, Volume 60, Issue 3-4, pp 329-340

Enterovirus 71 isolated from cases of epidemic poliomyelitis-like disease in Bulgaria

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Virological and serological studies of an epidemic disease in Bulgaria, 1975, were carried out. Epidemiologically, clinically and pathomorphologically, the disease simulated almost all known forms of poliomyelitis, acute stem encephalitis, encephalomyocarditis and aseptic meningitis. The studies completely ruled out the participation of polioviruses and provided comprehensive evidence for the etiological role of a peculiar enterovirus subsequently identified as enterovirus (EV) type 71 known in the literature since 1974. Altogether, in 1975 and 1976 from 65 cases of poliomyelitis-like disease (PLD) 92 strains of EV 71 were isolated, including 37 strains from the brain and medulla, 1 from the cerebrospinal fluid, 10 from mesenterial lymph nodes and tonsills and 44 from faeces. In addition, in 282 convalescent cases of the disease, diagnostic seroconversion or high titers of antibody to this virus were demonstrated. The most successful virus isolation was achieved by inoculation of green monkey kidney cell cultures and newborn white mice. Bulgarian strains of enterovirus 71 regularly caused paralysis in monkeys and morphological poliomyelitis-like lesions in their CNS, and paralysis and myositis with Zenker necrosis in newborn white mice, cotton rats, Syrian hamsters, and 3-week-old cotton rats. The diseased rodents had much more virus in their mucles than in brains.