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Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) represents a substantial disease burden in the Western Pacific region. We investigated the spectrum of causative enteroviruses of HFMD, and evaluated different clinical samples' diagnostic yield for enteroviruses.We enrolled pediatric patients hospitalized for HFMD among six hospitals in Anhua County, Hunan Province, China between October 2013 and September 2016. Throat swabs and stool samples (or rectal swabs) were collected to detect the enterovirus serotypes by real time RT-PCR or nested PCR.Among the 2,836 patients only one developed severe illness. Seventeen serotypes were identified in 2,401 patients (85%), with the most frequently detected being CV-A16 (29%, 814), CV-A6 (28%, 784), EV-A71 (17%, 491), CV-A10 (4%, 114), and CV-A4 (2%, 53). Children were younger in CV-A6, CV-A10, and CV-A4 infections (median 12 months, IQR 12-24 months) than EV-A71 and CV-A16 infections (median 24 months, IQR 12-36 months, p<0.05). Annual peaks of HFMD hospitalization occurred during April-June. The predominant enterovirus serotype shifted between CV-A16 and CV-A6 during the three years. Stool had a higher diagnostic yield (89%) than rectal (79%) and throat swabs (74%). Detection rates reached 93% when testing stools followed by throat swabs if stools were negative, and 89% when testing rectal swabs followed by throat swabs if rectal swabs were negative.Our results provide a virological benchmark for future surveillance and diagnostics. Continuous comprehensive virological surveillance is essential, especially after implementation of the EV-A71 vaccine in China, to monitor serotype replacement and the impact of EV-A71 vaccine.

Original publication




Journal article


Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America

Publication Date



Hunan Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Changsha, Hunan Province, China.