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Arch Virol. 2007;152(4):727-38. Epub 2007 Jan 3.

Circulation of a type 1 recombinant vaccine-derived poliovirus strain in a limited area in Romania.

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Cantacuzino National Institute of Research-Development for Microbiology and Immunology, Bucharest, Romania.


After intensive immunisation campaigns with the oral polio vaccine (OPV) as part of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, poliomyelitis due to wild viruses has disappeared from most parts of the world, including Europe. Here, we report the characterization of a serotype 1 vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) isolated from one acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) case with tetraplegia and eight healthy contacts belonging to the same small socio-cultural group having a low vaccine coverage living in a small town in Romania. The genomes of the isolated strains appeared to be tripartite type 1/type 2/type 1 vaccine intertypic recombinant genomes derived from a common ancestor strain. The presence of 1.2% nucleotide substitutions in the VP1 capsid protein coding region of most of the strains indicated a circulation time of about 14 months. These VDPVs were thermoresistant and, in transgenic mice expressing the human poliovirus receptor, appeared to have lost the attenuated phenotype. These results suggest that small populations with low vaccine coverage living in globally well-vaccinated countries can be the origin of VDPV emergence and circulation. These results reaffirm the importance of active surveillance for acute flaccid paralysis and poliovirus in both polio-free and polio-endemic countries.

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