Molecular typing and epidemiology of enteroviruses in Cyprus, 2003-2007.
ABSTRACT Human enteroviruses (HEVs) are responsible for a wide spectrum of clinical diseases. Even though usually associated with non-specific febrile illness, they are the most common cause of viral meningitis and pose a serious public-health problem, especially during outbreaks. Rapid detection and identification of HEV serotypes in clinical specimens are important in appropriate patient management and epidemiological investigation. A 5 year study (2003-2007) of clinical specimens from patients with viral meningitis and/or symptoms of enteroviral infection was carried out in Cyprus to determine the underlying enteroviral aetiology. Reverse transcription, followed by a sequential PCR strategy targeting the 5' non-coding region and VP1 region, was used for typing the isolated enteroviruses. The serotype of each isolate was determined by blast search of the VP1 amplicon sequence against GenBank. Clinical specimens from a total of 146 patients were diagnosed as enterovirus-positive. Twenty-two different serotypes were identified. The main strains identified were echovirus 18 and echovirus 30, followed by coxsackievirus B5, echovirus 9, echovirus 6, coxsackievirus A10 and coxsackievirus B2. However, rapid changes in serotype frequency and diversity were observed over time. Serotype distribution corresponded essentially with observations reported from other European countries in the same period. The present report demonstrates the epidemiology of enteroviruses in Cyprus from 2003 to 2007.