Molecular characterization of wild-type measles viruses in Tamil Nadu, India, during 25–26 Relationship of genotype D8 strains from Tamil Nadu to global strains
Raja Duraisamy; Paul A Rota; Gunasekaran Palani; Varalakshmi Elango; Mohana Sambasivam; Luis Lowe; Elena Lopareva; Nalini Ramamurty
Molecular characterization of measles viruses is a valuable tool for measuring the effectiveness of measles control and elimination programmes. WHO recommends that virological surveillance be conducted during all phases of measles control to document circulation of indigenous strains and trace future importation. This report describes the genetic characterization of wild type measles viruses from Tamil Nadu, India isolated between January 25 and January 26. In the study, 34 suspected measles cases (292 from 56 outbreaks and 12 sporadic cases) were investigated. Blood samples were collected from suspected measles outbreaks and 11 suspected sporadic cases and tested for the presence of measles and rubella specific IgM. Based on serological results, 53 outbreaks were confirmed as measles, 2 as a combination of measles and rubella, and 1 negative for both. Eight sporadic cases were confirmed as measles and one as rubella. Throat swab and urine samples were collected for virus isolation and 28 isolates were obtained. Sequencing and analysis showed that 3 isolates belonged to genotype D4 and 25 to genotype D8. Comparison of the genotype D8 sequences from Tamil Nadu with previously reported genotype D8 sequences from India and abroad showed six distinct clusters with Tamil Nadu strains forming two clusters. This study has established baseline molecular data and is the first report that describes genetic diversity of circulating measles strains in Tamil Nadu, a state in India. D8 has multiple lineages and this has been linked with importation of measles into the USA and UK.