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.
A comparative study of adolescent reproductive behavior in the 1980s examined difference in pregnancy, birth, and abortion levels among teenagers in developed countries especially in the US, Canada, the UK, France, the Netherlands, and Sweden. Only 6 of 37 countries with total fertility rates 3.5 and per capita income US$2000/year, and at least 1 million people had adolescent birth rates higher than the US (Bulgaria, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Romania, Hungary, and Chile). The US had the highest abortion rate (42/1000) followed by Hungary (27/1000). Thus the US had the highest adolescent pregnancy rate (96/1000) as well as Hungary (96/1000). The 6 country analysis showed that reducing the level of sexual activity among teenagers is not necessarily needed to achieve lower pregnancy rates. For example, Sweden had the highest levels of sexual activity but its pregnancy rate were 33% as high as those of the US. The rates of sexual activity among teenagers in the Netherlands equaled those of the US, but its pregnancy rates were 14% as high as those of the US. All countries had earlier, more extensive, and better contraceptive use among sexually active teenagers than the US which accounted for their lower pregnancy rates. The more realistic acceptance of sexual activity among teenagers and provision of contraceptives in all the countries except the US differed from the societal ambivalence in the US. Thus ambivalence about sexuality and the appropriateness of contraceptive use results in lower contraceptive use and greater adolescent pregnancy rates. US adolescents constantly receive conflicting messages that sex is romantic, thrilling, and arousing but it is also immoral to have premarital sex. Thus adults need to be more candid about sexuality so they can clearly convey to adolescents their expectations for responsible behavior and to provide the information and services needed to make effective use of contraceptives when sexually active.
In the Scandinavian countries there is no age limit for adolescents' access to contraceptive advice. Denmark deems it important to avoid barriers which prevent young girls from seeking contraceptive advice. Offering easy access to counseling is preferable to adolescent girls having unwanted pregnancies. In Denmark there is no age limit for adolescent girls to see their general practitioner (GP) for instruction in the use contraceptive methods. Without parental consent all can receive such counseling. In addition, the GP is obliged to observe professional secrecy at counseling, hence parents cannot request any information from the GP. There must be exceptionally serious reasons for breaking this professional secrecy. Thus a young woman should not refrain from seeking advice out of fear that her parents will know about her intimate life, and that she protects herself against unwanted pregnancy. It is not desirable to fix any age limit for adolescents' right to seek this advice because it concerns the adolescents' actual sex life. After the introduction of free abortion, many quite young girls sought abortion. The objective is to bolster the development that all children receive the requisite sex education at school, as well as to ensure that there is easy access to information on contraceptive methods. The GP's counseling is provided free of charge. A number of contraceptive clinics are available all over the country to provide alternative contraceptive counseling in case a young woman does not want to consult her GP because perchance the GP is her family doctor. Denmark as well as the other Scandinavian countries characteristically give high priority to promoting and improving the access to information and counseling on contraceptive methods by avoiding all economical, geographical, ethical, or emotional barriers.
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.
"In this paper I tried to show how the ageing of the population influences the change in the growth of employment, employment structure, the savings ratio, economic growth and the cost of social security [in Sweden]. In the latter part of the paper I suggested a close correlation between the average marriage age of women, the total fertility rate and the work participation ratio of women." (SUMMARY IN ENG)
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