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.
There is a need for the development of a rapid and sensitive diagnosis of respiratory viral pathogens. With an intended application in provincial Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention, in this study, we present a two-tube multiplex RT-PCR assay (two-tube assay) using automatic electrophoresis to simultaneously detect sixteen common respiratory viruses. The specificity and the sensitivity of the assay were tested. The assay could detect 20–200 copies per reaction when each viral type was assayed individually, 2000 copies with 9 premixed viral targets in the multiplexed assay in tube 1, and 200 copies with 8 premixed templates in tube 2. A total of 247 specimens were used to evaluate the two-tube assay, and the results were compared with those obtained from the Luminex xTAG RVP Fast assay. The discordant results were confirmed by sequencing or by the Seeplex RV15 ACE detection kit. There were no false positives, but six false negatives occurred with the two-tube assay. In conclusion, the two-tube assay is demonstrated to have great potential for routine surveillance of respiratory virus infection in China.
VPg uridylylation is essential for picornavirus RNA replication. The VPg uridylylation reaction consists of the binding of VPg to 3D polymerase (3Dpol) and the transfer of UMP by 3Dpol to the hydroxyl group of the third amino acid Tyr of VPg. Previous studies suggested that different picornaviruses employ distinct mechanisms during VPg binding and uridylylation. Here, we report a novel site (Site-311, located at the base of the palm domain of EV71 3Dpol) that is essential for EV71 VPg uridylylation as well as viral replication. Ala substitution of amino acids (T313, F314, and I317) at Site-311 reduced the VPg uridylylation activity of 3Dpol by >90%. None of the Site-311 mutations affected the RNA elongation activity of 3Dpol, which indicates that Site-311 does not directly participate in RNA polymerization. However, mutations that abrogated VPg uridylylation significantly reduced the VPg binding ability of 3Dpol, which suggests that Site-311 is a potential VPg binding site on enterovirus 71 (EV71) 3Dpol. Mutation of a polymerase active site in 3Dpol and Site-311 in 3Dpol remarkably enables trans complementation to restore VPg uridylylation. In contrast, two distinct Site-311 mutants do not cause trans complementation in vitro. These results indicate that Site-311 is a VPg binding site that stabilizes the VPg molecule during the VPg uridylylation process and suggest a two-molecule model for 3Dpol during EV71 VPg uridylylation, such that one 3Dpol presents the hydroxyl group of Tyr3 of VPg to the polymerase active site of another 3Dpol, which in turn catalyzes VPg→VPg-pU conversion. For genome-length RNA, the Site-311 mutations that reduced VPg uridylylation were lethal for EV71 replication, which indicates that Site-311 is a potential antiviral target.
Acute respiratory infections (ARIs) are the leading cause of children and their leading killer. ARIs are responsible for at least six percent of the world's disability and death. Viruses are one of the most common agents causing ARIs. Few studies on the viral etiology and clinical characteristics of ARIs have been performed in the northwest region of China, including Gansu Province.
Clinical and demographic information and throat swabs were collected from 279 patients from January 1st to December 30st, 2011. Multiplex RT-PCR was performed to detect 16 respiratory viral pathogens.
279 patients were admitted for ARIs. The patients aged from 1 month to 12 years, with the median age of 2 years. Of which, 105 (37.6%) were positive for at least one pathogen. A total of 136 respiratory viral pathogens were identified from the 105 patients. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) was the most frequently detected pathogen (26.5%, 36/136), followed by parainfluenza virus (PIV) 1–3 (22.1%, 30/136), human rhinovirus (HRV) (21.3%, 29/136), human coronavirus (CoV) (10.3%, 14/136) and human adenovirus (HAdV) (9.6%, 13/136). Influenza A (Flu A), human metapneumovirus (hMPV) and human bocavirus (BoCA) were found 4.4%, 3.7% and 2.2%, respectively. Influenza B (Flu B) and seasonal influenza A H1N1(sH1N1) were not detected. Single-infections were detected in 30.5% (85/279) of cases. RSV was the most common pathogens in patients under 1 year and showed seasonal variation with peaks during winter and spring.
This paper presents data on the epidemiology of viral pathogens associated with ARIs among children in Gansu Province, China. RSV is most frequently detected in our study. The findings could serve as a reference for local CDC in drawing up further plans to prevent and control ARIs.
It is known that mumps virus (MuV) strains may vary in their neurovirulent capacity, and certain MuV strains may be highly neurotropic. In animal models and epidemiological studies, mutations at specific amino acids (aa) have been proposed to be associated with neurovirulence. To assess whether these genetic variations can be observed in clinical samples from patients and if they correlate with neurovirulence as determined by clinical symptoms, 39 mumps patients with or without neurological symptoms were investigated.
Respiratory samples, oral fluids, throat swabs, and neurological and cerebrospinal fluid samples were tested by RT-PCR and products sequenced. Sequences of the entire small hydrophobic (SH) gene and the partial hemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN) gene were compared.
The results showed there was no significant difference between the samples of the two groups of patients at the aa sites in either the HN protein or the SH protein, which have previously been hypothesized to be associated with neurovirulence or antigenicity. The occurrence of neurological symptoms of mumps does not appear to be due to a single point mutation in either the HN or SH gene.
Large-scale Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD) outbreaks have frequently occurred in China since 2008, affecting more than one million children and causing several hundred children deaths every year. The pathogens of HFMD are mainly human enteroviruses (HEVs). Among them, human enterovirus 71 (HEV71) and coxsackievirus A16 (CVA16) are the most common pathogens of HFMD. However, other HEVs could also cause HFMD. To rapidly detect HEV71 and CVA16, and ensure detection of all HEVs causing HFMD, two real-time hybridization probe-based RT-PCR assays were developed in this study. One is a multiplex real-time RT-PCR assay, which was developed to detect and differentiate HEV71 specifically from CVA16 directly from clinical specimens within 1–2 h, and the other is a broad-spectrum real-time RT-PCR assay, which targeted almost all HEVs. The experiments confirmed that the two assays have high sensitivity and specificity, and the sensitivity was up to 0.1 TCID50/ml for detection of HEVs, HEV71, and CVA16, respectively. A total of 213 clinical specimens were simultaneously detected by three kinds of assays, including the two real-time RT-PCR assays, direct conventional RT-PCR assay, and virus isolation assay on human rhabdomyosarcoma cells (RD cells). The total positive rate of both HEV71 and CVA16 was 69.48% with real-time RT-PCR assay, 47.42% with RT-PCR assay, and 34.58% with virus isolation assay. One HFMD clinical specimen was positive for HEV, but negative for HEV71 or CVA16, which was identified as Echovirus 11 (Echo11) by virus isolation, RT-PCR, and sequencing for the VP1 gene. The two real-time RT-PCR assays had been applied in 31 provincial HFMD labs to detect the pathogens of HFMD, which has contributed to the rapid identification of the pathogens in the early stages of HFMD outbreaks, and helped to clarify the etiologic agents of HFMD in China.
A series of different rubella vaccination strategies were implemented to control rubella and prevent congenital rubella virus infection in Beijing, China. The rubella vaccine was available in 1995 in Beijing, and was introduced into the Beijing immunization program (vaccine recipients at their own expense vaccination) in 2000, and was introduced into the National Expanded Program on Immunization (vaccine recipients free vaccination) in 2006. Rubella virological surveillance started in Beijing in 2007.
The reported rubella incidence rate has decreased dramatically due to the introduction of the vaccine in Beijing since 1995. However, rubella epidemics occurred regardless in 2001 and 2007. The incidence rate among the floating population has gradually increased since 2002, reaching 2 or more times that in the permanent resident population. The peak age of rubella cases gradually changed from <15 years of age to adults after 2005. Phylogenetic analysis was performed and a phylogenetic tree was constructed based on the World Health Organization standard sequence window for rubella virus isolates. All Beijing rubella virus isolates belong to genotype 1E/cluster1 and were clustered interspersed with viruses from other provinces in China. The effective number of infections indicated by a Bayesian skyline plot remained constant from 2007 to 2011.
The proportion of rubella cases among the floating population has increased significantly in Beijing since 2002, and the disease burden gradually shifted to the older age group (15- to 39-year olds), which has become a major group with rubella infection since 2006. Genotype 1E rubella virus continuously caused a rubella epidemic in Beijing in 2007–2011 and was the predominant virus, and all Beijing genotype 1E viruses belong to cluster 1, which is also widely circulated throughout the country.
Rubella epidemics; Rubella virus; Genotype 1E, Beijing
Environmental surveillance is an effective approach in investigating circulating enteroviruses and had been conducted in the cities of Jinan and Linyi since February 2008 and April 2010, respectively. This study analyzed 46 sewage samples collected in the two cities in 2011 and found that echovirus 6 (E6) was the predominant serotype, with 134 isolates (65 in Jinan and 69 in Linyi) from 23 (50%) samples. This differs from the 2010 data that found 29 E6 isolates in Jinan and only 3 in Linyi. Phylogenetic analysis of the VP1 coding region showed that all environmental E6 samples from 2008 to 2011 (n = 167) segregated into two lineages and revealed an increase in VP1 gene diversity in 2011, suggesting that the increased number of E6 detections reflects a real epidemic in the two cities. Most Linyi isolates (n = 61, or 88%) in 2011 segregated into sublineage 1a, together with 18 Jinan isolates in 2011. Interestingly, the ancestral VP1 sequence of sublineage 1a inferred using the maximum-likelihood method had 100% identity with the sequence of one environmental isolate from Jinan in August 2010, suggesting an intercity spread from Jinan to Linyi. By Bayesian phylodynamic methods, the most recent common ancestor of Linyi isolates in sublineage 1a dated back to 24 December 2010, revealing that this sublineage was likely imported into Linyi from August to December in 2010. This study demonstrates that environmental surveillance is a sensitive method in tracing transmission pathways of circulating enteroviruses among different regions and reveals that E6-associated aseptic meningitis is an emerging concern in China.
The genome of HAdV-B14p1 strain BJ430, isolated from a six-month-old baby diagnosed with bronchial pneumonia at the Beijing Children’s Hospital in December 2010, was sequenced, analyzed, and compared with reference adenovirus genome sequences archived in GenBank. This genome is 34,762 bp in length, remarkably presenting 99.9% identity with the genome from HAdV14p1 strain 303600, which was isolated in the USA (2006). Even more remarkable, it is 99.7% identical with the HAdV-B14p (prototype “de Wit” strain) genome, isolated from The Netherlands in 1955. The patient and its parents presumably had no or limited contact with persons from the USA and Ireland, both of which reported outbreaks of the re-emergent virus HAdV-14p1 recently. These genome data, its analysis, and this report provide a reference for any additional HAdV-B14 outbreak in China and provide the basis for the development of adenovirus vaccines and molecular pathogen surveillance protocols in high-risk areas.
Coxsackievirus A1 (CVA1) belongs to human enterovirus species C within the family Picornaviridae, order Picornavirales. Two Chinese CVA1 isolates, HT-THLH02F/XJ/CHN/2011 and KS-ZPH01F/XJ/CHN/2011, were isolated from stool specimens of two healthy children in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region of China. They were found to elicit cytopathic effects in a human rhabdomyosarcoma cell line, and complete genome sequences of these two CVA1 isolates revealed that natural intertypic recombination events occurred between CVA1 and CVA22.
Genetic recombination is a well-known phenomenon for enteroviruses. To investigate the genetic characterization and the potential recombination of enterovirus 71 (EV71) circulating in China, we determined the 16 complete genome sequences of EV71 isolated from Hand Foot Mouth Disease (HFMD) patients during the large scale outbreak and non-outbreak years since 1998 in China. The full length genome sequences of 16 Chinese EV71 in present study were aligned with 186 genome sequences of EV71 available from GenBank, including 104 China mainland and 82 international sequences, covering the time period of 1970–2011. The oldest strains of each subgenotype of EV71 and prototype strains of HEV-A were included to do the phylogenetic and Simplot analysis. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that all Chinese strains were clustered into C4 subgenotype of EV71, except for HuB/CHN/2009 clustered into A and Xiamen/CHN/2009 clustered into B5 subgenotype. Most of C4 EV71 were clustered into 2 predominant evolutionary branches: C4b and C4a evolutionary brunches. Our comprehensive recombination analysis showed the evidence of genome recombination of subgenotype C4 (including C4a and C4b) sequences between structural genes from genotype C EV71 and non-structural genes from the prototype strains of CAV16, 14 and 4, but the evidence of intratypic recombination between C4 strains and B subgenotype was not enough strong. This intertypic recombination C4 viruses were first seen in 1998 and became the predominant endemic viruses circulating in China mainland for at least 14 years. A shift between C4a and C4b evolutionary brunches of C4 recombination viruses were observed, and C4a viruses have been associated with large scale nationwide HFMD outbreak with higher morbidity and mortality since 2007.
The Chinese human adenovirus 7 (HAdV7) 0901HZ/ShX/CHN/2009 was isolated from the hydrothorax fluid of an infant with fatal pneumonia in Shaanxi, China, in 2009. Comparison of the entire genome with the genomes of the other 10 strains of HAdV7 from GenBank revealed homologies of 89.9 to 99.9%, with geographic polymorphism among HAdV-7 field strains circulating in mainland China.
Human enterovirus 85 (HEV85), whose prototype strain (Strain BAN00-10353/BAN/2000) was isolated in Bangladesh in 2000, is a recently identified serotype within the human enterovirus B (HEV-B) species. At present, only one nucleotide sequence of HEV85 (the complete genome sequence of the prototype strain) is available in the GenBank database.
In this study, we report the genetic characteristics of 33 HEV85 isolates that circulated in the Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region of China in 2011. Sequence analysis revealed that all these Chinese HEV85 isolates belong to 2 transmission chains, and intertypic recombination was found with the new unknown serotype HEV-B donor sequences. Two HEV85 isolates recovered from a patient presenting acute flaccid paralysis and one of his contacts were temperature-insensitive strains, and some nucleotide substitutions in the non-coding regions and in the 2C or 3D coding regions may have affected the temperature sensitivity of HEV85 strains.
The Chinese HEV85 recombinant described in this study trapped a new unknown serotype HEV-B donor sequence, indicating that new unknown HEV-B serotypes exist or circulate in Xinjiang of China. Our study also indicated that HEV85 is a prevalent and common enterovirus serotype in Xinjiang.
A Chinese human enterovirus 85 (HEV85) isolate, HTYT-ARL-AFP02F/XJ/CHN/2011, was isolated from a stool specimen of a child with acute flaccid paralysis in Xinjiang, China, in 2011. The complete genome sequence revealed that a natural intertypic recombination event had occurred between HEV85 and a previously undescribed serotype of HEV-B.
The major etiology of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is infection with human enterovirus A (HEV-A). Among subtypes of HEV-A, coxsackievirusA16 (CoxA16) and enterovirus 71 (EV71) are major causes for recurrent HFMD among infants and children in Jiangsu Province, mainland China. Here, we analyzed maternal antibodies between prenatal women and their neonates, to determine age-specific seroprevalence of human EV71 and CoxA16 infections in infants and children aged 0 to 15 years. The results may facilitate the development of immunization against HFMD.
This study used cross-section of 40 pairs of pregnant women and neonates and 800 subjects aged 1 month to 15 years old. Micro-dose cytopathogenic effects measured neutralizing antibodies against EV71 and CoxA16. Chi-square test compared seroprevalence rates between age groups and McNemar test, paired-Samples t-test and independent-samples t-test analyzed differences of geometric mean titers.
A strong correlation between titers of neutralizing antibody against EV71 and CoxA16 in prenatal women and neonates was observed (rEV71 = 0.67, rCoxA16 = 0.56, respectively, p < 0.05). Seroprevalence rates of anti-EV71 antibody gradually decreased with age between 0 to 6 months old, remained low between 7 to 11 months (5.0–10.0%), and increased between 1 and 4 years (22.5–87.5%). Age-specific seroprevalence rates of anti-EV71 antibody stabilized in >80% of children between 5 to 15 years of age. However, seroprevalence rates of anti-CoxA16 antibody were very low (0.0–13.0%) between 0 to 6 months of age, gradually increased between 7 months to 4 years (15.0–70.0%), and stabilized at 54.0% (108/200) between 5 to 15 years. Seroprevalence rates against EV71 and CoxA16 were low under 1 year (0.0–10.0%), and showed an age dependent increase with high seroprevalence (52.5–62.5%) between 4 and10 years of age.
Concomitant infection of EV71 and CoxA16 was common in Jiangsu Province. Therefore, development of bivalent vaccine against both EV71 and CoxA16 is critical. The optimal schedule for vaccination may be 4 to11 months of age.
Human enterovirus71; CoxsackievirusA16; Maternally-acquired immunity; Neutralizing antibody; Hand, foot and mouth disease; Seroepidemiology
The relevance of human parainfluenza viruses (HPIVs) to the epidemiology of acute respiratory infections (ARI) in China is unclear. From May 2008 to September 2010, 443 nasopharyngeal aspirates (NPAs) from hospitalized pediatric patients (age from 1 to 93 months) in Beijing were collected and screened for HPIVs and other common respiratory viruses by real-time RT-PCR. Sixty-two of 443 samples were positive for HPIVs with 4 positive for HPIV-2 and 58 positive for HPIV-3, indicating that HPIV-3 was the predominant virus present during the study period. A phylogenetic tree based on all the available HN (hemagglutinin-neuraminidase) sequences of HPIV-3 indicated that three distinct clusters (A,B, and C) were circulating with some temporal and regional clustering. Cluster C was further divided into sub-clusters, C1, C2, C3 and C4. HPIV-3 from Beijing isolates belonged to sub-cluster C3, and were grouped with the isolates from two Provinces of China and the neighboring country of Japan. Genetic analysis based on entire HN gene revealed that the HPIV-3 isolates from Beijing were highly similar with 97.2%–100% identity at the nucleotide level and these could be divided into two closely related lineages, C3a and C3b. These findings suggested that there was co-circulation of multiple lineages of HPIV-3 in the Beijing region during the study period. This is the first study to describe the epidemiology and molecular characterization of HPIVs in China.
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.
Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is a contagious enteroviral disease occurring primarily in young children and caused by enterovirus 71 (EV71), coxsackievirus A16 (CVA16), and other serotypes of coxsackievirus and echovirus. In this study, a GeXP analyzer-based multiplex reverse transcription (RT)-PCR assay (GeXP assay) consisting of chimeric primer-based PCR amplification with fluorescent labeling and capillary electrophoresis separation was developed to simultaneously identify nine serotypes of enteroviruses associated with HFMD in China, including EV71, CVA16, CVA4, -5, -9, and -10, and CVB1, -3, and -5. The RNAs extracted from cell cultures of viral isolates and synthetic RNAs via in vitro transcription were used to analyze the specificity and sensitivity of the assay. The GeXP assay detected as little as 0.03 tissue culture infective dose (TCID50) of EV71 and CVA16, 10 copies of panenterovirus, EV71, CVA16, CVB1, and CVB5, and 100 copies of 10 (including panenterovirus) premixed RNA templates. A total of 180 stool specimens collected from HFMD patients and persons suspected of having HFMD were used to evaluate the clinical performance of this assay. In comparison with the results of conventional methods, the sensitivities of the GeXP assay for detection of panenterovirus, EV71, and CVA16 were 98.79% (163/165), 91.67% (44/48), and 91.67% (33/36), respectively, and the specificities were 80.00% (12/15), 98.48% (130/132), and 100% (144/144), respectively. The concordance of typing seven other serotypes of enteroviruses with the results of conventional methods was 92.59% (25/27). In conclusion, the GeXP assay is a rapid, cost-effective, and high-throughput method for typing nine serotypes of HFMD-associated enteroviruses.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Enterovirus environmental surveillance on sewage from the city of Jinan, Shandong Province, China, was initiated in 2008. Thirty echovirus 6 (E6) strains—1 in 2008 and 29 in 2010—were isolated and identified. Most E6 isolates (n = 21) came from the sewage collected on August 2010, revealing high local E6 activity at that time. Interestingly, the VP1 sequences of most isolates, even from the same sewage, were not identical. Phylogenetic analysis of VP1 sequences revealed two lineages for these isolates, with 78.0 to 80.0% nucleotide identities with one another, 94.8 to 100.0% identity within the major lineage, and 92.7 to 98.5% identity within the minor one. The VP1 sequences of environmental isolates, clinical isolates from 1998 to 2010, and global E6 were subjected to evolutionary analysis using Bayesian phylodynamic methods. The inferred E6 VP1 ancestral sequence dated back to 1901 (range, 1873 to 1928) and evolved with 7.047 × 10−3 substitutions per site per year. Shandong E6 segregated into three clusters, and the two environmental lineages belonged to clusters A and C, which originated in 2003 and 1992, respectively. The antigenicity analysis via neutralization assay confirmed great antigenic differences between Shandong isolates and a prototype strain. These findings underscore the value of continuous environmental surveillance and genetic analysis to monitor circulating enteroviruses in the population and give further insight into E6 evolution.
Large-scale outbreaks of hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) occurred repeatedly in the Central Plain of China (Shandong, Anhui, and Henan provinces) from 2007 until now. These epidemics have increased in size and severity each year and are a major public health concern in mainland China.
Phylogenetic analysis was performed and a Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo tree was constructed based on the complete VP1 sequences of HEV71 isolates. These analyses showed that the HFMD epidemic in the Central Plain of China was caused by at least 5 chains of HEV71 transmission and that the virus continued to circulate and evolve over the winter seasons between outbreaks. Between 1998 and 2010, there were 2 stages of HEV71 circulation in mainland China, with a shift from evolutionary branch C4b to C4a in 2003–2004. The evolution rate of C4a HEV71 was 4.99×10-3 substitutions per site per year, faster than the mean of all HEV71 genotypes. The most recent common ancestor estimates for the Chinese clusters dated to October 1994 and November 1993 for the C4a and C4b evolutionary branches, respectively. Compared with all C4a HEV71 strains, a nucleotide substitution in all C4b HEV71 genome (A to C reversion at nt2503 in the VP1 coding region, which caused amino acid substitution of VP1–10: Gln to His) had reverted.
The data suggest that C4a HEV71 strains introduced into the Central Plain of China are responsible for the recent outbreaks. The relationships among HEV71 isolates determined from the combined sequence and epidemiological data reveal the underlying seasonal dynamics of HEV71 circulation. At least 5 HEV71 lineages circulated in the Central Plain of China from 2007 to 2009, and the Shandong and Anhui lineages were found to have passed through a genetic bottleneck during the low-transmission winter season.
Emerging epidemics of hand-foot-and-mouth disease (HFMD) associated with enterovirus 71 (EV71) has become a serious concern in mainland China. It caused 126 and 353 fatalities in 2008 and 2009, respectively. The epidemiologic and pathogenic data of the outbreak collected from national laboratory network and notifiable disease surveillance system. To understand the virological evolution of this emerging outbreak, 326 VP1 gene sequences of EV71 detected in China from 1987 to 2009 were collected for genetic analyses. Evidence from both traditional and molecular epidemiology confirmed that the recent HFMD outbreak was an emerging one caused by EV71 of subgenotype C4. This emerging HFMD outbreak is associated with EV71 of subgenotype C4, circulating persistently in mainland China since 1998, but not attributed to the importation of new genotype. Originating from 1992, subgenotype C4 has been the predominant genotype since 1998 in mainland China, with an evolutionary rate of 4.6∼4.8×10−3 nucleotide substitutions/site/year. The phylogenetic analysis revealed that the majority of the virus during this epidemic was the most recent descendant of subgenotype C4 (clade C4a). It suggests that the evolution might be one of the potential reasons for this native virus to cause the emerging outbreak in China. However, strong negative selective pressure on VP1 protein of EV71 suggested that immune escape might not be the evolving strategy of EV71, predicting a light future for vaccine development. Nonetheless, long-term antigenic and genetic surveillance is still necessary for further understanding.
From March to May 2006, type 1 circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV) was isolated from one case patient with acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) and six unimmunized healthy contacts in isolated mountain villages in Guangxi, China. We conducted epidemiological investigations in the affected communities and nucleotide sequence analyses of the cVDPV isolates. The results of the investigations showed that the AFP patient, an unimmunized 10-year-old boy, and five laboratory-confirmed contacts lived in the same village; one contact lived in a neighboring village. Only ∼27% of children 5 to 10 years of age in the affected villages had received three or more doses of the trivalent oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV). Nucleotide sequence analyses revealed that the cVDPV isolates differed from the Sabin 1 (S1) isolate at 1.4 to 2.2% of VP1 nucleotide positions and shared 12 nucleotide substitutions within VP1. All isolates were S1/S2/S1/S3 recombinants sharing common recombination junctions. Key determinants of attenuation were replaced. Phylogenetic analysis suggested that the cVDPV circulated locally for ∼12 months following the initiating OPV dose. No VDPVs were found after mass OPV immunizations, conducted from May to June 2006, that targeted all children <12 years of age. Our findings reinforce the point that VDPVs can emerge and spread in isolated communities with immunity gaps. Maintenance of sensitive AFP and poliovirus surveillance is essential to permit early detection and a rapid response to VDPV circulation.