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Human enteroviruses (EVs) and more recently parechoviruses (HPeVs) have been identified as the principal viral causes of neonatal sepsis-like disease and meningitis. The relative frequencies of specific EV and HPeV types were determined over a 5-year surveillance period using highly sensitive EV and HPeV PCR assays for screening 4,168 cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) specimens collected from hospitalized individuals between 2005 and 2010 in Edinburgh. Positive CSF samples were typed by sequencing of VP1. From the 201 EV and 31 HPeV positive (uncultured) CSF samples on screening, a high proportion of available samples could be directly typed (176/182, 97%). Highest frequencies of EV infections occurred in young adults (n = 43; 8.6%) although a remarkably high proportion of positive samples (n = 98; 46%) were obtained from young infants (<3 months). HPeV infections were seen exclusively in children under the age of 3 months (31/1,105; 2.8%), and confined to spring on even-numbered years (22% in March 2006, 25% in April 2008, and 22% in March 2010). In contrast, EV infections were distributed widely across the years. Twenty different EV serotypes were detected; E9, E6, and CAV9 being found most frequently, whereas all but one HPeVs were type 3. Over this period, HPeV3 was identified as the most prevalent picornavirus type in CNS-related infections with similarly high incidences of EV infection frequencies in very young children. The highly sensitive virus typing methods applied in this study will assist further EV and HPeV screening of sepsis and meningitis cases as well as in future molecular epidemiological studies and population surveillance.

Original publication




Journal article


J Med Virol

Publication Date





889 - 896


Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Cerebrospinal Fluid, Child, Child, Preschool, Enterovirus, Female, Genotype, Humans, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Male, Meningitis, Viral, Middle Aged, Molecular Sequence Data, Parechovirus, Phylogeny, Picornaviridae Infections, Prevalence, Sepsis, Sequence Analysis, DNA, Serotyping, United Kingdom, Viral Structural Proteins, Young Adult