.9% within the carboxyl terminus of the N gene, respectively. Using ClustalX program, the alignment of Iranian MV sequences showed nine lineages.
This study provides the usefulness of MV sequence analysis for the demonstration of local interruption of indigenous strain transmission as well as providing a valuable means for monitoring the elimination processes of MV control.
Measles; Genotype; Mass campaign; Iran
Importation of viruses from other continents caused prolonged circulation and large outbreaks in the WHO European Region.
During 2005–2006, nine measles virus (MV) genotypes were identified throughout the World Health Organization European Region. All major epidemics were associated with genotypes D4, D6, and B3. Other genotypes (B2, D5, D8, D9, G2, and H1) were only found in limited numbers of cases after importation from other continents. The genetic diversity of endemic D6 strains was low; genotypes C2 and D7, circulating in Europe until recent years, were no longer identified. The transmission chains of several indigenous MV strains may thus have been interrupted by enhanced vaccination. However, multiple importations from Africa and Asia and virus introduction into highly mobile and unvaccinated communities caused a massive spread of D4 and B3 strains throughout much of the region. Thus, despite the reduction of endemic MV circulation, importation of MV from other continents caused prolonged circulation and large outbreaks after their introduction into unvaccinated and highly mobile communities.
measles virus; molecular epidemiology; WHO European Region; years 2005-2006; research
Better understanding of transmission patterns will enhance control and elimination programs.
To determine the origin of the virus associated with a measles outbreak in Menglian County, Yunnan Province, People’s Republic of China, in 2009, we conducted genetic analyses. Phylogenetic analyses based on nucleoprotein (N) and hemagglutinin (H) gene sequences showed that these Menglian viruses were not closely related to sequences of any World Health Organization (WHO) reference strains representing the 23 currently recognized genotypes. The minimum nucleotide divergence between the Menglian viruses and the most closely related reference strain, genotype D7, was 3.3% for the N gene and 3.0% for the H gene. A search of the databases of GenBank, WHO, and the Health Protection Agency Measles Nucleotide Surveillance showed that the Menglian viruses, together with the 2 older non-Menglian viruses, could be members of a new proposed measles genotype, d11. The new genotype designation will allow for better description of measles transmission patterns, especially in the Southeast Asian and Western Pacific regions.
Measles virus; new genotype; phylogenetic analysis; viruses; research
Measles, caused by measles virus (MeV), is a common infection in children. MeV is a member of the genus Morbillivirus and is most closely related to rinderpest virus (RPV), which is a pathogen of cattle. MeV is thought to have evolved in an environment where cattle and humans lived in close proximity. Understanding the evolutionary history of MeV could answer questions related to divergence times of MeV and RPV.
We investigated divergence times using relaxed clock Bayesian phylogenetics. Our estimates reveal that MeV had an evolutionary rate of 6.0 - 6.5 × 10-4 substitutions/site/year. It was concluded that the divergence time of the most recent common ancestor of current MeV was the early 20th century. And, divergence between MeV and RPV occurred around the 11th to 12th centuries. The result was unexpected because emergence of MeV was previously considered to have occurred in the prehistoric age.
MeV may have originated from virus of non-human species and caused emerging infectious diseases around the 11th to 12th centuries. In such cases, investigating measles would give important information about the course of emerging infectious diseases.
Molecular characterization of wild-type measles viruses in China during 1995-2004 demonstrated that genotype H1 was endemic and widely distributed throughout the country. H1-associated cases and outbreaks caused a resurgence of measles beginning in 2005. A total of 210,094 measles cases and 101 deaths were reported by National Notifiable Diseases Reporting System (NNDRS) and Chinese Measles Laboratory Network (LabNet) from 2006 to 2007, and the incidences of measles were 6.8/100,000 population and 7.2/100,000 population in 2006 and 2007, respectively. Five hundred and sixty-five wild-type measles viruses were isolated from 24 of 31 provinces in mainland China during 2006 and 2007, and all of the wild type virus isolates belonged to cluster 1 of genotype H1. These results indicated that H1-cluster 1 viruses were the predominant viruses circulating in China from 2006 to 2007. This study contributes to previous efforts to generate critical baseline data about circulating wild-type measles viruses in China that will allow molecular epidemiologic studies to help measure the progress made toward China's goal of measles elimination by 2012.
Despite almost universal use of measles vaccines in recent decades, epidemics of the disease continue to occur. Understanding the role of primary vaccine failure (failure to seroconvert after vaccination) and secondary vaccine failures (waning immunity after seroconversion) in measles epidemics is important for the evaluation of measles control programs in developing countries. After a measles epidemic in São Paulo, Brazil, 159 cases previously confirmed by detection of specific immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies were tested for IgG avidity, and a secondary immune response, defined by an IgG avidity index of at least 30%, was established in 30 of 159 (18.9%) patients. Among the 159 patients, 107 (67.3%) had not been vaccinated and 52 (32.7%) had received one or more doses of measles vaccine. Of the 107 unvaccinated patients, 104 (97.2%) showed a primary immune response, defined as an IgG avidity index of less than 30%. Among the 52 patients with documented vaccination, 25 (48.1%) showed a primary immune response and 27 (51.9%) showed a secondary immune response, thereby constituting a secondary vaccine failure. Primary vaccine failure was observed in 13 of 13 patients vaccinated prior to 1 year of age and in 43.5 and 12.5%, respectively, of patients receiving one or two doses after their first birthdays. These results provide evidence that measurement of IgG avidity can be used to distinguish between primary and secondary vaccine failures in vaccinated patients with measles; the method can also be a useful tool for the evaluation of measles control programs.
A study of the effect of measles vaccination on the incidence of the disease in eight separate areas of England and Wales was begun in 1966. It showed an inverse association between the proportion of children vaccinated and the incidence of measles in the area in the following year, but measles epidemics occurred in several of the areas in subsequent years, despite continuing vaccinations.
Measles vaccination was introduced on a large scale in Britain in 1968. Analysis of the notification and vaccination statistics shows that the vaccination of about 10% of the child population (under 15 years) in 1968 sufficed to “replace” the measles epidemic which had been expected in the period October 1968 to September 1969 by a low incidence of the disease, typical of that in previous “interepidemic” years. Further, the effect of the vaccinations was to prevent the development of natural measles in susceptible unvaccinated children as well as in the vaccinated subjects. Thus the number of immune subjects in the community was increased by the vaccinations, but as a result there was a reduction in the number of subjects who acquired immunity from natural measles. These opposed results can therefore explain why vaccination may be effective in the community for only a year or two, though vaccination protects the individual for much longer.
It is estimated that a continuing vaccination rate of 40 to 50% of the children born each year would be necessary to replace the regular biennial measles epidemics in Britain by a continuous endemic incidence, and might perhaps lead to the disappearance of the disease without a further major epidemic, but that a continuing vaccination rate of 80 to 90% of children born each year would then be necessary to prevent its reintroduction. The long-term control of measles by vaccination will thus probably prove more difficult than for any other infectious disease.
New measles virus genotype will increase epidemiologic and virologic surveillance in Africa.
We report the first genetic characterization of wildtype measles viruses from Uganda. Thirty-six virus isolates from outbreaks in 6 districts were analyzed from 2000 to 2002. Analyses of sequences of the nucleoprotein (N) and hemagglutinin (H) genes showed that the Ugandan isolates were all closely related, and phylogenetic analysis indicated that these viruses were members of a unique group within clade D. Sequences of the Ugandan viruses were not closely related to any of the World Health Organization reference sequences representing the 22 currently recognized genotypes. The minimum nucleotide divergence between the Ugandan viruses and the most closely related reference strain, genotype D2, was 3.1% for the N gene and 2.6% for the H gene. Therefore, Ugandan viruses should be considered a new, proposed genotype (d10). This new sequence information will expand the utility of molecular epidemiologic techniques for describing measles transmission patterns in eastern Africa.
Measles; virus; isolation; sequencing; genotype; research
The European Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO/Europe) developed a strategic approach to halt the indigenous transmission of measles in its 53 Member States by 2015. In view of the goal of measles elimination, it is of great importance to assess the circulation of wild-type measles virus (MV). Genetic analysis is indispensable to understand the epidemiology of measles.
Urine and saliva samples were collected between May 2002 and December 2007, in order to find the origins and routes of wild type measles virus circulation. RT-PCR was performed on a total of 414 clinical samples of patients from different Italian regions. The results confirmed the genome presence in 199 samples, out of which 179 were sequenced. The sequences were genotyped by comparing the fragment coding for the carboxyl terminus of the nucleoprotein (450 nucleotides) with that one of the WHO reference strains.
From the year 2002 to the year 2007 phylogenetic analysis of measles sequences showed a predominant circulation of the D7 genotype in the Italian territory for the years 2002–2004. This genotype was replaced by D4 and B3 genotypes in the biennium 2006–2007. During the same period C2, A, D5 and D8 genotypes were also detected.
Genetic characterization of wild-type MV provides a means to study the transmission pathways of the virus, and is an essential component of laboratory-based surveillance. Knowledge of currently circulating measles virus genotype in Italy will help in monitoring the success of the measles elimination programme and will contribute to evaluate the effectiveness of future vaccination campaigns.
Measles outbreak; Molecular epidemiology; Genotype; Phylogenetic analysis
Genetic analysis of measles viruses associated with recent cases and outbreaks has proven to bridge information gaps in routine outbreak investigations and has made a substantial contribution to measles control efforts by helping to identify the transmission pathways of the virus.
Materials and methods
The present study describes the genetic characterization of wild type measles viruses from Uttar Pradesh, India isolated between January 2008 and January 2011. In the study, 526 suspected measles cases from 15 outbreaks were investigated. Blood samples were collected from suspected measles outbreaks and tested for the presence of measles specific IgM; throat swab and urine samples were collected for virus isolation and RT-PCR. Genotyping of circulating measles viruses in Uttar Pradesh was performed by sequencing a 450-bp region encompassing the nucleoprotein hypervariable region and phylogenetic analysis.
Results and conclusion
Based on serological results, all the outbreaks were confirmed as measles. Thirty eight strains were obtained. Genetic analysis of circulating measles strains (n = 38) in Uttar Pradesh from 235 cases of laboratory-confirmed cases from 526 suspected measles cases between 2008 and 2011 showed that all viruses responsible for outbreaks were within clade D and all were genotype D8.
Analysis of this region showed that it is highly divergent (up to 3.4% divergence in the nucleotide sequence and 4.1% divergence in the amino acid sequence between most distant strains). Considerable genetic heterogeneity was observed in the MV genotype D8 viruses in North India and underscores the need for continued surveillance and in particular increases in vaccination levels to decrease morbidity and mortality attributable to measles.
India; Epidemiology; Outbreak; Measles virus; Genotype D8
The advent of live-attenuated vaccines against measles virus during the 1960'ies changed the circulation dynamics of the virus. Earlier the virus was indigenous to countries worldwide, but now it is mediated by a limited number of evolutionary lineages causing sporadic outbreaks/epidemics of measles or circulating in geographically restricted endemic areas of Africa, Asia and Europe. We expect that the evolutionary dynamics of measles virus has changed from a situation where a variety of genomic variants co-circulates in an epidemic with relatively high probabilities of co-infection of the individual to a situation where a co-infection with strains from evolutionary different lineages is unlikely.
We performed an analysis of the partial sequences of the hemagglutinin gene of 18 measles virus strains collected in Denmark between 1965 and 1983 where vaccination was first initiated in 1987. The results were compared with those obtained with strains collected from other parts of the world after the initiation of vaccination in the given place. Intergenomic recombination among pre-/early-vaccination strains is suggested by 1) estimations of linkage disequilibrium between informative sites, 2) the decay of linkage disequilibrium with distance between informative sites and 3) a comparison of the expected number of homoplasies to the number of apparent homoplasies in the most parsimonious tree. No significant evidence of recombination could be demonstrated among strains circulating at present.
We provide evidence that recombination can occur in measles virus and that it has had a detectable impact on sequence evolution of pre-vaccination samples. We were not able to detect recombination from present-day sequence surveys. We believe that the decreased rate of visible recombination may be explained by changed dynamics, since divergent strains do not meet very often in current epidemics that are often spawned by a single sequence type. Signs of pre-vaccination recombination events in the present-day sequences are not strong enough to be detectable.
The incidence of rubella cases in China from 1991 to 2007 was reviewed, and the nucleotide sequences from 123 rubella viruses collected during 1999 to 2007 and 4 viral sequences previously reported from 1979 to 1984 were phylogenetically analyzed. Rubella vaccination was not included in national immunization programs in China before 2007. Changes in endemic viruses were compared with incidences of rubella epidemics. The results showed that rubella epidemics occur approximately every 6 to 8 years (1993/1994, 2001, and 2007), and a shift of disease burden to susceptible young adults was observed. The Chinese rubella virus sequences were categorized into 5 of the 13 rubella virus genotypes, 1a, 1E, 1F, 2A, and 2B; cocirculations of these different genotypes were found in China. In Anhui province, a shift in the predominant genotype from 1F and 2B to 1E coincided with the 2001 rubella epidemic. This shift may have occurred throughout China during 2001 to 2007. This study investigated the genotype distribution of rubella viruses in China over a 28-year period to establish an important genetic baseline in China during its prevaccination era.
Expansion of measles molecular surveillance to developing countries where measles is endemic will help facilitate measles control. Limited infrastructure in these areas is a barrier to referral of specimens suitable for measles virus (MV) genotyping. In this study, we demonstrate that oral fluid dried onto filter paper can be used for the detection and characterization of MV strains. Using this approach, an MV-positive sample by reverse transcriptase PCR could be obtained from 67% of serologically confirmed acute measles cases. Mimicking certain environmental conditions and duration of transportation established that MV RNA remained detectable and suitable for nucleic acid sequencing in oral fluid spots for at least 1 week. In the context of a measles outbreak in a remote region of the world where infrastructure is poor, oral fluid samples dried onto filter paper and sent to a specialized laboratory for testing will aid in the identification and characterization of the causative MV strain.
Although measles virus is an antigenically monotypic virus, nucleotide sequence analysis of the hemagglutinin and nucleoprotein genes has permitted the differentiation of a number of genotypes. In contrast, the fusion (F) protein is highly conserved; only three amino acid changes have been reported over a 40-year period. We have isolated a measles virus strain which did not react with an anti-F monoclonal antibody (MAb) which we had previously shown to be directed against a dominant antigenic site. This virus strain, Lys-1, had seven amino acid changes compared with the Edmonston strain. We have shown that a single amino acid at position 73 is responsible for its nonreactivity with the anti-F MAb. With the same MAb, antibody-resistant mutants were prepared from the vaccine strain. A single amino acid change at position 73 (R→W) was observed. The possibility of selecting measles virus variants in vaccinated populations is discussed.
Background and Objective
Continued suboptimal measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine uptake has
re-established measles epidemic risk, prompting a UK catch-up campaign in
2008–09 for children who missed MMR doses at scheduled age. Predictors
of vaccine uptake during catch-ups are poorly understood, however evidence
from routine schedule uptake suggests demographics and attitudes may be
central. This work explored this hypothesis using a robust evidence-based
Cross-sectional self-administered questionnaire with objective behavioural
Setting and Participants
365 UK parents, whose children were aged 5–18 years and had received
<2 MMR doses before the 2008–09 UK catch-up started.
Main Outcome Measures
Parents' attitudes and demographics, parent-reported receipt of
invitation to receive catch-up MMR dose(s), and catch-up MMR uptake
according to child's medical record (receipt of MMR doses during year 1
of the catch-up).
Perceived social desirability/benefit of MMR uptake
(OR = 1.76, 95%
CI = 1.09–2.87) and younger child age
(OR = 0.78, 95%
CI = 0.68–0.89) were the only independent
predictors of catch-up MMR uptake in the sample overall. Uptake predictors
differed by whether the child had received 0 MMR doses or 1 MMR dose before
the catch-up. Receipt of catch-up invitation predicted uptake only in the 0
dose group (OR = 3.45, 95%
CI = 1.18–10.05), whilst perceived social
desirability/benefit of MMR uptake predicted uptake only in the 1 dose group
(OR = 9.61, 95%
CI = 2.57–35.97). Attitudes and demographics
explained only 28% of MMR uptake in the 0 dose group compared with
61% in the 1 dose group.
Catch-up MMR invitations may effectively move children from 0 to 1 MMR doses
(unimmunised to partially immunised), whilst attitudinal interventions
highlighting social benefits of MMR may effectively move children from 1 to
2 MMR doses (partially to fully immunised). Older children may be best
targeted through school-based programmes. A formal evaluation element should
be incorporated into future catch-up campaigns to inform their continuing
Resurgence or outbreak of measles recently occurred in both developed and developing countries despite long-standing widespread use of measles vaccine. Measles incidence in China has increased since 2002, particularly in infants and in persons ≥ 15 years of age. It is speculated that infants may acquire fewer measles IgG from their mothers, resulting in the reduced duration of protection during their early months of life. This study aimed to clarify the reason of increased susceptibility to measles in young infants in China. Measles IgG in 24 measles infants ≤ 9 months of age and their vaccinated mothers was quantitatively measured. The mean measles neutralizing titer in the vaccinated mothers and in 13 age-match women with the histories of clinical measles were compared.
All the mothers were confirmed to be vaccinated successfully by the presence of measles IgG. Six vaccinated mothers were positive for measles IgM and had high concentrations of measles IgG and the neutralizing antibody, indicating underwent natural boosting. The mean measles neutralizing titer in 18 vaccinated mothers without natural boosting were significantly lower than that in 13 age-match women with the histories of clinical measles (1:37 vs 1:182, P < 0.05).
Our results suggest that infants born to mothers who acquired immunity to measles by vaccination may get a relatively small amount of measles antibody, resulting in loss of the immunity to measles before the vaccination age. Measures to improve the immunity in young infants not eligible for measles vaccination would be critical to interrupt the measles transmission in China.
We studied the molecular evolution of H gene in four prevalent Asian genotypes (D3, D5, D9, and H1) of measles virus (MeV). We estimated the evolutionary time scale of the gene by the Bayesian Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) method. In addition, we predicted the changes in structure of H protein due to selective pressures. The phylogenetic tree showed that the first division of these genotypes occurred around 1931, and further division of each type in the 1960–1970s resulted in four genotypes. The rate of molecular evolution was relatively slow (5.57×10−4 substitutions per site per year). Only two positively selected sites (F476L and Q575K) were identified in H protein, although these substitutions might not have imparted significant changes to the structure of the protein or the epitopes for phylactic antibodies. The results suggested that the prevalent Asian MeV genotypes were generated over approximately 30–40 years and H protein was well conserved.
In some populations, complete shifts in the genotype of the strain of measles circulating in the population have been observed, with given genotypes being replaced by new genotypes. Studies have postulated that such shifts may be attributable to differences between the fitness of the new and the old genotypes.
We developed a stochastic model of the transmission dynamics of measles, simulating the effects of different levels of migration, vaccination coverage and importation of new genotypes on patterns in the persistence and replacement of indigenous genotypes.
The analyses illustrate that complete replacement in the genotype of the strain circulating in populations may occur because of chance. This occurred in >50% of model simulations, for levels of vaccination coverage and numbers of imported cases per year which are compatible with those observed in several Western European populations (>80% and >3 per million per year respectively) and for the given assumptions in the model.
The interpretation of genotypic data, which are increasingly being collected in surveillance programmes, needs to take account of the underlying vaccination coverage and the level of the importation rate of measles cases into the population.
An oligonucleotide microarray hybridization method for identification of most known measles virus (MV) genotypes was developed. Like the conventional genotyping method, the microarray relied on detecting sequence differences in the 450-nucleotide region coding for the COOH-terminal 150 amino acids of the nucleoprotein (N). This region was amplified using PCR primers binding to all known MV genotypes. The microarray included 71 pairs of oligonucleotide probes (oligoprobes) immobilized on glass slides. Each pair consisted of a genotype-specific oligoprobe, which matched the sequence of only one target genotype, and a control oligoprobe, which contained mismatches at the nucleotide positions unique to this genotype. A pattern recognition algorithm based on cluster analysis of the ratios of hybridization signals from specific and control oligoprobes was used to identify the specific MV genotype. Following the initial validation, the method was used for rapid genotyping of two panels of coded samples. The results of this study showed good sensitivity (90.7%), specificity (100%), and genotype agreement (91.8%) for the new method compared to the results of genotyping conducted using phylogenetic analysis of viral sequences of the C terminus of the N gene. In addition, the microarray demonstrated the ability to identify potential new genotypes of MV based on the similarity of their hybridization patterns with those of known MV genotypes.