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1.  Spatiotemporal Analysis of Infant Measles Using Population Attributable Risk in Shandong Province, 1999–2008 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e79334.
Background
Reduction of measles incidence and mortality has been encouraging in China. However, it remains an important public health concern among infants. This study aimed to examine the space–time distribution pattern of infant measles occurrence for the period of 1999–2008 in Shandong, China.
Methods and Findings
Measles cases among infants aged younger than 1 year were obtained from the national infectious diseases reporting information system. A spatiotemporal analysis using population attributable risk percent (PAR%) was used to distinguish between multiple geographic clusters of potential interest. The analysis detected 29 statistically significant space–time clusters with the most likely cluster in Zaozhuang City from 2006 to 2008. Of the 28 secondary clusters, 22 were found in 2008. The map of PAR%, relative risk (RR) and space–time cluster analysis indicated that the clusters were generally unchanged, and were found south-west and north-west of Shandong. The Lanshan District in Linyi had the highest PAR%, while highest RR was in the Yicheng District in Zaozhuang.
Conclusion
There were significant space-time clusters of infant measles in Shandong over the study period. PAR% is an effective way to analyze multiple clusters from their application like RR. Interrupting measles circulation and maintaining routine coverage over 95% may be the only effective strategy to achieve measles elimination.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0079334
PMCID: PMC3833981  PMID: 24260199
2.  Genetic Characterization of the Hemagglutinin Genes of Wild-Type Measles Virus Circulating in China, 1993–2009 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e73374.
Background
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.
Principal Findings
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0073374
PMCID: PMC3779233  PMID: 24073194
3.  Emergence and Continuous Evolution of Genotype 1E Rubella Viruses in China 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2012;50(2):353-363.
In China, rubella vaccination was introduced into the national immunization program in 2008, and a rubella epidemic occurred in the same year. In order to know whether changes in the genotypic distribution of rubella viruses have occurred in the postvaccination era, we investigate in detail the epidemiological profile of rubella in China and estimate the evolutionary rate, molecular clock phylogeny, and demographic history of the predominant rubella virus genotypes circulating in China using Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo phylodynamic analyses. 1E was found to be the predominant rubella virus genotype since its initial isolation in China in 2001, and no genotypic shift has occurred since then. The results suggest that the global 1E genotype may have diverged in 1995 and that it has evolved at a mutation rate of 1.65 × 10−3 per site per year. The Chinese 1E rubella virus isolates were grouped into either cluster 1 or cluster 2, which likely originated in 1997 and 2006, respectively. Cluster 1 viruses were found in all provinces examined in this study and had a mutation rate of 1.90 × 10−3 per site per year. The effective number of infections remained constant until 2007, and along with the introduction of rubella vaccine into the national immunization program, although the circulation of cluster 1 viruses has not been interrupted, some viral lineages have disappeared, and the epidemic started a decline that led to a decrease in the effective population size. Cluster 2 viruses were found only in Hainan Province, likely because of importation.
doi:10.1128/JCM.01264-11
PMCID: PMC3264136  PMID: 22162559
4.  Rubella Epidemics and Genotypic Distribution of the Rubella Virus in Shandong Province, China, in 1999–2010 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e42013.
Background
The rubella vaccine was introduced into the immunization program in 1995 in the Shandong province, China. A series of different rubella vaccination strategies were implemented at different stages of measles control in Shandong province.
Methodology/Principal Findings
The average reported incidence rate of rubella cases remained at a low level in Shandong province after 1999. However, rubella epidemics occurred repeatedly in 2001/2002, 2006, and 2008/2009. The age of the onset of rubella cases gradually increased during 1999–2010, which showed that most cases were found among the 10 years old in 1999 and among the 17 years old in 2010. Phylogenetic analysis was performed and a phylogenetic tree was constructed based on the World Health Organization standard sequence window for rubella virus isolates. All rubella viruses isolated in Shandong province were divided into 4 genotypes: 1E, 1F, 2A, and 2B. Genotype 1E viruses accounted for the majority (79%) of all these viruses. The similarity of nucleotide and amino acid sequences among genotype 1E viruses was 98.2–100% and 99.1–100%, respectively. All Shandong genotype 1E strains, differed from international genotype 1E strains, belonged to cluster 1 and interdigitated with the viruses from other provinces in mainland China. The effective number of infections indicated by a Bayesian skyline plot remained constant from 2001 to 2009.
Conclusions/Significance
The gradual shift of disease burden to an older age group occurred after a rubella-containing vaccine was introduced into the childhood immunization schedule in 1995 in Shandong province. Four genotypes, including 1E, 1F, 2A, and 2B, were found in Shandong province during 2000–2009. Genotype 1E, rather than genotype 1F, became the predominant genotype circulating in Shandong province from 2001. All Shandong genotype 1E viruses belong to the genotype 1E/cluster 1; they have constantly circulated, and co-evolved and co-circulated, with those from other provinces.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0042013
PMCID: PMC3404038  PMID: 22911874
5.  Single Endemic Genotype of Measles Virus Continuously Circulating in China for at Least 16 Years 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e34401.
The incidence of measles in China from 1991 to 2008 was reviewed, and the nucleotide sequences from 1507 measles viruses (MeV) isolated during 1993 to 2008 were phylogenetically analyzed. The results showed that measles epidemics peaked approximately every 3 to 5 years with the range of measles cases detected between 56,850 and 140,048 per year. The Chinese MeV strains represented three genotypes; 1501 H1, 1 H2 and 5 A. Genotype H1 was the predominant genotype throughout China continuously circulating for at least 16 years. Genotype H1 sequences could be divided into two distinct clusters, H1a and H1b. A 4.2% average nucleotide divergence was found between the H1a and H1b clusters, and the nucleotide sequence and predicted amino acid homologies of H1a viruses were 92.3%–100% and 84.7%–100%, H1b were 97.1%–100% and 95.3%–100%, respectively. Viruses from both clusters were distributed throughout China with no apparent geographic restriction and multiple co-circulating lineages were present in many provinces. Cluster H1a and H1b viruses were co-circulating during 1993 to 2005, while no H1b viruses were detected after 2005 and the transmission of that cluster has presumably been interrupted. Analysis of the nucleotide and predicted amino acid changes in the N proteins of H1a and H1b viruses showed no evidence of selective pressure. This study investigated the genotype and cluster distribution of MeV in China over a 16-year period to establish a genetic baseline before MeV elimination in Western Pacific Region (WPR). Continuous and extensive MeV surveillance and the ability to quickly identify imported cases of measles will become more critical as measles elimination goals are achieved in China in the near future. This is the first report that a single endemic genotype of measles virus has been found to be continuously circulating in one country for at least 16 years.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0034401
PMCID: PMC3332093  PMID: 22532829
6.  Rubella Virus Genotypes in the People's Republic of China between 1979 and 2007: a Shift in Endemic Viruses during the 2001 Rubella Epidemic▿ † 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2010;48(5):1775-1781.
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.
doi:10.1128/JCM.02055-09
PMCID: PMC2863877  PMID: 20351211
7.  Genetic characterization of wild-type measles viruses isolated in China, 2006-2007 
Virology Journal  2010;7:105.
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.
doi:10.1186/1743-422X-7-105
PMCID: PMC2887432  PMID: 20500809
8.  Measles Resurgence Associated with Continued Circulation of Genotype H1 Viruses in China, 2005 
Virology Journal  2009;6:135.
Measles morbidity and mortality decreased significantly after measles vaccine was introduced into China in 1965. From 1995 to 2004, average annual measles incidence decreased to 5.6 cases per 100,000 population following the establishment of a national two-dose regimen. Molecular characterization of wild-type measles viruses demonstrated that genotype H1 was endemic and widely distributed throughout the country in China during 1995-2004. A total of 124,865 cases and 55 deaths were reported from the National Notifiable Diseases Reporting System (NNDRS) in 2005, which represented a 69.05% increase compared with 2004. Over 16,000 serum samples obtained from 914 measles outbreaks and the measles IgM positive rate was 81%. 213 wild-type measles viruses were isolated from 18 of 31 provinces in China during 2005, and all of the isolates belonged to genotype H1. The ranges of the nucleotide sequence and predicted amino acid sequence homologies of the 213 genotype H1 strains were 93.4%-100% and 90.0%-100%, respectively. H1-associated cases and outbreaks caused the measles resurgence in China in 2005. H1 genotype has the most inner variation within genotype, it could be divided into 2 clusters, and cluster 1 viruses were predominant in China throughout 2005.
doi:10.1186/1743-422X-6-135
PMCID: PMC2759936  PMID: 19737391
9.  Comparison of Four Methods Using Throat Swabs To Confirm Rubella Virus Infection▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2007;45(9):2847-2852.
Laboratory tests are essential for confirming sporadic cases and outbreaks of rubella. Detection of rubella virus is often necessary to confirm rubella cases and to identify specimens to be used to characterize wild-type rubella viruses. The sensitivities of four methods for detecting rubella virus infection using throat swabs, which had been collected in Henan and Anhui provinces in China, were evaluated. The methods used were reverse transcription (RT)-PCR followed by Southern hybridization using RNA extracted directly from clinical specimens, virus growth in tissue culture followed by virus detection by RT-PCR, low-background immunofluorescence in infected tissue culture cells using monoclonal antibodies to the structural proteins of rubella virus, and a replicon-based method of detecting infectious virus. Among these four methods, direct RT-PCR followed by hybridization was the most sensitive method; the replicon-based method was the least difficult to perform.
doi:10.1128/JCM.00289-07
PMCID: PMC2045274  PMID: 17596370
10.  Molecular epidemiology of measles viruses in China, 1995–2003 
Virology Journal  2007;4:14.
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.
doi:10.1186/1743-422X-4-14
PMCID: PMC1802751  PMID: 17280609

Results 1-10 (10)