In the last several years, West Nile virus (WNV) was proven to be present especially in the neighboring countries of Austria, such as Italy, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, as well as in eastern parts of Austria, where it was detected in migratory and domestic birds. In summer 2010, infections with WNV were reported from Romania and northern Greece with about 150 diseased and increasingly fatal cases. We tested the sera of 1,607 blood donors from North Tyrol (Austria) and South Tyrol (Italy) for antibodies against WNV by using IgG enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Initial results of the ELISA tests showed seroprevalence rates of 46.2% in North Tyrol and 0.5% in South Tyrol, which turned out to be false-positive cross-reactions with antibodies against tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) by adjacent neutralization assays. These results indicate that seropositivity against WNV requires confirmation by neutralization assays, as cross-reactivity with TBEV is frequent and because, currently, WNV is not endemic in the study area.
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma is a disease with a remarkable racial and geographical distribution. In most parts of the world it is a rare condition and in only a handful of places does this low risk profile alter. These include the Southern Chinese, Eskimos and other Arctic natives, inhabitants of South-East Asia and also the populations of North Africa and Kuwait.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) most commonly affects individuals of Northern European descent who live in countries at high latitude. The relative contributions of ancestry, country of birth and residence as determinants of MS risk have been studied in adult MS, but have not been explored in the pediatric MS population. In this study, we compare the demographics of pediatric- and adult-onset MS patients cared for in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, a multicultural region. The country of birth, residence during childhood, and ancestry were compared for 44 children and 573 adults. Our results demonstrate that although both the pediatric and adult cohorts were essentially born and raised in the same region of Ontario, Canada, children with MS were more likely to report Caribbean, Asian or Middle Eastern ancestry, and were less likely to have European heritage compared with individuals with adult-onset MS. The difference in ancestry between the pediatric and adult MS cohorts can be explained by two hypotheses: (1) individuals raised in a region of high MS prevalence, but whose ancestors originate from regions in which MS is rare, have an earlier age of MS onset, and (2) the place of residence during childhood, irrespective of ancestry, determines lifetime MS risk -- a fact that will be reflected in a change in the demographics of the adult MS cohort in our region as Canadian-raised children of recent immigrants reach the typical age of adult-onset MS.
A recent method of age-standardisation of relative survival ratios for cancer patients does not require calculation of age-specific relative survival ratios, as ratios of age-specific proportions between the standard population and study group at the beginning of the follow-up are used to substitute the original individual observations. This method, however, leads to direct age-standardisation with weights that are different for each patient group if the general population mortality patterns for the groups are different. This is the case in international comparisons, and in comparisons between genders and time periods. The magnitude of the bias caused by the differences in general population mortality is investigated for comparisons involving European countries and the USA. Patients in each country are assumed to have exactly the same age-specific relative survival ratios as those diagnosed in Finland in 1985-2004. An application of a properly functioning age-standardisation method should then give exactly equal age-standardised relative survival ratios for each country. However, the recent method shows substantial differences between countries, with highest relative survival for populations, where the general population mortality in the oldest ages is the highest. This source of error can thus be a serious limitation for the use of the method, and other methods that are available should then be employed.
Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) is a disease resulting from a hypersensitivity response to Aspergillus fumigatus, although the pathogenesis of the disease is unknown and its prevalence in cystic fibrosis (CF) is still poorly defined. Data from the Epidemiologic Registry of Cystic Fibrosis (ERCF) on 12,447 CF patients gathered from 224 CF centres in nine European countries were analysed. The ERCF definition of ABPA diagnosis is a positive skin test and serum precipitins to A. fumigatus, together with serum immunoglobulin (Ig)E levels >1,000 U x mL(-1) and additional clinical or laboratory parameters. The overall prevalence of ABPA in the ERCF population was 7.8% (range: 2.1% in Sweden to 13.6% in Belgium). Prevalence was low or =20-12.9% in those with FEV1
Comment In: Eur Respir J. 2001 May;17(5):1052-311488309
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 results of 1904 allogeneic HLA identical sibling donor bone marrow transplants performed in 52 European centers between 1979 and 1986 and reported to the EBMT leukemia registry were analysed by geographical location of the transplant. Patients were grouped into six regions: United Kingdom, Nordic Group, Benelux, France, Central Europe and Southern Europe. There were significant differences between these regions with respect to patient population and outcome. The relative proportion of the three major disease categories, stage and subtype of the diseases, graft-versus-host disease prevention methods, donor recipient sex combinations, age of the patient, year of the transplant and the time intervals from diagnosis to transplant, from diagnosis to first complete remission for acute leukemia and the time from first complete remission to the transplant varied from region to region. The analysis of outcome parameters showed a significant difference in relapse incidence from region to region. This influence of region was confirmed in a multivariate analysis and was independent of the other factors known to affect outcome. Leukemia-free survival and transplant-related mortality were not different. The reasons for these differences could not be explained by the data in the registry. We conclude that regional factors must be considered when bone marrow transplant data are compared and we postulate that pretransplant factors probably affect outcome more than was previously realized.
Screening of 43 healthy Danish haemophiliacs revealed a significantly lower helper/suppressor (H/S) ratio than in controls. 8 of the haemophiliacs had an H/S ratio less than or equal to 1.0. A significant negative correlation occurred between the total lifetime factor VIII treatment and the H/S ratio. However, high-dose factor VIII treatment given to patients with antibodies against factor VIII was not associated with immunological abnormalities. Children had a significantly higher H/S ratio than the adult haemophiliacs. Patients exclusively treated with Danish cryoprecipitate during the last year had a significantly higher H/S ratio than patients receiving preparations from other sources. This difference might, however, be explained by lower age and lower total lifetime dose in the group receiving Danish preparations. Haemophiliacs treated with American preparations did not differ immunologically from those treated with preparations of other origin. Total serum IgG was increased in 23% of the patients. This parameter was negatively correlated with the H/S ratio. The possible relation of the observed immunological alterations among otherwise healthy haemophiliacs to the acquired immune deficiency syndrome warrants further attention.