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.
AIMS: The risk of alcohol-related disorders in first- and second-generation immigrants in Sweden were investigated and compared with the Swedish majority population to assess how alcohol habits are modified over generations in a new society. DESIGN: Register study based on multivariate analyses of demographic data, including information on country of birth, from the Swedish Population and Housing Census of 1985 linked to data on hospital admissions for alcohol-related disorders during 1990-99 in the National Hospital Discharge Register. PARTICIPANTS: The study population consisted of a national cohort of 1.25 million youth born 1968-79 and 1.47 million adults born 1929-65. RESULTS: First- and second-generation immigrants from Finland had higher relative risks (RRs) for hospital admission because of an alcohol-related disorder compared to the Swedish majority population (socio-economic adjusted RRs 2.1 and 1.9, respectively), while first-generation immigrants born in southern Europe, the Middle East and other non-European countries had lower risks. Second-generation immigrants with heritage in southern Europe, the Middle East and other non-European countries had socio-economic adjusted RRs that were higher relative to the first generation immigrants but lower relative to the Swedish majority population. Intercountry adoptees had the highest adjusted RR (2.5). CONCLUSIONS: Patterns of alcohol abuse in the country of origin are strong determinants of alcohol-related disorders in first-generation immigrants. The patterns in second-generation immigrants are influenced by parental countries of origin as well as patterns in the majority population. The Finnish minority and intercountry adoptees are of particular concern in prevention.
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.