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Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2012 Oct;19(10):1684-9. Epub 2012 Aug 22.

High susceptibility for enterovirus infection and virus excretion features in Tunisian patients with primary immunodeficiencies.

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Laboratory of Clinical Virology, WHO Reference Laboratory on Poliomyelitis, Institut Pasteur de Tunis, Tunisia.


To estimate the susceptibility to enterovirus infection and the frequency of long-term poliovirus excreters in Tunisian patients with primary immunodeficiencies (PIDs), enteroviruses were assessed in stool specimens of 82 patients with humoral, combined, and other PIDs. Isolated viruses were typed and intratyped by standard molecular techniques, and the whole VP1 region of poliovirus isolates was sequenced. Polioviruses were detected in 6 patients; all isolates were vaccine related. Five patients rapidly stopped excretion; one excreted a poliovirus type 1 isolate for several months, and the isolate accumulated up to 14 mutations in the VP1 region. Nonpolio enteroviruses were identified in 6 patients; 4 of them kept excreting the same strain for more than 6 months. The rate of enterovirus infection was 13.4% of the PID patients and 20.7% of those with an IgG defect; it greatly exceeded the rates generally found in Tunisian supposed-immunocompetent individuals (4.1% during the study period; P = 0.001 and P < 0.0001, respectively). Interestingly, patients with combined immunodeficiencies were at a higher risk for enterovirus infection than those with an exclusively B cell defect. A major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II antigen expression defect was found in 54% of enterovirus-positive patients and in the unique long-term poliovirus excreter. The study results also suggest that substitutive immunoglobulin therapy may help clearance of a poliovirus infection and that most PID patients have the ability to stop poliovirus excretion within a limited period. However, the high susceptibility of these patients to enterovirus infection reinforces the need for enhanced surveillance of these patients until the use of oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) is stopped.

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