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J Med Virol. 2007 Jul;79(7):1025-31.

Different genotype pattern of varicella-zoster virus obtained from patients with varicella and zoster in Germany.

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Institute of Virology and Antiviral Therapy, Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena, Jena, Germany.


The general use of the varicella vaccine requires the surveillance of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) strains in patients infected with VZV. This paper reports the data achieved from a prospective study of genotyping VZV in Germany, analyzing the restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) of the open reading frames (ORF) 38, 54, and 62 as well as the polymorphism of the R5 repeat region. The study included 177 patients with varicella. Seventy-eight patients with zoster served as controls. Results revealed that 78% of VZV strains in patients with varicella had the genetic profile of the dominant wild-genotype occurring in Europe and 22% had the markers of African or Asian strains. Varicella patients with the profile of African or Asian strains were significantly younger than patients with varicella caused by the dominant genotype. By contrast, all zoster patients exhibited strains representing the majority of wild-type strains in Europe. In conclusion, VZV strains from patients with varicella have a significantly higher genetic variability than viral strains from zoster patients. Since variants with the markers of African or Asian strains could only be found in young children with chickenpox, the results suggest a changing scene of VZV genotypes in Germany. As reasons, the spread of viruses, which may be imported originally by persons immigrating from warmer climates, or the recombination between wild-and vaccine-type viruses have to be considered.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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