Isolation and full-genome sequences of Japanese encephalitis virus genotype I strains from Cambodian human patients, mosquitoes and pigs

J Gen Virol. 2017 Sep;98(9):2287-2296. doi: 10.1099/jgv.0.000892. Epub 2017 Aug 18.


Japanese encephalitis remains the most important cause of viral encephalitis in humans in several southeast Asian countries, including Cambodia, causing at least 65 000 cases of encephalitis per year. This vector-borne viral zoonosis - caused by Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) - is considered to be a rural disease and is transmitted by mosquitoes, with birds and pigs being the natural reservoirs, while humans are accidental hosts. In this study we report the first two JEV isolations in Cambodia from human encephalitis cases from two studies on the aetiology of central nervous system disease, conducted at the two major paediatric hospitals in the country. We also report JEV isolation from Culextritaeniorhynchus mosquitoes and from pig samples collected in two farms, located in peri-urban and rural areas. Out of 11 reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction-positive original samples, we generated full-genome sequences from 5 JEV isolates. Five additional partial sequences of the JEV NS3 gene from viruses detected in five pigs and one complete coding sequence of the envelope gene of a strain identified in a pig were generated. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that JEV detected in Cambodia belonged to genotype I and clustered in two clades: genotype I-a, mainly comprising strains from Thailand, and genotype I-b, comprising strains from Vietnam that dispersed northwards to China. Finally, in this study, we provide proof that the sequenced JEV strains circulate between pigs, Culex tritaeniorhynchus and humans in the Phnom Penh vicinity.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cambodia
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Culicidae / virology*
  • Encephalitis Virus, Japanese / classification
  • Encephalitis Virus, Japanese / genetics
  • Encephalitis Virus, Japanese / isolation & purification*
  • Encephalitis, Japanese / veterinary*
  • Encephalitis, Japanese / virology*
  • Female
  • Genome, Viral*
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Phylogeny
  • Swine
  • Swine Diseases / virology*