Enterovirus 71 infections have become a major public issue in the Asia-Pacific region due to the large number of fatal cases. To clarify the longitudinal molecular epidemiology of enterovirus 71 (EV71) in a community, we isolated 240 strains from children, mainly with hand-foot-and-mouth diseases, between 1990 and 2013 in Yamagata, Japan. We carried out a sequence analysis of the VP1 region (891 bp) using 223 isolates and identified six subgenogroups (B2, B4, B5, C1, C2 and C4) during the study period. Subgenogroups C1 and B2 were found only between 1990 and 1993 and have not reappeared since. In contrast, strains in subgenogroups C2, C4 and B5 appeared repeatedly with genomic variations. Recent reports from several local communities in Japan have suggested that identical predominant subgenogroup strains, which have also been found in the Asia-Pacific region, have been circulating in a wide area in Japan. However, it is likely that there is a discrepancy between the major subgenogroups circulating in the Asia-Pacific region and those in Europe. It is necessary to continue the analysis of the longitudinal epidemiology of EV71 in local communities, as well as on regional and global levels, to develop strategies against severe EV71 infections.
© 2014 The Authors.