Genetic and antigenic characterization of measles viruses that circulated in Korea during the 2000-2001 epidemic

Byoung Kuk Na, Ju Mi Shin, Joo Yeon Lee, Gu Choul Shin, Yoon Young Kim, Jin Soo Lee, Jong Koo Lee, Hae Wol Cho, Hoan Jong Lee, Paul A. Rota, William J. Bellini, Woo Joo Kim, Chun Kang

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the marked reduction in the incidence of measles in Korea by the introduction of measles vaccine, a large measles epidemic occurred during 2000-2001. During the epidemic, more than 55,000 measles cases were reported and at least 7 children were dead. In this study, we analyzed the genetic and antigenic properties of 15 measles viruses that isolated during the epidemic. Sequence analyses of entire hemagglutinin (H) and nucleoprotein (N) genes of the viruses indicated that all Korean isolates had a high degree of homology (>99.8%) when compared with each other. They differed from other wild-type viruses by as much as 6.8% in the H gene and 6.5% in the N gene at the nucleotide level. The deduced amino acid variability was up to 6.4% for the H protein and up to 6.5% for the N protein. Phylogenetic analysis of nucleotide sequences and deduced amino acid sequences of the H and N genes revealed that all Korean viruses were grouped into the genotype H1. This strongly demonstrated that single genotype of measles virus has been circulated in Korea during the 2000-2001 epidemic. Plaque reduction neutralizing antibody titers against vaccine strains, Edmonston and Schwarz, and recently isolated Korean strains were measured using sera from vaccinees and recently infected children. Although sera of recently infected children demonstrated higher neutralizing antibody titers against wild-type strains than against vaccine strains, both sera neutralized both strains and the reciprocal geometric mean titers (GMTs) were not significantly different against both strains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)649-654
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Medical Virology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Aug 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Characterization
  • Hemagglutinin
  • Measles virus
  • Nucleoprotein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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