Measles remains endemic in many East African countries, where it is often associated with high morbidity and mortality. We collected clinical specimens from Sudanese measles patients between July 1997 and July 2000. Sequencing of the 3' 456 nucleotides of the nucleoprotein gene from 33 measles virus (MV) isolates and 8 RNA samples extracted from clinical specimens demonstrated the presence of a single endemic MV strain with little sequence variation over time (overall nucleotide divergence of 0 to 1.3%). This was confirmed by sequencing of the complete H gene of two isolates from 1997 and two from 2000, in which the overall divergence ranged between 0 and 0.5%. Comparison with MV reference strains demonstrated that the viruses belonged to clade B, genotype B3, and were most closely related to a set of viruses recently isolated in Nigeria. Our study demonstrates a remarkable genetic stability of an endemically circulating MV strain.

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Journal of General Virology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

el Mubarak, H. S., Mustafa, O. A., Vos, H., Mukhtar, M. M., Ibrahim, S. A., Andeweg, A., … van de Bildt, M. (2002). Genetic characterization of wild-type measles viruses circulating in suburban Khartoum, 1997-2000. Journal of General Virology. Retrieved from