Reported rubella cases in the United States are at the lowest numbers since the introduction of vaccine, suggesting that endemic transmission may have been interrupted. It is necessary to validate that the observed absence of rubella is due to the disappearance of disease rather than a failure of rubella surveillance.
Adequate rubella surveillance to detect ongoing transmission is characterized by evidence that rubella investigations are being conducted, detection of importations, and lack of spread from confirmed cases. We reviewed rubella surveillance data and activities from 5 sources: (1) data reported to the national surveillance system; (2) a survey of health departments and public health laboratories, including questions regarding any links between measles and rubella surveillance; (3) enhanced rubella surveillance activities in California and in New York City; (4) sentinel surveillance along the US-Mexico border; and (5) case detection in 8 large health maintenance organizations (HMOs).
During 2002-2004, 35 cases of rubella were reported to the national system, including 12 (34%) imported cases. The 39 programs that responded to our survey reported conducting 1482 investigations for rubella; according to another national survey, 1921 investigations were conducted for measles. Forty-one laboratories responded to our survey and reported conducting 6428 tests for acute rubella. No previously undetected (or unreported) cases of rubella or congenital rubella syndrome were identified by our survey or reviews of surveillance in California, New York, and along the US-Mexico border, and no additional cases were detected in the HMO database.
No previously unrecognized spread cases or outbreaks of rubella were detected. Surveillance in the United States is sufficiently sensitive to identify indigenous cases of rubella, if they were occurring, supporting the contention that rubella has been eliminated from the United States.
Streptococcus pneumoniae infections belong to the leading worldwide causes of illness and death among young children, people with underlying debilitating medical conditions, and the elderly. Following early documentation of infections due to pneumococcal strains with reduced penicillin susceptibility in Australia in 1967, and of infections due to penicillin-resistant strains in South Africa in 1978, pneumococcal resistance to penicillin and other antibiotics has progressed rapidly and is now a global problem. In Sweden, notification of the occurrence of pneumococci with a minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) > or = 0.5 mg/L for penicillin G (PcG) has been mandatory for general practitioners (GPs) and clinical microbiological laboratories since 1 January 1996. In 1996, 1,057 cases of infection by such pneumococci were reported by microbiological laboratories, but only 262 cases by GPs. With a view to minimising the impact of pneumococci with reduced penicillin susceptibility in Sweden, the National Board of Health and Welfare set up a working group of experts in November 1994. To reduce the transmission of such bacteria in the community, the working group introduced a control programme which includes the isolation of day-care children under six years of age carrying pneumococci with PcG-MICs > or = 0.5 mg/L. An enquiry among the 25 regional centres for infectious disease control in the country to ascertain compliance in the different counties of Sweden showed the programme to have been adhered to in a majority of counties, although many had chosen alternative measures to deal with the problem.
Community Acquired Infections Division, Centre for Communicable Diseases and Infection Control, Public Health Agency of Canada, 100 Eglantine Driveway, Ottawa, ON K1A 0K9, Canada. firstname.lastname@example.org
Investigations related to tuberculosis (TB) cases on airline flights have received increased attention in recent years. In Canada, reports of air travel by individuals with active TB are sent to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) for public health risk assessment and contact follow-up. A descriptive analysis was conducted to examine reporting patterns over time.
Reports of air travel by individuals with active TB received by PHAC between January 2006 and December 2008 were reviewed. Descriptive analyses were performed on variables related to reporting patterns, characteristics and actions taken.
The number of reports increased each year with 18, 35 and 51 reports received in 2006, 2007 and 2008, respectively. Of the 104 total cases, most were male (63%) and born outside of Canada (87%). Ninety-eight cases (97%) met the criteria for infectiousness and a contact investigation was initiated for 136 flights.
Reports of air travel by individuals with active TB have been increasing annually in Canada in recent years. Outcomes of the subsequent contact investigations, including passenger follow-up results and evidence of TB transmission, is necessary to further evaluate the effectiveness of the Canadian guidelines.
In March 1997, an outbreak of Vero cytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli O157 (VTEC) infection occurred amongst holidaymakers returning from Fuerteventura, Canary Islands. For the investigation, a confirmed case was an individual staying in Fuerteventura during March 1997, with either E. coli O157 VTEC isolated in stool, HUS or serological evidence of recent infection; a probable case was an individual with bloody diarrhoea without laboratory confirmation. Local and Europe-wide active case finding was undertaken through national centres, Salm-Net and the European Programme of Intervention Epidemiology, followed by a case-control study. Fourteen confirmed and one probable case were identified from England (7), Finland (5), Wales (1), Sweden (1) and Denmark (1) staying in four hotels. Three of the four hotels were supplied with water from a private well which appeared to be the probable vehicle of transmission. The case-control study showed illness was associated with consumption of raw vegetables (OR 8.4, 95% CI 1-5-48.2) which may have been washed in well water. This investigation shows the importance of international collaboration in the detection and investigation of clusters of enteric infection.
Several European countries are considering implementing surveillance systems for HIV infection, but questions remain regarding patient confidentiality. The population-based HIV/AIDS surveillance system in Norway integrates anonymous HIV case reports from laboratories and clinicians and named AIDS case reports. This evaluation includes a description of the system, evidence of system attributes, estimation of resources for system operations, and documentation of the system's usefulness. HIV case reports provide a far better picture of the epidemic than AIDS reports. The median delay between positive HIV test and reporting was 30 days (interquartile range 18-49 days). Completeness of demographic and epidemiologic information in the surveillance database ranges from 60 to 100%. Information on pre-AIDS mortality and emigration is incomplete. The system cost euro 25,200 in 1999. Results are published every week and used for planning of health care and prevention. We conclude that the Norwegian surveillance system with anonymous reporting of HIV cases is simple, inexpensive and flexible, and capable of providing a representative and timely overview that guides prevention. The system fulfils its objectives while respecting confidentiality and adhering to ethical principles. A similar system may be considered in other countries.
The aim of this study was to assess the quality of a consecutive sample of occupational disease notifications submitted to the National Working Environment Service during 1994. The sample consisted of 860 notifications describing occupational diseases among persons working in companies situated in the county of Vejle. The data information e.g. company name and address, time of employment, harmful exposure and disease, were registered. An overall data quality assessment was performed including evaluation of the etiological connection between described occupational exposure and disease and potential preventive perspectives. The study showed that the notified informations in general were adequate, but doctors need to pay more attention to dose description of the harmful exposure. About 80% of the notifications presented an adequate connection between occupational exposure and disease. Only half of the notifications described preventable and recent (less than five years) harmful exposure. In conclusion, the Danish occupational disease notification system is in general of a high standard, and the National Working Environment Service could make more use of doctors' information provided in these notifications.
Since 1989 the reporting of chlamydia infections is regulated by the Contagious Diseases Act, which stipulates that a physician who detects chlamydia is obliged to trace the patient's sexual partner(s). Up to 1994 the annual decrease in the number of chlamydia cases was 20 percent, which did not meet the goal stipulated by the County Council. A questionnaire study was carried out concerning diagnosis, treatment and public health intervention in chlamydia patients seen by general and private practitioners. While the clinical management was seen to adhere to the recommendations of the National Board of Health, adequate tracing of sexual contacts was not carried out in 20-45 per cent of the cases. In a major urban area, such as the County of Stockholm, referral of all chlamydia cases to specialist clinics could possibly improve not only the care of the patients but also the success rate in reaching their sex partners.