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Spectrum of Enterovirus Serotypes Causing Uncomplicated Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease and Enteroviral Diagnostic Yield of Different Clinical Samples.

Background: Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) represents a substantial disease burden in the Western Pacific region. We investigated the spectrum of causative enteroviruses of HFMD, and evaluated different clinical samples' diagnostic yield for enteroviruses.

Methods: We enrolled pediatric patients hospitalized for HFMD among 6 hospitals in Anhua County, Hunan Province, China between October 2013 and September 2016. Throat swabs and stool samples (or rectal swabs) were collected to detect the enterovirus serotypes by real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or nested PCR.

Results: Among the 2836 patients, only 1 developed severe illness. Seventeen serotypes were identified in 2401 patients (85%), with the most frequently detected being CV-A16 (29% [814]), CV-A6 (28% [784]), EV-A71 (17% [491]), CV-A10 (4% [114]), and CV-A4 (2% [53]). Children were younger in CV-A6, CV-A10, and CV-A4 infections (median, 12 months; interquartile range [IQR], 12-24 months) than EV-A71 and CV-A16 infections (median, 24 months; IQR, 12-36 months; P < .05). The predominant enterovirus serotype shifted between CV-A16 and CV-A6 during the 3 years. Stool had a higher diagnostic yield (89%) than rectal (77%) and throat swabs (74%). Detection rates reached 93% when testing stools followed by throat swabs if stools were negative, and 89% when testing rectal swabs followed by throat swabs if rectal swabs were negative.

Conclusions: Our results provide a virological benchmark for future surveillance and diagnostics. Continuous comprehensive virological surveillance is essential, especially after implementation of the EV-A71 vaccine in China, to monitor serotype replacement and the vaccine's impact.

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