Following an increase in detection of enterovirus 68 (EV68) in community surveillance of respiratory infections in The Netherlands in 2010, epidemiological and virological analyses were performed to investigate the possible public health impact of EV68 infections. We retrospectively tested specimens collected from acute respiratory infections surveillance and through three children cohort studies conducted in The Netherlands from 1994 through 2010. A total of 71 of 13,310 (0.5%) specimens were positive for EV68, of which 67 (94%) were from symptomatic persons. Twenty-four (34%) of the EV68 positive specimens were collected during 2010. EV68-positive patients with respiratory symptoms showed significantly more dyspnea, cough and bronchitis than EV68-negative patients with respiratory symptoms. Phylogenetic analysis showed an increased VP1 gene diversity in 2010, suggesting that the increased number of EV68 detections in 2010 reflects a real epidemic. Clinical laboratories should consider enterovirus diagnostics in the differential diagnosis of patients presenting with respiratory symptoms.

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Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Meijer, S., van der Sanden, S., Snijders, B., Jaramillo-Gutierrez, G., Bont, L., van der Ent, C., … Koopmans, M., D.V.M. (2012). Emergence and epidemic occurrence of enterovirus 68 respiratory infections in The Netherlands in 2010. Virology, 423(1), 49–57. doi:10.1016/j.virol.2011.11.021