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Detection and whole genome sequence analysis of an enterovirus 68 cluster

Angela K Todd1*, Richard J Hall1, Jing Wang1, Mathew Peacey1, Sharla McTavish1, Christy J Rand2, Jo-Ann Stanton2, Susan Taylor3 and Q Sue Huang1

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Environmental Science and Research Limited, National Centre for Biosecurity and Infectious Disease, 66 Ward Street, Wallaceville, Upper Hutt, 5018, New Zealand

2 Department of Anatomy, University of Otago, P. O. Box 913, Dunedin, 9054, New Zealand

3 Middlemore Hospital, Otahuhu, Auckland, 2025, New Zealand

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Virology Journal 2013, 10:103  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-10-103

Published: 2 April 2013



Enteroviruses are a common cause of human disease and are associated with a wide range of clinical manifestations. Enterovirus 68 is rarely detected yet was reported in many countries in 2010. Here enterovirus 68 was identified for the first time in New Zealand in 2010 and was detected in a further fourteen specimens over a six month period.


To genetically characterise enterovirus 68 specimens identified in New Zealand in 2010.

Study design

The genome sequence of a New Zealand representative enterovirus 68 isolate was obtained. Ten clinical specimens were analysed by sequencing the VP1 region of the enterovirus 68 genome.


Based on sequence analysis of the VP1 region and the full genome of one representative isolate, the New Zealand enterovirus 68 isolates clustered with contemporary enterovirus 68 viruses and do not show any clear distinguishing genetic diversity when compared to other strains. All fifteen specimens showed high similarity with enterovirus 68 by VP1 sequencing. The majority of New Zealand patients suffered from bronchiolitis, were less than two years of age and were of Pacific Island or Maori descent.


We document the rare occurrence of an enterovirus 68 cluster in New Zealand in 2010. These viruses shared similarity with other clusters of enterovirus 68 that occurred globally in 2010. A greater awareness in enterovirus 68 infection may help detect this virus with increased frequency and enable us to better understand the role this strain plays in disease and the reasons behind this global emergence in 2010.

Enterovirus 68; Respiratory tract infections; Molecular genome sequencing