Journal of virology. 2016-02-15; 90.4: 1997-2007.

Molecular Evolution and Intraclade Recombination of Enterovirus D68 during the 2014 Outbreak in the United States

Tan Y, Hassan F, Schuster JE, Simenauer A, Selvarangan R, Halpin RA, Lin X, Fedorova N, Stockwell TB, Lam TT, Chappell JD, Hartert TV, Holmes EC, Das SR

PMID: 26656685


In August 2014, an outbreak of enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) occurred in North America, causing severe respiratory disease in children. Due to a lack of complete genome sequence data, there is only a limited understanding of the molecular evolution and epidemiology of EV-D68 during this outbreak, and it is uncertain whether the differing clinical manifestations of EV-D68 infection are associated with specific viral lineages. We developed a high-throughput complete genome sequencing pipeline for EV-D68 that produced a total of 59 complete genomes from respiratory samples with a 95% success rate, including 57 genomes from Kansas City, MO, collected during the 2014 outbreak. With these data in hand, we performed phylogenetic analyses of complete genome and VP1 capsid protein sequences. Notably, we observed considerable genetic diversity among EV-D68 isolates in Kansas City, manifest as phylogenetically distinct lineages, indicative of multiple introductions of this virus into the city. In addition, we identified an intersubclade recombination event within EV-D68, the first recombinant in this virus reported to date. Finally, we found no significant association between EV-D68 genetic variation, either lineages or individual mutations, and a variety of demographic and clinical variables, suggesting that host factors likely play a major role in determining disease severity. Overall, our study revealed the complex pattern of viral evolution within a single geographic locality during a single outbreak, which has implications for the design of effective intervention and prevention strategies.