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J Infect Dis. 1998 Sep;178(3):642-50.

Molecular analysis of rubella virus epidemiology across three continents, North America, Europe, and Asia, 1961-1997.

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Department of Biology, Georgia State University, Atlanta 30303, USA.


E1 gene nucleotide sequences of 63 rubella virus isolates from North America, Europe, and Asia isolated between 1961 and 1997 were compared phylogenetically. Two genotypes were evident: Genotype I contained 60 viruses from North America, Europe, and Japan, and genotype II contained 3 viruses from China and India. The genotype I isolates prior to 1970 grouped into a single diffuse clade, indicating intercontinental circulation, while most post-1975 viruses segregated into geographic clades from each continent, indicating evolution in response to vaccination programs. The E1 amino acid sequences differed by no more than 3%; thus, no major antigenic variation was apparent. Among 4 viruses from congenital rubella syndrome that occurred following reinfection, only one amino acid substitution occurred in several important epitopes, indicating that antigenic drift is not important in this phenomenon. However, 2 viruses isolated from chronic arthritis exhibited changes in these epitopes. Isolates of the RA 27/3 vaccine strain were readily identifiable by nucleotide sequence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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