Polioviruses are members of the Enterovirus C species and asymptomatic fecal shedding allows for their transmission and persistence in a community, as well as the emergence of vaccine-derived polioviruses. Using three serotype-specific real-time RT-PCR (rRT-PCR) assays, the shedding and circulation of oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) strains was previously investigated in a prospective cohort of MFexican children, their contacts, and nearby sewage. Subsequently, a deep sequencing approach targeting the P1 genomic region was applied to characterize OPV strains previously detected by rRT-PCR. Amplifiable RNA was obtained for sequencing from 40.3% (58/144) of stool samples and 71.4% (15/21) of sewage using nucleic acids extracted directly from primary rRT-PCR-positive specimens. Sequencing detected one or more OPV serotypes in 62.1% (36/58) of stool and 53.3% (8/15) of sewage samples. All stool and sewage samples in which poliovirus was not detected by deep sequencing contained at least one non-polio enterovirus C (NPEV-C) strain. To improve screening specificity, a modified, two-step, OPV serotype-specific multiplex rRT-PCR was evaluated. In stool specimens, the overall agreement between the original assays and the multiplex was 70.3%. By serotype, the overall agreement was 95.7% for OPV serotype-1 (S1), 65.6% for S2, and 96.1% for S3. Furthermore, most original rRT-PCR positive/multiplex rRT-PCR negative results were collected in the summer and fall months, consistent with NPEV-C circulation patterns. In conclusion, this deep sequencing approach allowed for the characterization of OPV sequences directly from clinical samples and facilitated the implementation of a more specific multiplex rRT-PCR for OPV detection and serotyping.
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