Identification of measles virus genotypes from recent outbreaks in countries from the Eastern Mediterranean Region.

Original article


Djebbi A, Bahri O, Mokhtariazad T, Alkhatib M, Ben Yahia A, Rezig D, Mohsni E, Triki H.

Laboratory of Clinical Virology, WHO Regional Reference Laboratory on Poliomyelitis and Measles, Institut Pasteur de Tunis, 13 Place Pasteur, BP 74, 1002 Tunis, Belvedere, Tunisia.

J Clin Virol. 2005 Sep;34(1):1-6.


BACKGROUND: Molecular characterization of measles viruses (MV) helps to identify transmission pathways of the virus and to document persistence or interruption of endemic virus circulation. In the Eastern Mediterranean Region, measles genotypes from only few countries have been documented. OBJECTIVES: This study reports the genetic characteristics of virus strains from recent measles outbreaks in Tunisia, Libya, Syria and Iran in 2002-2003. STUDY DESIGN: Virus sequences in the nucleoprotein gene were obtained by PCR amplification of virus isolates or serum samples. The sequences were compared to the reference ones for genotype identification and to other published sequences within the same genotype. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: The Tunisian and Libyan epidemic strains belonged to genotype B3, they were closely related to each other and to isolates from Western Africa. The Syrian and Iranian viruses belonged to genotype D4, and differed from each other and from the other published sequences within this genotype. Our results provide valuable baseline and new tools for improved virological measles surveillance in the future, at country, regional and global levels.

Keywords: Measles virus; Polymerase chain reaction (PCR); Genotype; Outbreak; Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR)