Prevalence and Genotypes of Human Rhinoviruses among Iranian Hajj Pilgrims with Severe Acute Respiratory Infection

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Virology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Virology, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 Research Center for Antibiotic Stewardship and Antimicrobial Resistance, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Background: Hajj is one of the main challenges of public health and infection control. Hajj-associated respiratory tract infections are very common during the pilgrimage. Studies have shown that human rhinovirus (HRV) is one of the most common causes of respiratory illnesses among pilgrims. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence and genotypes of HRV among Iranian pilgrims with severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) during the 2017 Hajj season.
Materials and Methods: Throat swabs or washes were collected from 104 pilgrims with SARI and transported to the National Influenza Center, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences. Specimens were screened for HRV by Nested PCR with primers for 5΄UTR, and virus genotypes were determined using PCR with VP4-VP2 primers and sequencing method.
Results: Twenty-one cases were positive for HRV (20.19 %). The HRV species and types of 8 positive samples were: HRV-A21 (1/8, 12.5%), followed by HRV-B91 (3/8, 37.5%) and HRV-C (4/8, 50%) un-typed.
Conclusion: This study showed that HRV has a high prevalence in Iranian Hajj pilgrims. As there is no vaccine or antiviral therapy for HRV, prevention methods are the best way for infection control.


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