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Microbiol Immunol. 2002;46(9):621-7.

Outbreak of central nervous system disease associated with hand, foot, and mouth disease in Japan during the summer of 2000: detection and molecular epidemiology of enterovirus 71.

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Infectious Disease Research Division, Hyogo Prefectural Institute of Public Health and Environmental Sciences, Kobe, Japan.


Few outbreaks of the serious enterovirus 71 (EV71) infections, which affect the central nervous system (CNS), had been reported in Japan before 2000. During June through August 2000, a patient died of pulmonary edema caused by brainstem encephalitis accompanied by EV71-induced hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD), and many patients complicated by serious CNS disease, including paralysis, were hospitalized in a restricted area in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan (K-area). During the same period, endemics of HFMD were reported in other areas in Hyogo Prefecture, where EV71 was isolated from HFMD patients, but few patients developed aseptic meningitis. The isolations of EV71 from K-area patients were difficult with the use of Vero cells, so the strains were isolated by use of GL37 cells; Vero cells, however, could isolate EV71 strains from other areas in Hyogo Prefecture. We sequenced VP4 coding regions of these EV71 isolates and found that the isolates from K-area had the same sequence, which, except for one isolate, was different from the sequences of EV71 strains isolated from other areas of Hyogo Prefecture. Although these results were not enough to state that EV71 from K-area was a virulent strain, it seemed reasonable to conclude that serious CNS diseases in K-area were caused by EV71 because it was the only infectious agent detected in the inpatients of K-area.

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