Molecular epidemiology of a post-influenza pandemic outbreak of acute respiratory infections in Korea caused by human adenovirus type 3

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An outbreak of upper respiratory tract infections associated with human adenovirus (HAdV) occurred on a national scale in Korea from September to December 2010, following a major H1N1 influenza pandemic. Data from the Korea Influenza and Respiratory Surveillance System (KINRESS) showed an unusually high positive rate accounting for up to 20% of all diagnosed cases. To determine the principal cause of the outbreak, direct polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification followed by sequence analysis targeting parts of the hexon gene of HAdV was performed. Serotypes of 1,007 PCR-diagnosed HAdV-positive samples from patients with an acute upper respiratory tract illness were determined and epidemiological characteristics including major aged group and clinical symptoms were analyzed. The principal symptom of HAdV infections was fever and the vulnerable aged group was 1–5 years old. Based on sequence analysis, HAdV-3 was the predominant serotype in the outbreak, with an incidence of 74.3%. From the beginning of 2010 until May, the major serotypes were HAdV-1, 2, and 5 (70–100%) in any given period. However, an outbreak dominated by HAdV-3 started between July and August and peaked in September. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that there was no genetic variation in HAdV-3. The results demonstrated that an outbreak of upper respiratory illness followed by H1N1 influenza pandemic in Korea was caused mainly by emerged HAdV-3. J. Med. Virol. 87: 10–17, 2015. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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