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.
As the development in mean age of the population and life expectancy has been less favourable in Denmark than in the rest of Western Europe, the Ministry of Health decided to investigate statistics for the period, 1972-1990, for the main areas where Danish life expectancy was poorer. A sharp increase in the incidence of accidental poisoning with medical drugs and alcohol during the period was found to be a factor contributing to the poorer Danish statistics during the period. In the subcategory, death after a fall, there was an increase in incidence among the elderly, but the loss of life-years remained constant. The subcategory, fatal road accidents, manifested a marked reduction in incidence, despite the increase in traffic density during the period, and there was a reduction in the loss of life-years. Thus, in the category, accidental deaths, the increase in the incidence of accidental poisonings would appear to be the only factor contributing to the poorer development in mean age and life expectancy in Denmark.
Repeated epidemiologic study of atherosclerosis in males on the basis of autopsy material with 25-year interval (1963-66 and 1985-89) has been performed in 7 European cities (Malmö, Praha, Riga, Tallinn, Tartu, Kharkov, Yalta) and 4 Asia cities (Ashkhabad, Bishkek, Irkutsk, Yakutsk). Accelerated development of atherosclerosis in the 2nd study has been revealed in males in the majority of cities except Malmö and Praha. No significant differences in atherosclerosis of aorta and coronary arteries were found in these two cities. An increase of the calcinosis surface in the coronary arteries combined with a higher incidence of coronary stenosis was typical for the 2nd study. Atherosclerosis was less pronounced in the indigenous population of Ashkhabad, Bishkek and Yakutsk in both studied than in non-indigenous populations. There was a positive correlation in males between lethality of coronary heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases and the degree of coronary atherosclerosis. Thus, the course of atherosclerosis can change within the life of one generation.
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.
The objective of this work was to contribute local data concerning the full adult height of women in Cordoba, Argentina, and to explore the possibility of a secular trend in their heights. For the study, 513 women were examined during May and June 1994. All of the women were between 18 and 40 years of age and were mothers of children who were included in a study on lactation, feeding, growth, and development in CÃ³rdoba. The measurements were carried out applying standardized techniques and using as a reference standard the 50th-percentile level data from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics. The mean full height of the CÃ³rdoba population studied was 157.9 cm, 0.97 standard deviation (SD) below the reference norm. For the women from the highest of six socioeconomic strata, the mean height was 159.7 cm (-0.67 SD); the mean for women from the lowest stratum was 156.2 cm (-1.25 SD). The difference in the means of those two socioeconomic groups was statistically significant (P
The aim of this study was to reveal whether today's children and adolescents have lower aerobic capacity compared with earlier studies. Aerobic capacity may be defined as the highest amount of oxygen a subject is able to consume per unit of time. Peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak) is often used as a measure of aerobic capacity in children. VO2peak in 196 healthy children and adolescents of both sexes, aged 8-16 years, was measured on a graded treadmill test. The mean results of VO2peak (l.min-1) showed only small differences compared with previous studies in Scandinavia. There was, however, greater dispersion in the present study when the VO2peak-values were corrected for weight (ml.kg-1.min-1) than in the earlier studies. When compared to other countries in Europe, Norwegian subjects achieved higher values. The reason may be due to either genetic differences or to a higher level of physical activity among the Norwegian subjects.
The exercise of compulsory powers for the protection of society against the spread of infectious diseases may impose severe restrictions on individual liberty. The law should therefore enable public health officials to strike the proper balance between public health and individual rights. An overview of the infectious diseases control legislation of five European countries (Germany, Switzerland, England, Sweden and the Netherlands) shows outdated medical approaches to infectious diseases, deficiencies in substantive statutory criteria and a lack of suitable procedural protection. The law has to be modified not only to fit current epidemiological insights, but also to give full weight to evolving individual rights.
The development of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic in Europe is following the same course as it did in the US but is delayed by about 3 years. If this time is used properly, it may be possible to stop the epidemic at an early stage. The special epidemiology of the disease, the long incubation period, prejudice, and taboo concerning sexuality have constrained constructive and open debate on strategies and approaches. By mid-1986, 21,302 AIDS cases had been registered in the US for a prevalence rate of 88/million and 11.654 deaths had resulted. In Europe, 2,542 AIDS cases had been registered by mid-1986 for a prevalence rate varying between 0 and 17.4/million in various countries. Of the total number, 67% were homosexual or bisexual men, 10% misusers of needles, 4% hemophiliacs, and 2% transfusion related. In Norway in mid-1986, 25 persons had contracted AIDS for a prevalence rate of 6.0/million; 20 of these are dead. Over 70% of those contracting AIDS die within 2 years, for a cumulative lethality in the US and Europe as a whole slightly 50%. 20 of the Norwegian AIDS patients belonged to the homo/bisexual male risk group; 1 was a hemophiliac; 1 a blood recipient; 1 an injection misuser; and 1 was heterosexually infected. Average survival from time of diagnosis was about 6 months. Over 300 persons in Norway have been found human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) antibody positive and the actual number of infected is calculated at 2,500. By the mid-1990s AIDS may become the most common cause of death in Norway.
OBJECTIVE: To facilitate the quantitative comparison of AIDS incidence statistics between countries and with other diseases using statistics based on age-standardized incidence rates instead of absolute number of cases. DESIGN: AIDS incidence rates for 19 countries belonging to the World Health Organization (WHO) European region, and for comparative purposes, the United States. METHODS: Incidence rates were standardized using the world standard population for all ages, from 1985 to 1992. The data were derived from the WHO European Non-Aggregate AIDS Dataset and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) AIDS Public Information Dataset, adjusted for reporting delays in each country. RESULTS: The AIDS incidence rate for men (81 in 1,000,000) in the United States was fourfold higher than the highest rate in a European country (Switzerland) in 1985; incidence rates in all other European countries, except France and Denmark, were below 10 in 1,000,000. Subsequently, AIDS incidence has increased more rapidly in southern Europe than in the rest of the continent. The estimated incidence rate for men in Spain (243 in 1,000,000) approached that in the United States (304 in 1,000,000) in 1992, and three additional countries (France, Switzerland and Italy) showed rates above 100 per million. The spread of the AIDS epidemic among women in some southern European countries was faster than in the United States. In Switzerland and Spain the standardized incidence rates in women were higher than in the United States by 1988 and 1992, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Analysis trends in incidence rates avoids some weaknesses of AIDS statistics based on absolute numbers, and should become one of the standard tools for AIDS surveillance.