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BackgroundRhinoviruses (RVs) are ubiquitous pathogens and the principal etiological agents of common cold. Despite the high frequency of RV infections, data describing their long-term epidemiological patterns in a defined population remain limited.MethodsHere, we analyzed 1070 VP4/VP2 genomic region sequences sampled at Kilifi County Hospital on the Kenya coast. The samples were collected between 2007 and 2018 from hospitalized pediatric patients (<60 months of age) with acute respiratory illness.ResultsOf 7231 children enrolled, RV was detected in 1497 (20.7%) and VP4/VP2 sequences were recovered from 1070 samples (71.5%). A total of 144 different RV types were identified (67 Rhinovirus A, 18 Rhinovirus B, and 59 Rhinovirus C) and at any month, several types co-circulated with alternating predominance. Within types, multiple genetically divergent variants were observed. Ongoing RV infections through time appeared to be a combination of (1) persistent types (observed up to 7 consecutive months), (2) reintroduced genetically distinct variants, and (3) new invasions (average of 8 new types annually).ConclusionsSustained RV presence in the Kilifi community is mainly due to frequent invasion by new types and variants rather than continuous transmission of locally established types/variants.

Original publication





Open forum infectious diseases

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Epidemiology and Demography Department, KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research, Programme, Centre for Geographic Medicine Research-Coast, Kilifi, Kenya.