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Epidemiology of Human Adenoviruses: A 20-Year Retrospective Observational Study in Hospitalized Patients in Bern, Switzerland

Authors Akello JO, Kamgang R, Barbani MT, Suter-Riniker F, Leib SL, Ramette A

Received 17 January 2020

Accepted for publication 20 March 2020

Published 5 April 2020 Volume 2020:12 Pages 353—366


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Henrik Toft Sørensen

Joyce Odeke Akello,1– 3 Richard Kamgang,1 Maria Teresa Barbani,1 Franziska Suter-Riniker,1 Stephen L Leib,1 Alban Ramette1

1Institute for Infectious Diseases, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland; 2Biology Division, Spiez Laboratory, Swiss Federal Office for Civil Protection, Spiez, Switzerland; 3Graduate School for Cellular and Biomedical Sciences, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland

Correspondence: Alban Ramette
Institute for Infectious Diseases, University of Bern, Friedbühlstrasse 51, Bern 3001, Switzerland
Tel +41 31 632 9540

Background: Human adenovirus (HAdV) is an important pathogen seen in clinical practice. Long-term studies may help better understand epidemiological trends and changes in circulating genotypes over time.
Purpose: Using a large biobank of samples from hospitalized, adenovirus-positive patients over a 20-year period, we aimed to analyze long-term epidemiological trends and genotypic relatedness among circulating HAdV strains.
Methods: Based on samples from hospitalized patients confirmed to be HAdV positive in Bern, Switzerland, from 1998 to 2017, and on their associated demographic and clinical data, we identified epidemiological trends and risk factors associated with HAdV infection. HAdV genotyping was performed by PCR amplification and sequencing of the hypervariable hexon gene. The obtained sequences were phylogenetically compared with sequences from international HAdV strains.
Results: HAdV was identified in 1302 samples tested. Cases of HAdV infection were reported throughout the years with no clear seasonality. Upper respiratory tract samples, conjunctivitis swabs, and stool had the highest positivity rate (56.2%, 18.7%, and 14.2% of the cases, respectively). HAdV infection was highest among children ≤ 4 years old. Increased number of HAdV cases were observed in years 2009 (n = 110) and 2010 (n =112). HAdV8 was the predominant genotype among patients older than 20 years, and was mostly associated with ophthalmic infection. Predominant genotypes among children ≤ 4 years old were HAdV1, HAdV2, and HAdV3, which were mostly associated with respiratory tract infections. Recurring peaks of increased HAdV cases were evidenced every 4 years among children ≤ 4 years old.
Conclusion: Our study gives novel insights on long-term epidemiological trends and phylogenetic relatedness among circulating HAdV strains in Switzerland, country in which little data on HAdV prevalence and diversity was so far available.

Keywords: adenoviruses, human, molecular epidemiology, clinical infections, genotype

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