In 1996, three adenovirus type 7 (Ad7) strains were isolated from children with fever and upper respiratory diseases in Japan. Restriction endonucleases (REs) analysis and PCR amplification of the E3 7·7 kDa ORF revealed that these strains were genotype Ad7h and closely related to an Argentine Ad7h strain, which has been reported to be highly virulent and so far predominant only in South America. These strains showed weak cross-neutralizing activity and specific haemagglutination-inhibition activity to Ad3 antiserum. The present findings suggest that Ad7h in South America has spread to other parts of the world. Since the seroprevalence to Ad7 in the current Japanese population is very low due to the absence of Ad7 circulation in Japan for decades, Ad7 outbreak as a typical case of re-emerging infectious diseases is a cause for serious concern.
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