Enteroviruses (EVs) are among the most commonly detected viruses infecting humans worldwide. Although the prevalence of EVs is widely studied, the status of EV prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa remains largely unknown. The objective of our present study was therefore to increase our knowledge on EV circulation in sub-Saharan Africa. We obtained 749 fecal samples from a cross-sectional study conducted on Malawian children aged 6 to 60 months. We tested the samples for the presence of EVs using real time PCR, and typed the positive samples based on partial viral protein 1 (VP1) sequences. A large proportion of the samples was EV positive (89.9%). 12.9% of the typed samples belonged to EV species A (EV-A), 48.6% to species B (EV-B) and 38.5% to species C (EV-C). More than half of the EV-C strains (53%) belonged to subgroup C containing, among others, Poliovirus (PV) 1-3. The serotype most frequently isolated in our study was CVA-13, followed by EV-C99. The strains of CVA-13 showed a vast genetic diversity, possibly representing a new cluster, 'F'. The majority of the EV-C99 strains grouped together as cluster B. In conclusion, this study showed a vast circulation of EVs among Malawian children, with an EV prevalence of 89.9%. Identification of prevalences for species EV-C comparable to our study (38.5%) have only previously been reported in sub-Saharan Africa, and EV-C is rarely found outside of this region. The data found in this study are an important contribution to our current knowledge of EV epidemiology within sub-Saharan Africa.
- Capsid Proteins/genetics
- Child, Preschool
- Cohort Studies
- Cross-Sectional Studies
- Enterovirus C, Human/classification
- Enterovirus Infections/epidemiology
- Genetic Variation