Epidemiology of enterovirus types causing neurological disease in Austria 1999-2007: detection of clusters of echovirus 30 and enterovirus 71 and analysis of prevalent genotypes

J Med Virol. 2009 Feb;81(2):317-24. doi: 10.1002/jmv.21374.


Between 1999 and 2007 1,388 stool specimens from patients with acute flaccid paralysis or aseptic meningitis were submitted to the Austrian reference laboratory for poliomyelitis. Samples (201) yielded non-poliovirus enterovirus in culture. One hundred eighty-one viruses were available for typing and 78 isolates which remained serologically untyped were further analyzed by CODEHOP-PCR and sequencing of the VP1 gene and the 5'-untranslated region (5'-UTR). Typing revealed an Echovirus 30 outbreak in northwestern Austria in 2000, which was in accordance with the situation in Europe, and no dramatic seasonal changes of Coxsackie viruses were observed. In 2002/2003 a small outbreak of enterovirus 71 (EV71), affected 12 patients in the province of Styria. This virus was identified as genotype C1 and appeared to be genetically distinct from the isolates observed in 2001/2002 in Vienna. In 2004 two unrelated cases occurred in Lower Austria, which were identified as genotype C4, which has been described associated with high mortality most recently in China. In contrast to the situation in Asia the detected EV71 cases were not associated with hand-foot-mouth disease, but with serous meningitis only. This was surprising as a recent publication suggested a reduced neurovirulence of C1 genotype in children in Norway, presumably due to alterations in 5'-UTR and polymerase gene. However, comparing the 5'-UTR of the Austrian isolates and established virulent reference strains to the Norwegian isolate and an attenuated EV71 laboratory strain we did not find an indication that the genotype C1 possesses a RNA structure in its 5'-UTR leading to reduced neurovirulence.

MeSH terms

  • 5' Untranslated Regions / genetics
  • Adolescent
  • Animals
  • Austria / epidemiology
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Enterovirus A, Human / genetics
  • Enterovirus A, Human / isolation & purification
  • Enterovirus A, Human / pathogenicity
  • Enterovirus A, Human / physiology*
  • Enterovirus B, Human / genetics
  • Enterovirus B, Human / isolation & purification
  • Enterovirus B, Human / pathogenicity
  • Enterovirus B, Human / physiology*
  • Enterovirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Enterovirus Infections / virology*
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Nervous System Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Nervous System Diseases* / virology
  • Vero Cells


  • 5' Untranslated Regions