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Enterovirus A71 (EV-A71)-related hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) imposes a substantial clinical burden in the Asia Pacific region. To inform policy on the introduction of the EV-A71 vaccine into the National Immunization Programme, we investigated the seroepidemiological characteristics of EV-A71 in two prospective cohorts of children in southern China conducted between 2013 and 2018. Our results show that maternal antibody titres declined rapidly in neonates, with over half becoming susceptible to EV-A71 at 1 month of age. Between 6 months and 2 years of age, over 80% of study participants were susceptible, while one third remained susceptible at 5 years old. The highest incidence of EV-A71 infections was observed in children aged 5-6 months. Our findings support EV-A71 vaccination before 6 months for birth cohorts in southern China, potentially with a one-time catch-up vaccination for children 6 months-5 years old. More regionally representative longitudinal seroepidemiological studies are needed to further validate these findings.

Original publication




Journal article


Nature communications

Publication Date





School of Public Health, Fudan University, Key Laboratory of Public Health Safety, Ministry of Education, Shanghai, China.