Human enterovirus D68 in clinical and sewage samples in Israel

Merav Weil*, Michal Mandelboim, Ella Mendelson, Yossi Manor, Lester Shulman, Daniela Ram, Galia Barkai, Yonat Shemer, Dana Wolf, Zipi Kra-oz, Leah Weiss, Rakefet Pando, Musa Hindiyeh, Danit Sofer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Since mid-August 2014, North America experienced a wide outbreak of Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) associated with severe respiratory illness in children. Several other countries also reported cases of EV-D68 in 2014. Objectives The aim of this study was to determine whether EV-D68 circulated in Israel in 2014, caused severe respiratory illness in children and was the causative agent of Acute Flaccid Paralysis. Study design Archived clinical respiratory samples from a cohort of 710 hospitalized pediatric patient's (<10 years old) with respiratory illness were screened for clade B specific EV-D68 by real-time PCR. The patients were seen at four medical centers covering the entire country between August and November 2014. We also evaluated 49 patient stool samples from 26 AFP cases during 2014 for presence of EV-D68. In addition, RNA from sewage samples collected throughout Israel during the same study period was also tested for EV-D68. Partial VP1 sequencing was performed on all positive samples. Results Of the 710 clinical samples evaluated, 7 (1%) were positive for EV-D68. Two patients were from the central part of Israel, while the rest was from the southern part. The majority of the patients did not have any underlying disease. Not only that, but, none of the 26 suspected AFP cases had EV-D68 nucleic acid in their stool samples. EV-D68 RNA was detected in 9 out of 93 sewage samples, mainly from Southern Israel. Sequence analysis of EV-D68 VP1 gene from both sewage and clinical samples indicated that the Israeli EV-D68 RNA belonged to Clade B which was genetically similar to 2014 circulating European and North American EV-D68 virus. Conclusions EV-D68 circulated in Israel during the 2014 summer-fall season and caused hospitalization of a small percent of the patients with respiratory illness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-55
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Clinical Virology
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017


FundersFunder number
Israel Central Virology Laboratory Research fund


    • Enterovirus D68
    • Respiratory illness
    • VP1 sequencing


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