1887

Abstract

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most frequently identified viral agent in children with lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI). No data are available to date regarding RSV genotypes circulating in Tunisia.

The aim of the present study was to investigate the genetic variability of the glycoprotein G gene in Tunisian RSV strains.

Nasopharyngeal aspirates were collected from infants hospitalized for LRTI in five Tunisian hospitals. All specimens were screened for RSV by a direct immunofluorescence assay (DIFA). To molecularly characterize Tunisian RSV strains, a phylogenetic analysis was conducted. Randomly selected positive samples were subjected to reverse transcription PCR amplifying the second hyper-variable region (HVR2) of the G gene.

Among a total of 1417 samples collected between 2015 and 2018, 394 (27.8 %) were positive for RSV by DIFA. Analysis of 61 randomly selected RSV strains revealed that group A RSV (78.7 %) predominated during the period of study as compared to group B RSV (21.3 %). The phylogenetic analysis showed that two genotypes of RSV-A were co-circulating: the ON1 genotype with a 72-nt duplication in HVR2 of the G gene was predominant (98.0 % of RSV-A strains), while one RSV-A strain clustered with the NA1 genotype (2.0 %). Concerning Tunisian group B RSV strains, all sequences contained a 60-nt insertion in HVR2 and a clustered BA10 genotype.

These data suggest that RSV-A genotype ON1 and RSV-B genotype BA10, both with duplications in the G gene, were widely circulating in the Central coastal region of Tunisia between 2015 and 2018.

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2020-08-05
2020-10-22
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