Genetic analysis of Enterovirus D68 associated with pneumonia in children from South India

J Med Microbiol. 2021 May;70(5). doi: 10.1099/jmm.0.001356.


EV-D68 is an emerging enterovirus infection associated with severe acute respiratory illness (SARI), acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) and acute flaccid paralysis (AFP). While EV-D68 outbreaks and sporadic cases are reported globally, a single case has been reported from India. The present study aims to investigate the molecular epidemiology and clinical characteristics of EV-D68-associated SARI cases from South India. We screened influenza-negative archived throat swab specimens from Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) and SARI cases (n=959; 2016 to 2018 period) for enteroviruses by pan-enterovirus real-time RT-PCR. Thirteen samples positive for enteroviruses were typed by PCR and sequencing based on VPI, VP2 and/or 5'NCR regions. One EV-D68 RNA sample was subjected to next-generation sequencing for whole genome characterisation. Among 13 enterovirus cases, four were ECHO-11, three EV-D68, two CV-A16 and one each EV-71, CV-B1, CV-B2 and CV-A9. All three cases of EV-D68 infection were reported in children below 2 years of age from Kerala state of South India during June and July 2017. The patients developed pneumonia without any neurological complications. Sequencing based on VPI and 5'NCR regions showed that EV-D68 strains belong to the novel subclade B3. The EV-D68 complete genome identified with two unique amino acid substitutions in VP1 (T-246-I) and 3D (K-344-R) regions. This study reiterates the EV-D68 novel subclade B3 circulation in India and indicates the urgent need for structured EV-D68 surveillance in the country to describe the epidemiology.

Keywords: Enterovirus D68; accute flaccid myelitis; acute flaccid paralysis; pediatric patients; pneumonia; severe acute respiratory illness.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Substitution
  • Capsid Proteins / genetics
  • Enterovirus D, Human / classification
  • Enterovirus D, Human / genetics*
  • Enterovirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Enterovirus Infections / virology*
  • Female
  • Genome, Viral
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Molecular Epidemiology
  • Phylogeny
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Viral Proteins / chemistry
  • Viral Proteins / genetics
  • Whole Genome Sequencing


  • Capsid Proteins
  • Viral Proteins