Since Dr. Fogh-Andersen's legendary 1942 thesis, the Danish facial cleft population has been one of the most extensively studied in terms of epidemiology and genetic-epidemiology. The etiology of cleft lip and/or palate (CLP) is still largely an enigma, and different results concerning environmental and genetic risk factors are obtained in different countries and regions. This may be due to etiological heterogeneity between settings. Therefore, an in-depth studied area with an ethnically homogeneous population, such as Denmark, has provided one of the best opportunities for progress in CLP etiological research. The present review summarizes epidemiological and genetic-epidemiological studies conducted in the 20th century Danish facial cleft population. Furthermore, analyses of sex differences, time trends and seasonality for more than 7000 CLP cases born in Denmark in the period 1936 to 1987 are presented. The review also points toward the excellent opportunities for continued etiological CLP research in Denmark in the 21st century using already established resources and an on-going prospective cohort study of 100,000 pregnant women.
Enterovirus uveitis (EU) is a new infant eye disease that was first detected and identified in Russia in 1980-1981. Three subtypes of human echoviruses (EV19K, EV11A, and EV11/B) caused 5 nosocomial outbreaks of EU in different Siberian cities and towns in 1980-1989, by affecting more than 750 children mainly below one year of age. Sporadic and focal EU cases (more than 200) were also retrospectively diagnosed in other regions of Russia and in different countries of the former Soviet Union. There were following clinical manifestations: common symptoms of the infection; acute uveitis (rapid focal iridic destruction, pupillary deformities, formation of membranes in the anterior chamber of the eye); and in 15-30% of cases severe complications, cataract, glaucoma, vision impairments. Uveitis strains EV19 and EV11 caused significant uveitis in primates after inoculation into the anterior chamber of the eye, as well as sepsis-like fatal disease with liver necrosis after venous infection. The uveitis strains are phylogenetically and pathogenetically close for primates to strains EV19 and EV11 isolated from young children with sepsis-like disease. The contents of this review have been published in the Reviews in Medical Virology, 2004, vol. 14, p. 241-254.
In 2000, a large enterovirus (EV) outbreak was seen in Denmark; the number of patients with a verified EV infection was 3-fold higher compared to previous y. Echovirus 30 (E30) was the dominant EV type and was detected in 31% of all 306 EV positive patients and in 61% of the 155 patients in whom typing was successful. The outbreak started in February and peaked in June, which is unusually early in a temperate climate and not registered before in Denmark. The age distribution of the patients also differed from previous y with a significantly higher proportion of older children and adults being affected. The patients had mainly symptoms consistent with aseptic meningitis. A phylogenetic analysis based upon a part of the VP1 structural gene of 21 E30 isolates showed that the Danish isolates belonged to the E30 genotype which has prevailed in Europe during the last few years. However, they constituted a separated cluster compared with 2 other outbreaks in other parts of Europe in 2000.
Widespread circulation of human enterovirus 71 was discovered in a prospective study of fecal samples obtained from healthy Norwegian children. Molecular characterization of the virus determined that it belonged to genotype C1. Complete sequencing of this strain, HEV71 804/NO/03, revealed differences in the 5'UTR and polymerase with respect to more pathogenic genotypes that may explain its reduced neurovirulence.
Serious complications of homocystinuria caused by cystathionine beta-synthase deficiency can be prevented by early intervention. We determined the prevalence of 6 specific mutations in 1133 newborn blood samples. Our results suggest that homocystinuria is more common than previously reported. Newborn screening for homocystinuria through mutation detection should be further considered.
A 70-year-old woman fell seriously ill overnight with meningitis and was admitted to hospital. Cerebrospinal fluid culture yielded Listeria monocytogenes. One of the first problems in solving a human case of listeriosis suspected to be foodborne is to find the foods likely to have been transmitting L. monocytogenes. Two enrichment procedures and a direct plating procedure were used for isolation of the bacteria from different food items collected from the patient's refrigerator, local retail store and producer. Samples of vacuum-packed products of sliced pork brawn, sliced cooked medwurst and berliner wurst of the same brand harboured L. monocytogenes. Serotyping and restriction enzyme analysis (REA) with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) were used to characterize and compare 41 isolates, including the human strain. At least three clones were present in the foods investigated, and one of these was identical to the human clone. This clone was present in samples of medwurst from the patient's refrigerator and the local retail store. This is, to our knowledge, the first proven foodborne case of listeriosis reported in Sweden.
At present eight hepatitis B virus (HBV) genotypes have been characterized: A to H. The most common genotype in Northern Europe is genotype A. So far there is no record of the specific HBV genotype distribution in Iceland. Iceland has a small population whose homogeneity has changed due to increasing migration during the past decades. The distribution of HBV genotypes in Iceland was analyzed using sera from 170 Icelandic patients. The samples were obtained before 1989, during an HBV epidemic among intravenous drug users in 1989 to 1992 and after 1994. A fragment of the HBV S-gene was amplified, sequenced and subjected to phylogenetic analysis. Among samples derived before 1989 genotypes A, C, and D were found. Most of the samples diagnosed during the epidemic belonged to genotype D and a smaller portion to genotype A. This suggests that the epidemic was most likely caused either by an endogenous HBV strain or by a strain imported from Europe or the USA. Among samples obtained after 1994, genotypes A to E and G were found, but the majority were of genotypes A, C, and D. This is consistent with an increase in migration and immigration from regions in Asia and Africa during the past 10 years. Thus, the changing prevalence of HBV genotypes in a small isolated community such as Iceland reflects the influence of migration and increasing contacts with regions outside the Western World.
An epidemic of hepatitis A virus (HAV) among intravenous drug abusers in Oslo involved 144 serologically confirmed cases. Another 26 patients (non-drug abusers), of whom 14 were derived from a single nosocomial outbreak, were associated with the epidemic. Sequencing of the VP1/P2A junction revealed that viruses associated with the epidemic were completely identical, whereas other HAV samples collected during the same period differed by up to 10%. HAV was detected in the serum of 48 of 100 patients by a nested PCR. Viremia was observed as early as 25 days before the onset of clinical hepatitis, and up to 30 days after. The large number of patients within the drug abuser group, and the few secondary cases, raised the question of whether the virus could be transmitted by the use of needles. To establish whether viral contamination of drugs did contribute appreciably to maintaining the epidemic, we examined heroin and amphetamine confiscated during the period, using immunomagnetic separation coupled to nested PCR, but failed to detect any virus. Antibodies against hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus were common among the HAV infected drug abusers (43% and 81%, respectively), suggesting widespread sharing of needles. This observation and the large number of patients with a demonstrable viremia suggest that needle sharing may contribute to the dissemination of HAV.
Sixty-seven patients in 29 families with the diagnosis of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease or hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy in northern Sweden were examined by pedigree and DNA analysis for the CMT1a duplication within chromosome 17p11.2. There were 39 patients in nine families with Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 1 and autosomal dominant inheritance and in all these cases the duplication was seen. In six patients in three families with Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 1 the pedigrees strongly suggested autosomal recessive inheritance. In two patients DNA analysis was not informative but in the others no duplication was shown. There were also 11 "sporadic" patients and one pair of sibs classified as Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 1, but there was no duplication shown although in four patients DNA analysis was not informative. In nine patients with Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 2 from five families and in 13 unaffected relatives of Charcot-Marie-Tooth patients the CMT1a duplication was not found.