Human sentinel surveillance of influenza and other respiratory viral pathogens in border areas of western Cambodia

Ans Timmermans, Melanie C. Melendrez, Youry Se, Ilin Chuang, Nou Samon, Nichapat Uthaimongkol, Chonticha Klungthong, Wudtichai Manasatienkij, Butsaya Thaisomboonsuk, Stuart D. Tyner, Sareth Rith, Viseth Srey Horm, Richard G. Jarman, Delia Bethell, Nitima Chanarat, Julie Pavlin, Tippa Wongstitwilairoong, Piyaporn Saingam, But Sam El, Mark M. FukudaSok Touch, Ly Sovann, Stefan Fernandez, Philippe Buchy, Lon Chanthap, David Saunders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Little is known about circulation of influenza and other respiratory viruses in remote populations along the Thai-Cambodia border in western Cambodia. We screened 586 outpatients (median age 5, range 1-77) presenting with influenza-like-illness (ILI) at 4 sentinel sites in western Cambodia between May 2010 and December 2012. Real-time reverse transcriptase (rRT) PCR for influenza was performed on combined nasal and throat specimens followed by viral culture, antigenic analysis, antiviral susceptibility testing and full genome sequencing for phylogenetic analysis. ILI-specimens negative for influenza were cultured, followed by rRT-PCR for enterovirus and rhinovirus (EV/RV) and EV71. Influenza was found in 168 cases (29%) and occurred almost exclusively in the rainy season from June to November. Isolated influenza strains had close antigenic and phylogenetic relationships, matching vaccine and circulating strains found elsewhere in Cambodia. Influenza vaccination coverage was low (<20%). Western Cambodian H1N1(2009) isolate genomes were more closely related to 10 earlier Cambodia isolates (94.4% genome conservation) than to 13 Thai isolates (75.9% genome conservation), despite sharing the majority of the amino acid changes with the Thai references. Most genes showed signatures of purifying selection. Viral culture detected only adenovirus (5.7%) and parainfluenza virus (3.8%), while non-polio enteroviruses (10.3%) were detected among 164 culture-negative samples including coxsackievirus A4, A6, A8, A9, A12, B3, B4 and echovirus E6 and E9 using nested RT-PCR methods. A single specimen of EV71 was found. Despite proximity to Thailand, influenza epidemiology of these western Cambodian isolates followed patterns observed elsewhere in Cambodia, continuing to support current vaccine and treatment recommendations from the Cambodian National Influenza Center. Amino acid mutations at non-epitope sites, particularly hemagglutinin genes, require further investigation in light of an increasingly important role of permissive mutations in influenza virus evolution. Further research about the burden of adenovirus and non-polio enteroviruses as etiologic agents in acute respiratory infections in Cambodia is also needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0152529
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


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