In February 1999, an outbreak of listeriosis caused by Listeria monocytogenes serotype 3a occurred in Finland. All isolates were identical. The outbreak strain was first isolated in 1997 in dairy butter. This dairy began delivery to a tertiary care hospital (TCH) in June 1998. From June 1998 to April 1999, 25 case patients were identified (20 with sepsis, 4 with meningitis, and 1 with abscess; 6 patients died). Patients with the outbreak strain were more likely to have been admitted to the TCH than were patients with other strains of L. monocytogenes (60% vs. 8%; odds ratio, 17.3; 95% confidence interval, 2.8-136.8). Case patients admitted to the TCH had been hospitalized longer before cultures tested positive than had matched controls (median, 31 vs. 10 days; P=.008). An investigation found the outbreak strain in packaged butter served at the TCH and at the source dairy. Recall of the product ended the outbreak.
Efforts to make novice drivers drive more safely on slippery roads by means of special courses have mainly failed. In order to understand why the courses have failed, the views of instructors and students on the goals of skid training courses were compared. The importance given to anticipating vs manoeuvring skills was analysed. After completing a skid training course, students in four Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden) assessed manoeuvring skills to be equally important to anticipating skills in the courses. However, instructors assessed anticipating skills to be more important than manoeuvring skills. The differences between the assessments of instructors and students were the same in all four countries. Manoeuvring exercises are widely used in the courses although the main purpose of these courses is to develop anticipating skills. The exercises may give students the impression that manoeuvring skills are more important than anticipating skills. Manoeuvring exercises also increase their self-confidence and may lead to underestimation of the risks involved, resulting in e.g. driving at higher speed.
The study evaluated the accident risk of certain driving circumstances and driving motives among novice drivers.
Self-reported exposure and accidents according to driving circumstances and driving motives were compared between young (n = 6,847) and middle-aged (n = 942) male and female novice drivers. For young drivers, self-reported accidents were further compared to fatal accidents (n = 645) in terms of the driving conditions in which they occurred. The survey was conducted in 2002 and the questions regarding the quantity and quality of driving exposure and accidents covered the first four years of the novice drivers' driving career after licensing. Data on fatal accidents related to the period of 1990 to 2000.
Leisure-time driving, driving just for fun, and driving with passengers and during evenings and at night was more typical for young drivers than for middle-aged drivers. For middle-aged drivers, the most typical driving was driving to or from work. Driving on errands was more typical for females than males. Nighttime driving was overrepresented in young drivers' self-reported and fatal accidents, compared to the share of young drivers' driving at night. Slippery road conditions were over-represented in young male drivers' self-reported accidents, but not in their fatal accidents, whereas for young females slippery road conditions seemed to increase the propensity of fatal accidents.
The study concluded that some driving conditions increase the risk of certain types of accidents among certain driver groups, but not among all drivers. For example, slippery road conditions were overrepresented in young male drivers' minor (self-reported) accidents, but not in their fatal accidents. For young female drivers slippery road conditions seem to increase the propensity of fatal accidents. Driving circumstances are different in minor (self-reported) and fatal accidents. When drawing conclusions regarding accident risk, it is important to determine the seriousness of the accidents which take place.
The study compared accident and offence rates of 28 500 novice drivers in Finland. The purpose was to study differences in accident and offence rates between male and female novice drivers of different age. The drivers reported in a mailed questionnaire, how many accidents they had been involved in and how much they had driven during their whole driving career. All the drivers had a driving experience of 6-18 months. Information about offences for a 2-year period was obtained from an official register of drivers' licences. The drivers were classified into three age brackets: 18-20, 21-30 and 31-50 years. The effect of driving experience was controlled by dividing the drivers into different mileage brackets. The data was analysed and the results were discussed in the framework of the hierarchical model of driving behaviour. Young novice drivers and especially young male drivers showed more problems connected to the higher hierarchical levels of driving behaviour than middle-aged novice drivers. The number of accidents and offences was highest among the young males and their accidents took place more often at night than female or older drivers' accidents. Female drivers showed more problems connected to the lower hierarchical levels of driving behaviour, e.g. problems in vehicle handling skills. Ways of measuring accident risk of different driver groups were also discussed, as well as the usefulness and reliability of self-reports in accident studies.
A widespread outbreak by Salmonella infantis, infecting a total of 226 people, occurred in Finland at the beginning of August 1986. Of those infected, 107 were railway passengers, 91 were airline passengers and 28 were employed in a food processing establishment. The outbreak among the railway passengers was caused by egg sandwiches, the airline passengers were infected by a meal served on board and the catering employees by the breakfast served in the establishment. The outbreak was caused by food prepared in the establishment's kitchen. The employees' breakfasts had probably been contaminated by an employee who was a symptom-free Salmonella infantis carrier, and a number of the employees subsequently became infected, leading to widespread contamination of the food prepared in the establishment. The spread of the outbreak was further influenced by a heatwave at the time and by shortcomings in the cold storage facilities. The kitchen's hygiene supervision and the quality control of its output were reorganized after the outbreak.
The association of self-reported hostility with morbidity and mortality due to external causes, including suicidal acts, was analyzed in 10,586 Finnish men and 10,857 Finnish women aged 24 to 59 years. Hostility was assessed from self-ratings on irritability, ease of anger-arousal, and argumentativeness. Three groups, low (33.6% of subjects), intermediate (50.6%), and extreme (15.9%), were formed from the self-reported hostility scores. A 6-year mortality follow-up yielded 76 violent deaths among men and 11 among women. A 4-year morbidity follow-up found 399 hospitalizations due to external causes among men and 169 among women. Among men, the risk ratio between the highest and lowest hostility groups was 1.51 (95% confidence interval, 1.16-1.96) for all events due to external causes and 3.6 (95% confidence interval, 1.63-7.89) for suicidal behavior, when effects of age, marital status, social status, and self-reported alcohol use were controlled in a multivariate model. No association was observed between traffic-related injuries and hostility. Hostility did not predict accidents or accidental deaths or suicidal behavior among women.