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PLoS One. 2014 Jan 24;9(1):e86883. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0086883. eCollection 2014.

Genetic characteristics of the coxsackievirus A24 variant causing outbreaks of acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis in Jiangsu, China, 2010.

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Department of Acute Infectious Disease Control and Prevention, Jiangsu Province Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China.


During September 2010, an outbreak of acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis reemerged in Jiangsu, three years after the nationwide epidemic in China in 2007. In total, 2409 cases were reported, 2118 of which were reported in September; 79.8% of those affected were students or teachers, with a median age of 16 years. To identify and demonstrate the genetic characteristics of the etiological agent, 52 conjunctival swabs were randomly collected from four different cities. After detection and isolation, 43 patients were positive for coxsackievirus A24 variant according to PCR and 20 according to culture isolation. Neither adenovirus nor EV70 was detected. A phylogenetic study of the complete 3Cpro and VP1 regions showed that the Jiangsu isolates clustered into a new lineage, GIV-C5, with two uniform amino-acid mutations that distinguished them from all previous strains. Another new cluster, GIV-C4, formed by Indian isolates from 2007 and Brazilian isolates from 2009, was also identified in this study. Interestingly, our isolates shared greatest homology with the GIV-C4 strains, not with the isolates that were responsible for the nationwide acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis epidemic in China in 2007. Although all our isolates were closely related, they could be differentiated into two subclusters within GIV-C5. In conclusion, our study suggests that a new cluster of coxsackievirus A24 variant that had already evolved into diverse strains was associated with the acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis outbreaks in Jiangsu in September 2010. These viruses might have originated from the virus isolated in India in 2007, rather than from the epidemic strains isolated in China in 2007.

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