In March and April 2009, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health was notified about two groups of schoolchildren with gastroenteritis following a stay at a Norwegian wildlife reserve. Although at first considered a typical norovirus outbreak, an investigation that considered other possibilities was initiated.
A retrospective cohort study was conducted among schoolchildren visiting the reserve in the relevant weeks. A web-based questionnaire was distributed by email. Faecal samples of visitors and employees were analysed. The premises were inspected, and water samples and animal faeces analysed.
We received 141 replies (response rate 84%); 74 cases were identified. Cryptosporidium oocysts were detected in faecal samples from 9/12 (75%) visitors and 2/15 (13%) employees. One employee diagnosed with Cryptosporidium infection helped in the kitchen. Additionally, one pupil was diagnosed with norovirus infection. No food item was identified as a source of the outbreak. Pathogens were not detected in water samples taken in week 12, one week from the start of the outbreak. Escherichia coli, but not Cryptosporidium oocysts, were detected in water samples taken one month later.
Although Cryptosporidium is seldom considered as an aetiological agent of gastrointestinal illness in Norway, this outbreak indicates that it should not be excluded. In this cryptosporidiosis outbreak, the largest in Norway to date, the transmission vehicle was not definitively identified, but a food handler, water, and animal contact could not be excluded. We recommend improving hand hygiene routines, boiling drinking water, and emphasise that people who are unwell, particularly those working in catering, should stay away from work.
Cryptosporidium and Giardia are recognised as common causes of waterborne disease in several countries. In order to describe investigative practices for these protozoan parasites in Norway, we surveyed medical microbiology laboratories nationwide for faecal screening policies and methods used for detection of Cryptosporidium and Giardia.
All medical microbiology laboratories in Norway received questionnaires on laboratory methods, indications for screening, and numbers of samples investigated over the 1998-2002 period.
Of the 22 laboratories that receive faecal samples, 17 had established diagnostic routines for Giardia detection, 14 for Cryptosporidium. Examination for Giardia cysts was standard procedure in all 17 laboratories, mainly in specimens from immigrants and travellers returning from abroad. Examination for Cryptosporidium was, on the other hand, infrequent. Ten of the 14 laboratories reported less than 10 examinations per year. Giardia was frequently detected, with 1 to 6% positive samples in the various laboratories. Cryptosporidium was seldom detected; all laboratories reported only 0-1 positive sample per year.
While laboratories frequently screen faecal samples for Giardia, screening for Cryptosporidium is rare. Little is known about the public health significance of domestic infections with these parasites in Norway; further investigation is needed in order to estimate the burden of disease they cause and to implement control measures if required.
The approach to surveillance of Lyme borreliosis varies between countries, depending on the purpose of the surveillance system and the notification criteria used, which prevents direct comparison of national data. In Norway, Lyme borreliosis is notifiable to the Surveillance System for Communicable Diseases (MSIS). The current notification criteria include a combination of clinical and laboratory results for borrelia infection (excluding Erythema migrans) but there are indications that these criteria are not followed consistently by clinicians and by laboratories. Therefore, an evaluation of Lyme borreliosis surveillance in Norway was conducted to describe the purpose of the system and to assess the suitability of the current notification criteria in order to identify areas for improvement.
The CDC Guidelines for Evaluation of Surveillance Systems were used to develop the assessment of the data quality, representativeness and acceptability of MSIS for surveillance of Lyme borreliosis. Data quality was assessed through a review of data from 1996 to 2013 in MSIS and a linkage of MSIS data from 2008 to 2012 with data from the Norwegian Patient Registry (NPR). Representativeness and acceptability were assessed through a survey sent to 23 diagnostic laboratories.
Completeness of key variables for cases reported to MSIS was high, except for geographical location of exposureThe NPR-MSIS linkage identified 1047 cases in both registries, while 363 were only reported to MSIS and 3914 were only recorded in NPR. A higher proportion of cases found in both registries were recorded as neuroborreliosis in MSIS (84.4 %) than those cases found only in MSIS (20.1 %). The trend (average yearly increase or decrease in reported cases) of neuroborreliosis in MSIS was not significantly different from the trend for all other clinical manifestations recorded in MSIS in negative binomial regression (p?=?0.3). The 16 surveyed laboratories (response proportion 70 %) indicated differences in testing practices and low acceptability of the notification criteria.
Given the challenges associated with diagnosing Lyme borreliosis, the selected notification criteria should be closely linked with the purpose of the surveillance system. Restricting reportable Lyme borreliosis to neuroborreliosis may increase validity, while a more sensitive case definition (potentially including erythema migrans) may better reflect the true burden of disease. We recommend revising the current notification criteria in Norway to ensure that they are unambiguous for clinicians and laboratories.
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During maintenance work or breaks on the water distribution system, water pressure occasionally will be reduced. This may lead to intrusion of polluted water-either at the place of repair or through cracks or leaks elsewhere in the distribution system. The objective of this study was to assess whether breaks or maintenance work in the water distribution system with presumed loss of water pressure was associated with an increased risk of gastrointestinal illness among recipients.
We conducted a cohort study among recipients of water from seven waterworks in Norway during 2003-04. One week after an episode of mains breaks or maintenance work on the water distribution system, the exposed and unexposed households were interviewed about gastrointestinal illness in the week following the episode.
During the 1-week period after the episode, 12.7% of the exposed households reported gastrointestinal illness in the household, compared with 8.0% in the unexposed households [risk ratio (RR) 1.58, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.1, 2.3]. The risk was highest in households with higher average water consumption. The attributable fraction among the exposed households was 37% in the week following exposure.
Our results show that breaks and maintenance work in the water distribution systems caused an increased risk of gastrointestinal illness among water recipients. Better data on the occurrence of low-pressure episodes and improved registration of mains breaks and maintenance work on the water distribution network are needed in order to assess the public health burden of contamination of drinking water within the distribution network.
Hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) is a clinical triad of microangiopathic hemolytic anemia, impaired renal function and thrombocytopenia, primarily affecting pre-school-aged children. HUS can be classified into diarrhea-associated HUS (D(+)HUS), usually caused by Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC), and non-diarrhea-associated HUS (D(-)HUS), both with potentially serious acute and long-term complications. Few data exists on the clinical features and long-term outcome of HUS in Norway. The aim of this paper was to describe these aspects of HUS in children over a 10-year period.
We retrospectively collected data on clinical features, therapeutic interventions and long-term aspects directly from medical records of all identified HUS cases
Water advisories, especially those concerning boiling drinking water, are widely used to reduce risks of infection from contaminants in the water supply. Since the effectiveness of boil water advisories (BWAs) depends on public compliance, monitoring the public response to such advisories is essential for protecting human health. However, assessments of public compliance with BWAs remain sparse. Thus, this study was aimed at investigating awareness and compliance among residents who had received BWAs in Baerum municipality in Norway.
We conducted a cross-sectional study among 2764 residents who had received water advisories by SMS in the municipality of Baerum between January and September 2017. We analysed data from two focus group discussions and an online survey sent to all residents who had received an advisory. We conducted descriptive analyses and calculated odds ratios (OR) using logistic regression to identify associations of compliance and awareness with demographic characteristics.
Of the 611 respondents, 67% reported that they had received a water advisory notification. Effective compliance rate with safe drinking water practices, either by storing clean drinking water or boiling tap water, after a water outage was 72% among those who remembered receiving a notification. Compliance with safe drinking water advisories was lower among men than women (OR 0.53, 95% CI 0.29-0.96), but was independent of age, education and household type. The main reason for respondents' non-compliance with safe water practices was that they perceived the water to be safe to drink after letting it flush through the tap until it became clear.
Awareness of advisories was suboptimal among residents who had received notifications, but compliance was high. The present study highlights the need to improve the distribution, phrasing and content of water advisory notifications to achieve greater awareness and compliance. Future studies should include hard-to-reach groups with adequate data collection approaches and examine the use of BWAs in a national context to inform future policies on BWAs.
iosis was the most common clinical manifestation (71%), followed by arthritis/arthralgia (22%) and acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans (5%). Forty six per cent of patients were admitted to hospital. Prevention of borreliosis in Norway relies on measures to prevent tick bites, such as use of protective clothing and insect repellents, and early detection and removal of ticks. Antibiotics are generally not recommended for prophylaxis after tick bites in Norway.
From May through June 2001, an outbreak of acute gastroenteritis that affected at least 200 persons occurred in a combined activity camp and conference center in Stockholm County. The source of illness was contaminated drinking water obtained from private wells. The outbreak appears to have started with sewage pipeline problems near the kitchen, which caused overflow of the sewage system and contaminated the environment. While no pathogenic bacteria were found in water or stools specimens, norovirus was detected in 8 of 11 stool specimens and 2 of 3 water samples by polymerase chain reaction. Nucleotide sequencing of amplicons from two patients and two water samples identified an emerging genotype designated GGIIb, which was circulating throughout several European countries during 2000 and 2001. This investigation documents the first waterborne outbreak of viral gastroenteritis in Sweden, where nucleotide sequencing showed a direct link between contaminated water and illness.
Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Section of Zoonotic, Food- and Waterborne Infections, P.O. Box 222 Skøyen, 0213 Oslo, Norway E-mail: email@example.com; University of Oslo, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Health and Society, Oslo, Norway.
Water supply systems, in particular small-scale water supply systems, are vulnerable to adverse events that may jeopardise safe drinking water. The consequences of contamination events or the failure of daily operations may be severe, affecting many people. In Norway, a 24-hour crisis advisory service was established in 2017 to provide advice on national water supplies. Competent and expert advisors from water suppliers throughout the country assist other water suppliers and individuals who may be in need of advice during an adverse event. This paper describes the establishment of this service and experiences from the first three years of its operation. Since the launch of the service, water suppliers across Norway have consulted it approximately one to two times a month for advice, in particular about contamination events and near misses. The outcomes have helped to improve guidance on water hygiene issues at the national level.
BACKGROUND: Between November 2 and 10, 2002 several patients with psoriasis and personnel staying in the health centre in Gran Canaria, Spain fell ill with diarrhoea, vomiting or both. Patient original came from Norway, Sweden and Finland. The patient group was scheduled to stay until 8 November. A new group of patients were due to arrive from 7 November. METHODS: A retrospective cohort study was conducted to assess the extent of the outbreak, to identify the source and mode of transmission and to prevent similar problems in the following group. RESULTS: Altogether 41% (48/116) of persons staying at the centre fell ill. Norovirus infection was suspected based on clinical presentations and the fact that no bacteria were identified. Kaplan criteria were met. Five persons in this outbreak were hospitalised and the mean duration of diarrhoea was 3 days. The consequences of the illness were more severe compared to many other norovirus outbreaks, possibly because many of the cases suffered from chronic diseases and were treated with drugs reported to affect the immunity (methotrexate or steroids).During the two first days of the outbreak, the attack rate was higher in residents who had consumed dried fruit (adjusted RR = 3.1; 95% CI: 1.4-7.1) and strawberry jam (adjusted RR = 1.9; 95% CI: 0.9-4.1) than those who did not. In the following days, no association was found. The investigation suggests two modes of transmission: a common source for those who fell ill during the two first days of the outbreak and thereafter mainly person to person transmission. This is supported by a lower risk associated with the two food items at the end of the outbreak. CONCLUSIONS: We believe that the food items were contaminated by foodhandlers who reported sick before the outbreak started. Control measures were successfully implemented; food buffets were banned, strict hygiene measures were implemented and sick personnel stayed at home >48 hours after last symptoms.