OBJECTIVE: Our aim was to investigate the role of measles vaccination and measles infection in the development of allergic disease and atopic sensitization. METHODS: A total of 14 893 children were included from the cross-sectional, multicenter Prevention of Allergy-Risk Factors for Sensitization in Children Related to Farming and Anthroposophic Lifestyle study, conducted in 5 European countries (Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland). The children were between 5 and 13 years of age and represented farm children, Steiner-school children, and 2 reference groups. Children attending Steiner schools often have an anthroposophic (holistic) lifestyle in which some immunizations are avoided or postponed. Parental questionnaires provided information on exposure and lifestyle factors as well as symptoms and diagnoses in the children. A sample of the children was invited for additional tests, and 4049 children provided a blood sample for immunoglobulin E analyses. Only children with complete information on measles vaccination and infection were included in the analyses (84%). RESULTS: In the whole group of children, atopic sensitization was inversely associated with measles infection, and a similar tendency was seen for measles vaccination. To reduce risks of disease-related modification of exposure, children who reported symptoms of wheezing and/or eczema debuting during first year of life were excluded from some analyses. After this exclusion, inverse associations were observed between measles infection and "any allergic symptom" and "any diagnosis of allergy by a physician." However, no associations were found between measles vaccination and allergic disease. CONCLUSION: Our data suggest that measles infection may protect against allergic disease in children.
The aim of this retrospective observational study was to evaluate age, length of hospital stay and development of complications in children hospitalized with community- or nosocomially- acquired rotavirus gastroenteritis (RV GE). In total, medical records of 984 children with RV GE were analysed retrospectively. The median age was 13.8 months (3 weeks to 99 months) in children with community acquired RV GE (n=723) and 9.0 months (range 3 weeks to 82 months) in children with nosocomially acquired RV GE (n=261). During this 11-y surveillance, only 2 children were admitted twice for a RV GE, suggesting development of subsequent protective immunity against severe rotavirus gastroenteritis after the first episode. Complications occurred in 16.5% of the children with community acquired RV GE and only in 1.9% of the nosocomially acquired RV GE. Identified complications in children with community acquired RV GE were: severe dehydration resulting in intensive care (1.7%), death (0.1%), hypertonic dehydration (9.1%), seizures (4.0%) and encephalitis with abnormal EEG (1.7%). The median age of children in need of intensive care was 9.1 months and in those developing hypertonic dehydration 10.8 months, both significantly lower than in children with no complications (p
Norovirus strains belonging to the GII.4 genotype dominate as a cause of nosocomial outbreaks of viral gastroenteritis in Sweden 1997--2005. Arrival of new variants is associated with large nation-wide epidemics.
BACKGROUND: In recent years an increase of the incidence of nosocomial outbreaks caused by noroviruses has been observed throughout Sweden, with high peaks noted in the winter seasons 2002/2003 and 2004/2005, respectively. OBJECTIVES: To phylogenetically characterize norovirus strains causing nosocomial outbreaks from 1997 to 2005 and estimate the impact of norovirus-like disease on the Swedish health care system during the peak season 2002/2003 when a new variant of norovirus occurred. STUDY DESIGN: Stool samples from 115 randomly selected nosocomial outbreaks occurring during 1997--2005 throughout Sweden were studied by RT-PCR and sequencing. In addition, to investigate the impact on the health-care system, a questionnaire was distributed to infection control units (n=90) serving all Swedish hospitals, nursing homes and other health-care institutions during the largest epidemic of nosocomial outbreaks. RESULTS: Sequencing of 279 nucleotides of the norovirus RNA polymerase gene in stools containing norovirus RNA showed that strains belonging to the GII.4 genotype dominated. Each of the two large epidemics was due to a new variant within this cluster. The questionnaire revealed that 30,000-35,000 episodes of nosocomial norovirus-like infections occurred in 80 of 82 major Swedish hospitals affected in 2002/2003. CONCLUSION: New norovirus variants within the cluster GGII.4 may have a major impact on the health-care system.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate age-specific measles susceptibility in Australia and 17 European countries. METHODS: As part of the European Sero-Epidemiology Network 2 (ESEN2), 18 countries collected large national serum banks between 1996 and 2004. These banks were tested for measles IgG and the results converted to a common unitage to enable valid intercountry comparisons. Historical vaccination and disease incidence data were also collected. Age-stratified population susceptibility levels were compared to WHO European Region targets for measles elimination of