1887

Abstract

This report is an overview of enterovirus epidemiology in Tunisia during a 12-year period from 1992 to 2003. A total of 4700 clinical samples were collected as part of the national poliovirus surveillance programme and the routine diagnostic programme for aseptic meningitis. Enterovirus detection was performed by isolation on cell culture according to World Health Organization recommended protocols. Serotype identification was performed by seroneutralization of the cytopathic effect using pools of specific antisera and sequencing in the VP1 region of the genome. Poliovirus isolates were assessed for their wild or vaccine-related origin by standard World Health Organization recommended methods (PCR, probe hybridization and ELISA). The results confirm the interruption of wild poliovirus circulation since 1995. A total of 236 non-polio enterovirus (NPEV) strains were isolated; seroneutralization allowed typing of 93 % (219 out of 236) of them. The antisera used allowed the identification of the most common enterovirus serotypes. The remaining 17 isolates were sequenced; 16 of them belonged to enterovirus serotypes that were not targeted by the antisera pools used. A total of 29 different serotypes of NPEV were detected in the country during the study period. Echoviruses of serotypes 6, 11 and 30 were the most frequently isolated, almost every year; other serotypes had a cyclic occurrence and others were detected during a limited period with very few isolates. The NPEV isolation rate varied from year to year but was steadily under 10 %, suggesting a relatively low prevalence of these viruses in comparison to that in other developing countries. A seasonal variation was also noted; the high transmission period starts in March and peaks in September–November. This study is the first report of the epidemiology of NPEV in Tunisia. These viruses are associated with various diseases and epidemiological data may help to clarify their impact on human health.

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2005-01-01
2019-11-18
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