We introduced a microplate method for virus isolation in the Department of Microbiology, Yamagata Prefectural Institute of Public Health (YPIPH) in 1999 in Yamagata, Japan. We have since carried out longitudinal epidemiological studies on viral infectious diseases, particularly respiratory viruses, combining traditional technologies such as virus isolation and serological techniques and newly developed molecular methods. Here, we provide an overview of our activities at YPIPH between 1999 and 2018. During the study period, we observed emerging and re-merging diseases such as those caused by echovirus type 13, enterovirus D68, parechovirus-A3 (PeV-A3), and Saffold virus. With regard to PeV-A3, we proposed a new disease concept, "PeV-A3-associated myalgia/myositis." We also revealed the longitudinal epidemiologies of several viruses such as enterovirus A71 and coxsackievirus A16. To perform longitudinal epidemiological studies at any time in Yamagata, we established a system for stocking clinical specimens, viral isolates, complementary DNAs, and serum specimens. We have also pursued collaboration works with virology laboratories across Japan. We hope our experiences, findings, and research materials will further contribute to the development of countermeasures against viral infectious diseases and improvement in public health strategies in Yamagata, Japan, Asia, and around the world.
Keywords: acute respiratory infection (ARI); antigenicity; epidemiology; phylogenetic analysis; virus isolation.