Rotavirus (RV) infections affect young children, but can also occur in adults. We sought to identify risk factors for RV infections in adults aged ?18 years in Denmark, and to describe illness and genotyping characteristics. From March 2005 to February 2009, we recruited consecutive cases of laboratory-confirmed RV infection and compared them with healthy controls matched by age, gender and municipality of residence. We collected information on illness characteristics and exposures using postal questionnaires. We calculated univariable and multivariable matched odds ratios (mOR) with conditional logistic regression. The study comprised 65 cases and 246 controls. Illness exceeded 10 days in 31% of cases; 22% were hospitalized. Cases were more likely than controls to suffer serious underlying health conditions [mOR 5·6, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·7-18], and to report having had close contact with persons with gastrointestinal symptoms (mOR 9·4, 95% CI 3·6-24), in particular young children aged 18 years. Close contact with young children or adults with gastrointestinal symptoms is the main risk factor for RV infection in adults in Denmark. RV vaccination assessments should consider that RV vaccination in children may indirectly reduce the burden of disease in adults.
Following an unusually heavy rainfall in June 2009, a community-wide outbreak of Campylobacter gastroenteritis occurred in a small Danish town. The outbreak investigation consisted of (1) a cohort study using an e-questionnaire of disease determinants, (2) microbiological study of stool samples, (3) serological study of blood samples from cases and asymptomatic members of case households, and (4) environmental analyses of the water distribution system. The questionnaire study identified 163 cases (respondent attack rate 16%). Results showed a significant dose-response relationship between consumption of tap water and risk of gastroenteritis. Campylobacter jejuni belonging to two related flaA types were isolated from stool samples. Serum antibody levels against Campylobacter were significantly higher in cases than in asymptomatic persons. Water samples were positive for coliform bacteria, and the likely mode of contamination was found to be surface water leaking into the drinking-water system. This geographically constrained outbreak presented an ideal opportunity to study the serological response in persons involved in a Campylobacter outbreak. The serology indicated that asymptomatic persons from the same household may have been exposed, during the outbreak period, to Campylobacter at doses that did not elicit symptoms or alternatively had been exposed to Campylobacter at a time prior to the outbreak, resulting in residual immunity and thus absence of clinical signs.
Owing to under-ascertainment it is difficult if not impossible to determine the incidence of a given disease based on cases notified to routine public health surveillance. This is especially true for diseases that are often present in mild forms as for example diarrhoea caused by foodborne bacterial infections. This study presents a Bayesian approach for obtaining incidence estimates by use of measurements of serum antibodies against Salmonella from a cross-sectional study. By comparing these measurements with antibody measurements from a follow-up study of infected individuals it was possible to estimate the time since last infection for each individual in the cross-sectional study. These time estimates were then converted into incidence estimates. Information about the incidence of Salmonella infections in Denmark was obtained by using blood samples from 1780 persons. The estimated incidence was about 0.094 infections per person year. This number corresponds to 325 infections per culture-confirmed case captured in the Danish national surveillance system. We present a novel approach, termed as seroincidence, that has potentials to compare the sensitivity of public health surveillance between different populations, countries and over time.
In industrialized countries enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) is mainly diagnosed as a cause of travellers' diarrhoea, but it is also known to cause foodborne outbreaks. We report an outbreak of acute gastroenteritis caused by ETEC serotypes O92:H- and O153:H2 as well as Salmonella Anatum, which affected around 200 students and teachers after a high-school dinner in Greater Copenhagen, Denmark, November 2006. A retrospective cohort study showed that consumption of pasta salad with pesto was associated with an increased risk of illness (attack rate 59.4%; risk ratio 2.6, 95% confidence interval 1.2-5.7). Imported fresh basil used for preparation of the pesto was the most likely source of contamination. Although ETEC is associated with travellers' diarrhoea in Denmark, this outbreak suggests that a proportion of sporadic ETEC infections might be caused by contaminated imported foodstuffs. To improve food safety further, it is important to target this poorly regulated and researched area.
We report a large foodborne outbreak due to group A streptococci (GAS), which caused acute tonsillo-pharyngitis in 200-250 patrons of a company canteen in Copenhagen, Denmark, in June 2006. A retrospective cohort study of canteen users showed that consumption of cold pasta was associated with an increased risk of illness (attack rate 68%, risk ratio 4.1, P
Group A rotaviruses infect humans and a variety of animals. In July 2006 a rare rotavirus strain with G8P specificity was identified in the stool samples of two adult patients with diarrheoa, who lived in the same geographical area in Denmark. Nucleotide sequences of the VP7, VP4, VP6, and NSP4 genes of the identified strains were identical. Phylogenetic analyses showed that both Danish G8P strains clustered with rotaviruses of animal, mainly, bovine and caprine, origin. The high genetic relatedness to animal rotaviruses and the atypical epidemiological features suggest that these human G8P strains were acquired through direct zoonotic transmission events.