Molecular characterization of enterovirus-A71 in children with acute flaccid paralysis in the Philippines

Lea Necitas Apostol, Hiroyuki Shimizu, Akira Suzuki, Rifqiyah Nur Umami, Maria Melissa Ann Jiao, Amado Tandoc, Mariko Saito, Socorro Lupisan, Hitoshi Oshitani

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Several inactivated enterovirus-A71 (EV-A71) vaccines are currently licensed in China; however, the development of additional EV-A71 vaccines is ongoing, necessitating extensive analysis of the molecular epidemiology of the virus worldwide. Until 2012, laboratory confirmation of EV-A71 for hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) and other associated diseases had not occurred in the Philippines. Because EV-A71 has been linked with cases of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP), AFP surveillance is one strategy for documenting its possible circulation in the country. To expand current knowledge on EV-A71, molecular epidemiologic analysis and genetic characterization of EV-A71 isolates were performed in this study. Methods: A retrospective study was performed to identify and characterize nonpolio enteroviruses (NPEVs) associated with AFP in the Philippines, and nine samples were found to be EV-A71-positive. Following characterization of these EV-A71 isolates, the complete viral protein 1 (VP1) gene was targeted for phylogenetic analysis. Results: Nine EV-A71 isolates detected in 2000 (n = 2), 2002 (n = 4), 2005 (n = 2), and 2010 (n = 1) were characterized using molecular methods. Genomic regions spanning the complete VP1 region were amplified and sequenced using specific primers. Phylogenetic analysis of the full-length VP1 region identified all nine EV-A71 Philippine isolates as belonging to the genogroup C lineage, specifically the C2 cluster. The result indicated a genetic linkage with several strains isolated in Japan and Taiwan, suggesting that strains in the C2 cluster identified in the Asia-Pacific region were circulating in the Philippines. Conclusion: The study presents the genetic analysis of EV-A71 in the Philippines. Despite some limitations, the study provides additional genetic data on the circulating EV-A71 strains in the Asia-Pacific region, in which information on EV-A71 molecular epidemiology is incomplete. Considering that EV-A71 has a significant public health impact in the region, knowledge of its circulation in each country is important, especially for formulating vaccines covering a wide variety of strains.

Original languageEnglish
Article number370
JournalBMC Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 May 2


  • Acute flaccid paralysis
  • Enterovirus A71
  • Foot and Mouth disease
  • Genogroup C2
  • Hand
  • Philippines


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