A study of enteric viruses in raw and treated sewage from two secondary treatment plants, which received sewage from Oslo city (plant A) and small municipalities in Hedmark county in Norway (plant B), showed high levels of noro-, adeno-, and bocavirus throughout the year. A seasonal variation was observed for adeno- and GII norovirus with higher levels during winter and bocavirus that had more positive samples during winter. The virus concentrations in raw sewage were comparable in the two plants, with medians (log10 genome copies per liter) of 6.1, 6.3, 6.0, and 4.5 for noro GI, noro GII, adeno-, and bocavirus, respectively. The level of hepatitis E virus was not determined as it was below the limit of quantification. The mean log10 virus reduction was 0.55 (plant A) and 1.44 (plant B) with the highest reduction found in the plant with longer hydraulic retention time. The adenoviruses were dominantly serotype 41, while serotype 12 appeared sporadically. Of the 102 raw and treated sewage samples that were tested, eight were positive for hepatitis E virus of which four were from treated sewage. Two of the four obtained gene sequences from hepatitis E virus originated from the rural sewage samples and showed high similarity with a genotype 3 strain of hepatitis E virus detected in local piglets. Two other hepatitis E virus sequences obtained from urban sewage samples showed high similarities with genotype 3 strains isolated from urban sewage in Spain and a human genotype 1 isolate from India. The study gives information on the levels of noroviruses in raw and treated sewage, which is valuable to risk assessment, information indicating that some infections with hepatitis E viruses in Norway have a regional origin and that human bocavirus 2 and 3 are prevalent in the Norwegian population.
In Norway, no published data on seroprevalence of hepatitis E virus (HEV) in humans and swine exists. Serum samples from blood donors, veterinarians, swine farm workers and swine were analysed by ELISA to estimate the seroprevalence of HEV in Norway and to investigate the association between direct contact with swine and HEV seroprevalence in humans. The seroprevalence of HEV IgG antibodies was 30% (24/79) in farm workers, 13% (21/163) in veterinarians, 14% (162/1200) in blood donors and 90% (137/153) in swine. Our results show a high seroprevalence of HEV in humans and swine in Norway. HEV seroprevalence in farm workers and blood donors increased with age, and veterinarians working with swine were twice as likely to be HEV seropositive compared to other veterinarians. High HEV seroprevalence in farm workers and veterinarians working with swine support previous reports suggesting swine as a reservoir for HEV infections in humans in Europe.
In 2005, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health established a web-based outbreak rapid alert system called Vesuv. The system is used for mandatory outbreak alerts from municipal medical officers, healthcare institutions, and food safety authorities. As of 2013, 1426 outbreaks have been reported, involving 32913 cases. More than half of the outbreaks occurred in healthcare institutions (759 outbreaks, 53·2%). A total of 474 (33·2%) outbreaks were associated with food or drinking water. The web-based rapid alert system has proved to be a helpful tool by enhancing reporting and enabling rapid and efficient information sharing between different authorities at both the local and national levels. It is also an important tool for event-based reporting, as required by the International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005. Collecting information from all the outbreak alerts and reports in a national database is also useful for analysing trends, such as occurrence of certain microorganisms, places or sources of infection, or route of transmission. This can facilitate the identification of specific areas where more general preventive measures are needed.
In November 2013, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health was notified of a gastroenteritis outbreak following two meetings held at a conference centre. Identical food and beverages were served during the meetings. We investigated in order to identify the vehicle of infection and implement control measures. Meeting participants completed an online questionnaire on consumption of foods and beverages. We asked symptomatic participants to provide a stool sample. We defined a case as diarrhoea and/or vomiting in a participant who became ill within 3 days after the meeting. We calculated attack rates (AR) and adjusted risk ratios (aRR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) using binomial regression. We conducted environmental investigations. Overall, 147/168 (88%) participants responded, of which 74 (50%) met the case definition. All five stool samples provided were norovirus positive. No kitchen staff reported being sick. Risk of illness was higher in those who consumed raspberry mousse (aRR 3·4, 95% CI 1·4-8·2) and sliced fresh fruit (aRR 1·9, 95% CI 1·3-2·8). Seventy cases (95%) ate raspberry mousse. Frozen raspberries used for the mousse were imported and not heat-treated before consumption. Non-heat-treated frozen raspberries were the most likely outbreak vehicle. Contamination by a food handler could not be excluded. We recommend heat-treatment of imported frozen berries before consumption.
First-episode psychosis (FEP) patients show structural brain abnormalities. Whether the changes are progressive or not remain under debate, and the results from longitudinal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies are mixed. We investigated if FEP patients showed a different pattern of regional brain structural change over a 1-year period compared with healthy controls, and if putative changes correlated with clinical characteristics and outcome.
MRIs of 79 FEP patients [SCID-I-verified diagnoses: schizophrenia, psychotic bipolar disorder, or other psychoses, mean age 27.6 (s.d. = 7.7) years, 66% male] and 82 healthy controls [age 29.3 (s.d. = 7.2) years, 66% male] were acquired from the same 1.5 T scanner at baseline and 1-year follow-up as part of the Thematically Organized Psychosis (TOP) study, Oslo, Norway. Scans were automatically processed with the longitudinal stream in FreeSurfer that creates an unbiased within-subject template image. General linear models were used to analyse longitudinal change in a wide range of subcortical volumes and detailed thickness and surface area estimates across the entire cortex, and associations with clinical characteristics.
FEP patients and controls did not differ significantly in annual percentage change in cortical thickness or area in any cortical region, or in any of the subcortical structures after adjustment for multiple comparisons. Within the FEP group, duration of untreated psychosis, age at illness onset, antipsychotic medication use and remission at follow-up were not related to longitudinal brain change.
We found no significant longitudinal brain changes over a 1-year period in FEP patients. Our results do not support early progressive brain changes in psychotic disorders.
Normal birth weight variation affects schizophrenia risk and cognitive performance in schizophrenia patients and healthy controls. Brain cortical anatomy is altered in psychotic disorders and in low birth weight subjects, but if birth weight variation relates to cortical morphology across the psychosis spectrum is not known.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging brain scans and clinical-, neurocognitive-, and medical birth registry data were collected from 359 adults including patients with a DSM-IV diagnosis of schizophrenia (n = 90, mean age 29.4±10.2 [95% CI], 62% male), bipolar disorder (n = 79, age 29.4±11.8, 39% male) or other psychosis (n = 40, age 26.3±10.0, 56% male), and healthy controls (n = 140, age 30.8±12.0,53% male). We explored the relationship between whole-range birth weight variation and cortical surface area and thickness and their possible associations to cognitive performance.
Across all groups, lower birth weight was associated with smaller total surface area (t = 3.87, P = .0001), within specific regions of the temporal, parietal, and frontal cortex bilaterally. There were no associations between birth weight and cortical thickness, and no diagnosis by birth weight interaction effects on cortical thickness or surface area. Smaller cortical area (t = 2.50, P = .013) and lower birth weight (t = 2.53, P = .012) were significantly related to poorer working memory performance in all diagnostic groups except schizophrenia.
Birth weight relates to adult cortical surface area, but not cortical thickness, in patients across the psychosis spectrum and in healthy controls. Cortical area appears to be a diagnosis-independent general marker of early neurodevelopment, with a dose-response association to normal birth weight variation.
On 7 March 2014, an increase in hepatitis A virus (HAV) infections was identified in Norway. As of 12 April, 19 cases of HAV infection with a virus strain identical to an ongoing European outbreak have been identified. Six probable cases are currently under investigation. On 11 April, a frozen berry mix cake imported from another European country was found as the likely source of the outbreak; the importer has withdrawn the product in Norway.
Pre- and perinatal adversities may increase the risk for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Hypoxia-related obstetric complications (OCs) are associated with brain anatomical abnormalities in schizophrenia, but their association with brain anatomy variation in bipolar disorder is unknown.
Magnetic resonance imaging brain scans, clinical examinations and data from the Medical Birth Registry of Norway were obtained for 219 adults, including 79 patients with a DSM-IV diagnosis of bipolar disorder (age 29.4 years, s.d. = 11.8 years, 39% male) and 140 healthy controls (age 30.8 years, s.d. = 12.0 years, 53% male). Severe hypoxia-related OCs throughout pregnancy/birth and perinatal asphyxia were each studied in relation to a priori selected brain volumes (hippocampus, lateral ventricles and amygdala, obtained with FreeSurfer), using linear regression models covarying for age, sex, medication use and intracranial volume. Multiple comparison adjustment was applied.
Perinatal asphyxia was associated with smaller left amygdala volume (t = -2.59, p = 0.012) in bipolar disorder patients, but not in healthy controls. Patients with psychotic bipolar disorder showed distinct associations between perinatal asphyxia and smaller left amygdala volume (t = -2.69, p = 0.010), whereas patients with non-psychotic bipolar disorder showed smaller right hippocampal volumes related to both perinatal asphyxia (t = -2.60, p = 0.015) and severe OCs (t = -3.25, p = 0.003). No associations between asphyxia or severe OCs and the lateral ventricles were found.
Pre- and perinatal hypoxia-related OCs are related to brain morphometry in bipolar disorder in adulthood, with specific patterns in patients with psychotic versus non-psychotic illness.
In March 2012, a second outbreak of Cryptosporidium parvum affected children following a stay at a holiday farm in Norway; the first outbreak occurred in 2009. We studied a cohort of 145 schoolchildren who had visited the farm, of which 40 (28%) were cases. Cryptosporidium oocysts were detected in faecal samples from humans, goat kids and lambs. Molecular studies revealed C. parvum subtype IIa A19G1R1 in all samples including human samples from the 2009 outbreak. A dose-response relationship was found between the number of optional sessions with animals and illness, increasing from two sessions [risk ratio (RR) 2·7, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0·6-11·5] to six sessions (RR 8·0, 95% CI 1·7-37·7). The occurrence of two outbreaks 3 years apart, with the same subtype of C. parvum, suggests that the parasite is established in the farm's environment. We recommend greater emphasis on hand hygiene and routines related to animal contact.