Phylogenetic Analysis of Rubella Viruses Identified in Uganda, 2003–2012
Alibu, Vincent P.
Kayondo, Jonathan K.
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Molecular data on rubella viruses are limited in Uganda despite the importance of congenital rubella syndrome (CRS). Routine rubella vaccination, while not administered currently in Uganda, is expected to begin by 2015. The World Health Organization recommends that countries without rubella vaccination programs assess the burden of rubella and CRS before starting a routine vaccination program. Uganda is already involved in integrated case-based surveillance, including laboratory testing to confirm measles and rubella, but molecular epidemiologic aspects of rubella circulation have so far not been documented in Uganda. Twenty throat swab or oral fluid samples collected from 12 districts during routine rash and fever surveillance between 2003 and 2012 were identified as rubella virus RNA positive and PCR products encompassing the region used for genotyping were sequenced. Phylogenetic analysis of the 20 sequences identified 19 genotype 1G viruses and 1 genotype 1E virus. Genotype-specific trees showed that the Uganda viruses belonged to specific clusters for both genotypes 1G and 1E and grouped with similar sequences from neighboring countries. Genotype 1G was predominant in Uganda. More epidemiological and molecular epidemiological data are required to determine if genotype 1E is also endemic in Uganda. The information obtained in this study will assist the immunization program in monitoring changes in circulating genotypes.
- Medical and Health Sciences