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Phylogenetic and Epidemiological Analysis of Measles Viruses in Shenzhen, China from January 2015 to July 2019

Min Lei, Kai Wang, Jing Li, Yan Zhang, Xuemei Wei, Lifeng Qi, Gaofeng Zhou, Yue Wu

Department of Infectious Diseases, Shenzhen Children’s Hospital, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2019; 25:9245-9254

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.920614

Available online:

Published: 2019-12-04

BACKGROUND: Measles morbidity and mortality were significantly reduced after the measles vaccine was introduced in China in 1965. However, measles outbreaks easily occur in densely populated areas, especially where there is no universal vaccination. The outbreak that occurred in Shenzhen, the Chinese city with the largest internal immigration, provides a lesson in measles virus mutation and measles prevention. The present study is a phylogenetic analysis of measles viruses and comparison of clinical signs between individuals with and without vaccination.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: We performed phylogenetic analysis of the nucleoprotein (N) genes of measles virus from 129 measles patients in Shenzhen from January 2015 to July 2019. Phylogenetic trees were constructed using the neighbor-joining method.
RESULTS: The phylogenetic analysis showed all viruses were classified into genotype H1. In addition, there is often a seasonal measles outbreak in July each year. The clinical data showed that patients who were unvaccinated were more likely to have coughing, chronic bronchitis, conjunctivitis, catarrh, Koplik spots, and diarrhea. Children of migrant workers and those living in mountainous and rural districts accounted for most measles cases.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results showed there was a seasonal measles outbreak in Shenzhen Children’s Hospital. All the measles virus from 129 measles patients were H1 viruses. The clinical signs also showed a difference between unvaccinated and vaccinated patients. Moreover, most of the unvaccinated patients came from migrant worker families. We suggest there is a need for increased health promotion and vaccination programs for migrant workers and people living in remote villages.

Keywords: Immunization Programs, Measles virus, Transients and Migrants