Since the late 1990s enterovirus 71 (EV71) has caused epidemics of hand, foot and mouth disease with fatal cases especially in the Asian Pacific region. The objective of this study was to describe the clinical and virological features of EV71 infections in Denmark.
All enterovirus-positive samples in Denmark are submitted to the National Poliovirus Laboratory for typing, and the EV71-positive samples are characterized by sequencing and phylogenetic analysis. Clinical information was gathered for the EV71-positive patients.
During 2005-2008, EV71 was demonstrated in 29 patients. In 2007 EV71 was the second most common enterovirus type detected in Denmark. Twenty-one of the 29 patients were children aged =1 y, 24 were hospitalized, and meningitis was the most common diagnosis. Gastroenteritis and hand, foot and mouth disease were other common clinical manifestations, but no fatal cases or cases of pulmonary oedema were seen. A novel subgenotype in Europe, B5, dominated the 2007 outbreak, but co-circulated with subgenotypes C1 and C2.
In conclusion EV71 was among the common enterovirus types in Denmark, and in 2007 a novel subgenotype, B5, was observed. EV71 was mainly diagnosed in infants, and the majority of patients were hospitalized with meningitis.