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Volume 44, Number 4, August 2011

Epidemiologic and clinical features of non-polio enteroviral infections in northern Taiwan in 2008

Chien-Hui Hsu, Chun-Yi Lu, Pei-Lan Shao, Ping-Ing Lee, Chuan-Liang Kao, Ming-Yi Chung, Luan-Yin Chang, Li-Min Huang

Received: July 16, 2009    Revised: April 20, 2010    Accepted: August 12, 2010   


Corresponding author:

Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Pediatrics, National Taiwan University Hospital, 8 Chung-Shan South Road, Taipei 100, Taiwan. E-mail addresses:, (L.-Y. Chang)


Background and purpose: 

Non-polio enteroviruses may cause different diseases, including herpangina, hand–foot–mouth disease (HFMD), meningitis, and nonspecific febrile illness; and cause epidemic outbreak annually. This study delineates the diversity of clinical presentations based on different serotypes and different groups [human enterovirus (HEV)-A and HEV-B] of enteroviruses (EVs) during the 2008 epidemic in National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH).



We retrospectively identified patients younger than 18 years who had positive isolates of non-polio EV in throat swabs, rectal swabs, or cerebrospinal fluid, in NTUH from January 1 to December 31, 2008. For serotyping, immunofluorescence assay and polymerase chain reaction followed by viral structure protein-1 sequencing were applied. We analyzed and compared their clinical features among different serotypes and different groups of EVs.



Among 172 patients who were enrolled, 16 serotypes were identified. The major serotype in NTUH was EV71 (25.6%) followed by coxsackievirus A (CA)16 and coxsackievirus B (CB)4. EV71 manifested mostly as HFMD (89%) and was complicated with encephalomyelitis in three patients. Serotypes of HFMD included EV71 (70%), CA16 (27%), CA4, and CA6. Serotypes of herpangina were heterogeneous, and the major serotype was CA2 (35.7%) followed by CB4 (23.8%). Aseptic meningitis was entirely caused by HEV-B and mostly infected by echovirus 30 (50%). Among children with EV-related respiratory tract infection, CB4 (32%) was dominant in upper respiratory tract infection, whereas echovirus 4 (71%) was the major cause of lower respiratory tract infection. Cases of HEV-A were significantly younger than the cases of HEV-B (p=0.04). Multivariate analysis revealed that the most significant factor associated with hospitalization is HEV-B (odds ratio, 2.2; 95% confidence interval, 1.1–4.2; p=0.02).



At least 16 serotypes circulated in northern Taiwan in 2008. EV71 is the predominant strain in this outbreak. All patients with HFMD were infected by HEV-A, but HEV-B was associated with a higher rate of hospitalization and aseptic meningitis, which should be a cause of alert regarding public health.


Key words:

Children, Epidemiology, Non-polio enterovirus;, Taiwan