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New strains of Japanese encephalitis virus circulating in Shanghai, China after a ten-year hiatus in local mosquito surveillance

Fang, Yuan, Zhang, Yi, Zhou, Zheng-Bin, Xia, Shang, Shi, Wen-Qi, Xue, Jing-Bo, Li, Yuan-Yuan, Wu, Jia-Tong
Parasites & vectors 2019 v.12 no.1 pp. 22
Culex tritaeniorhynchus, Dengue virus, Japanese encephalitis virus, Orthobunyavirus, Plasmodium, Zika virus, amino acids, arboviruses, children, encephalitis, filariasis, genes, genotype, humans, malaria, monitoring, mosquito-borne diseases, parasites, pathogens, phylogeny, proteins, surveys, vaccination, China
BACKGROUND: Continuous vector pathogen surveillance is essential for preventing outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases. Several mosquito species acting as vectors of Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), dengue virus, Zika virus, malaria parasites and other pathogens are primary mosquito species in Shanghai, China. However, few surveys of human pathogenic arboviruses in mosquitoes in Shanghai have been reported in the last ten years. Therefore, in this study, we evaluated mosquito activity in Shanghai, China during 2016 and tested for the presence of alphaviruses, flaviviruses, orthobunyaviruses and several parasitic pathogens. RESULTS: Five pooled samples were JEV-positive [4/255 pools of Culex tritaeniorhynchus and 1/256 pools of Cx. pipiens (s.l.)] based on analysis of the NS5 gene. Alphaviruses, orthobunyaviruses, Plasmodium and filariasis were not found in this study. Phylogenetic and molecular analyses revealed that the JEV strains belonged to genotype I. Moreover, newly detected Shanghai JEV strains were genetically close to previously isolated Shandong strains responsible for transmission during the 2013 Japanese encephalitis (JE) outbreak in Shandong Province, China but were more distantly related to other Shanghai strains detected in the early 2000s. The E proteins of the newly detected Shanghai JEV strains differed from that in the live attenuated vaccine SA14-14-2-derived strain at six amino residues: E130 (Ile→Val), E222 (Ala→Ser), E327 (Ser→Thr), E366 (Arg→Ser/Pro), E393 (Asn→Ser) and E433 (Val→Ile). However, no differences were observed in key amino acid sites related to antigenicity. Minimum JEV infection rates were 1.01 and 0.65 per 1000 Cx. tritaeniorhynchus and Cx. pipiens (s.l.), respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Five new Shanghai JEV genotype I strains, detected after a ten-year hiatus in local mosquito surveillance, were genetically close to strains involved in the 2013 Shandong JE outbreak. Because JEV is still circulating, vaccination in children should be extensively and continuously promoted. Moreover, JEV mosquito surveillance programmes should document the genotype variation, intensity and distribution of circulating viruses for use in the development and implementation of disease prevention and control strategies.