Comparison of Diagnostic Clinical Samples and Environmental Sampling for Enterovirus and Parechovirus Surveillance in Scotland, 2010 to 2012

Euro Surveill. 2014 Apr 17;19(15):20772. doi: 10.2807/1560-7917.es2014.19.15.20772.


Human enteroviruses (EV) and parechoviruses (HPeV) within the family Picornaviridae are the most common causes of viral central nervous system (CNS)-associated infections including meningitis and neonatal sepsis-like disease. The frequencies of EV and HPeV types identified in clinical specimens collected in Scotland over an eight-year period were compared to those identified in sewage surveillance established in Edinburgh. Of the 35 different EV types belonging to four EV species (A to D) and the four HPeV types detected in this study, HPeV3 was identified as the most prevalent picornavirus in cerebrospinal fluid samples, followed by species B EV. Interestingly, over half of EV and all HPeV CNS-associated infections were observed in young infants (younger than three months). Detection of species A EV including coxsackievirus A6 and EV71 in clinical samples and sewage indicates that these viruses are already widely circulating in Scotland. Furthermore, species C EV were frequently identified EV in sewage screening but they were not present in any of 606 EV-positive clinical samples studied, indicating their likely lower pathogenicity. Picornavirus surveillance is important not only for monitoring the changing epidemiology of these infections but also for the rapid identification of spread of emerging EV and/or HPeV types.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Central Nervous System Infections / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Central Nervous System Infections / epidemiology*
  • Central Nervous System Infections / virology
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid / virology*
  • Enterovirus / genetics
  • Enterovirus / isolation & purification*
  • Feces / virology
  • Humans
  • Parechovirus / genetics
  • Parechovirus / isolation & purification*
  • Phylogeny
  • Picornaviridae Infections / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Picornaviridae Infections / epidemiology*
  • Picornaviridae Infections / virology
  • Prevalence
  • RNA, Viral / genetics
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Scotland
  • Sentinel Surveillance
  • Sepsis / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Sepsis / epidemiology
  • Sepsis / virology*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Serotyping
  • Sewage
  • Specimen Handling
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology


  • RNA, Viral
  • Sewage