Measles genotype B3 (Kabul) found in Odesa region: Is this type the deadliest one?

Author : Olena Holubyeva

Source : 112 Ukraine has asked experts to explain the peculiarities of this B3 genotype
09:15, 12 February 2018

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A dangerous genotype of the measles virus B3 (Kabul) is circulating in Odesa region, as stated in the Odesa Regional State Administration press release. "People from the other regions of Ukraine are infected with European samples of the D8 virus circulate. And only in Odesa region, in addition to the D3 genotype, the B3 (Kabul) is fixed. It is characterized by high pathogenicity and virulence. Its aggressiveness gives a high incidence and lethality. The results are approved by the special laboratory researches in Copenhagen," the report says.

Related: 13 Kyivites infected with measles since early February

Related: Aggressive measles virus genotype B3 spotted in Odesa region has asked the doctors to explain the peculiarities of this genotype, but they were confused by this information. "No, I have not heard anything like this, I will read the news, of course, yes ..."  Fedir Lapiy, expert of the Ministry of Health, Infectious Diseases, Parasitology department. According to this experienced physician, the type of genotype does not affect the aggressiveness of the virus.

We also contacted the head of the virological reference laboratory of the Public Health Center of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine Iryna Demchyshyna. This organization is involved in the identification of measles genotypes and for today, it is the most authoritative arbiter in this field.

Related: 3,554 people infected with measles in 2018

Demchyshyna said that the measles genotype B3 (Kabul) was identified in half of Ukraine’s regions. The doctor assured that the monitoring of measles genotypes in the territory of Ukraine has been carried out for a long time. So, in times of the Soviet Union the samples were sent to the reference laboratory in Moscow, and recently (from 2014) samples are sent to Luxembourg, to the regional reference laboratory of the WHO, for the diagnosing measles and rubella.

Related: 198 people infected with measles in Lviv

According to the latest data, six genotypes of measles are circulating in Ukraine. "The genotype matters when we assess the situation from which country the strain was brought, we have measles strains brought from Singapore: D8, D4, D3. Genotypes were imported from Romania, Bulgaria, and Georgia," Demchyshyna said.

The head of the reference laboratory specified that the results of the last monitoring (on the basis of which six genotypes were established) were received back in September 2017. "On January 22, another batch of samples (about 70) was sent to the Regional Reference Laboratory of the WHO (these are analyzes of people who fell ill, including January 2018.) After 2-3 weeks, we will receive the results," she said.

Related: 25-year-old woman died from measles in Ivano-Frankivsk

Irina Demchyshyna assured that it is impossible to say which of the genotypes is more or less dangerous: "The measles genotype does not affect the lethality or complications. Those eight victims of the measles in Ukraine in 2017-2018 were not vaccinated. Of course, the measles virus behaves differently in the body of each person, but if a person is not vaccinated, of course, her chances for bad consequences are higher," the specialist noted.

Related: Measles outbreak in Kyiv : 121 cases reported as of early January 22

"I cannot say that B3 (Kabul) is the most dangerous among all the genotypes. The fact is that this type did not circulate in the country until the end of 2016," Demchyshyna stated.

Any genotype, regardless of its origin, can lead to disease among people who do not have specific immunity (who are unvaccinated). "The main task is for people to start vaccinating now, as the vaccine protects against measles, regardless of genotype. We have less than 10% of the population vaccinated against measles," the head of the reference laboratory said.


Related: Vaccination against measles doubled in Ukraine in 2017

The vaccine used to prevent measles is stable and effective against all genotypes of the virus, our interlocutors assured. "It is not the flu, which has pandemic options. You remember the situation in 2009-2010 when a new vaccine is needed every year because of the change in the circulating of the flu virus. And its composition (influenza vaccine) changes every year," Demchyshyna said. And Fedir Lapiy also agreed with this statement: "Nowadays, various vaccine viruses are used in the vaccine's manufacturing. They can belong to different genotypes," said the doctor.

Related: 3,000 Ukrainians infected with measles since beginning of 2018, - Healthcare Ministry

Related: Measles outbreak in Ukraine: 254 cases reported in Lviv region

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