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Virus Res. 2002 Apr 23;85(1):41-6.

Phylogenetic analysis of rhinovirus isolates collected during successive epidemic seasons.

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Department of Virology, Enterovirus Laboratory, National Public Health Institute (KTL), Mannerheimintie 166, FIN-00300 Helsinki, Finland.


Human rhinoviruses (HRV) have been shown to be the major causative agent for mild respiratory infections, but also associated with more serious diseases, such as acute otitis media and pneumonia in children, and asthma. Despite the economical and medical importance of HRV, little is known about the circulation and genetic diversity of HRV during a given season. The aim of this study was to genetically characterize HRV strains causing acute respiratory infections in a cohort of small children during a 2 years follow-up time. Genetic relationships between 61 HRV field isolates were studied using partial genomic sequencing in the VP4/VP2 region (420 nt) and phylogenetic analysis of these sequences. Sequences from the clinical isolates clustered in the two previously known phylogenetic clades, the designated genetic group 2 (including HRV 14) being more predominant. The maximum genetic variation within group 1 was 32.3% and within group 2 it was 32.7%. Several distinct clusters could be observed, some of which were strictly seasonal, whereas some other variants were detected during several seasons. The results of this study show striking genetic diversity of the HRV strains circulating in a given community during a short time.

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