We present new and revised data for the phocine distemper virus (PDV) epidemics that resulted in the deaths of more than 23 000 harbour seals Phoca vitulina in 1988 and 30,000 in 2002. On both occasions the epidemics started at the Danish island of Anholt in central Kattegat, and subsequently spread to adjacent colonies in a stepwise fashion. However, this pattern was not maintained throughout the epidemics and new centres of infection appeared far from infected populations on some occasions: in 1988 early positive cases were observed in the Irish Sea, and in 2002 the epidemic appeared in the Dutch Wadden Sea, 6 wk after the initiation of the outbreak at Anholt Island. Since the harbour seal is a rather sedentary species, such 'jumps' in the spread among colonies suggest that another vector species could have been involved. We discussed the role of sympatric species as disease vectors, and suggested that grey seal populations could act as reservoirs for PDV if infection rates in sympatric species are lower than in harbour seals. Alternatively, grey seals could act as subclinical infected carriers of the virus between Arctic and North Sea seal populations. Mixed colonies of grey and harbour seal colonies are found at all locations where the jumps occurred. It seems likely that grey seals, which show long-distance movements, contributed to the spread among regions. The harbour seal populations along the Norwegian coast and in the Baltic escaped both epidemics, which could be due either to genetic differences among harbour seal populations or to immunity. Catastrophic events such as repeated epidemics should be accounted for in future models and management strategies of wildlife populations.
BACKGROUND. The rate of recurrence of a broad range of birth defects may decrease among women who change residence after the birth of their first infant. The aim of the present study was to determine the effect of changing residence on the recurrence of congenital facial-cleft defects. METHODS. We identified 4189 women who had infants with facial-cleft defects by linking a data base comprising the records of children with facial clefts born between 1952 and 1987 with the Central Person Registry in Denmark. Among the 4189 mothers, 1902 each had additional children after the first child with a facial-cleft defect. A total of 2692 younger siblings were identified. We compared the proportion of infants with facial-cleft defects among the younger siblings between mothers who had changed municipalities or sexual partners and those who had not. RESULTS. Changing the municipality of residence did not decrease the frequency with which facial-cleft defects recurred in younger siblings. Among the 907 infants of mothers who changed municipalities but not partners, 29 (3.2 percent) had facial-cleft defects, as compared with 48 (3.4 percent) of 1425 infants of mothers who changed neither municipality nor partner (relative risk, 0.9; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.6 to 1.5). However, a change of partner reduced the recurrence risk significantly. Among 236 infants of mothers who changed partners, 1 (0.4 percent) had a facial-cleft defect, as compared with 77 (3.3 percent) of 2350 infants of mothers who did not change partners (relative risk, 0.1; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.02 to 0.9). CONCLUSIONS. Recurrence of facial-cleft defects is not linked to the residence of the mother, but having a different partner reduced a woman's risk of having a second child with this defect.
As the cost of air travel has decreased substantially in the USA and Europe over the past few decades, leisure travel to vacation destinations during the winter months has expanded significantly. This trend has probably increased the incidence of significant ultraviolet radiation exposure and sunburn in a broader population who could not previously afford this kind of travel. The purpose of this study was to analyse the correlation between increasing accessibility to air travel and melanoma incidence. This ecological study surveyed air travel patterns and melanoma incidence over the past three decades. Melanoma age-adjusted incidence was obtained from the United States Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results 9 Registry Database, 1975-2000, and the Cancer Registry of Norway, 1965-2000. United States mean inflation-adjusted airfare prices for four airports linked to leisure destinations (Miami, Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix) were compared with melanoma incidence. Parallel analyses were performed using annual domestic passenger-kilometres and melanoma incidence in Norway. Declining United States leisure-specific airfares corresponded strongly with increasing melanoma incidence (r = 0.96, r = 0.92, P
Acrylamide, a probable human carcinogen, is formed in several foods during high-temperature processing. So far, epidemiological studies have not shown any association between human cancer risk and dietary exposure to acrylamide. The purpose of this study was to conduct a nested case control study within a prospective cohort study on the association between breast cancer and exposure to acrylamide using biomarkers. N-terminal hemoglobin adduct levels of acrylamide and its genotoxic metabolite, glycidamide in red blood cells were analyzed (by LC/MS/MS) as biomarkers of exposure on 374 breast cancer cases and 374 controls from a cohort of postmenopausal women. The adduct levels of acrylamide and glycidamide were similar in cases and controls, with smokers having much higher levels (approximately 3 times) than nonsmokers. No association was seen between acrylamide-hemoglobin levels and breast cancer risk neither unadjusted nor adjusted for the potential confounders HRT duration, parity, BMI, alcohol intake and education. After adjustment for smoking behavior, however, a positive association was seen between acrylamide-hemoglobin levels and estrogen receptor positive breast cancer with an estimated incidence rate ratio (95% CI) of 2.7 (1.1-6.6) per 10-fold increase in acrylamide-hemoglobin level. A weak association between glycidamide hemoglobin levels and incidence of estrogen receptor positive breast cancer was also found, this association, however, entirely disappeared when acrylamide and glycidamide hemoglobin levels were mutually adjusted.