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.
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.
Moderate drinking has small effects on health. Alcohol-related risks are greatest for young people, and decrease with age. Women are more sensitive than men to the effects of alcohol. Protective effects of moderate drinking are reported for cardiovascular disease, diabetes type 2 and cognitive functioning. However, moderate drinking also involves risks, especially of injuries, violence, foetal damage, certain forms of cancer, liver disease and hypertension. Alcohol consumption should not be recommended for health reasons. Binge drinking, regardless of age, is a medical risk. Health professionals should discuss the pattern of drinking with patients, especially binge drinking, to a larger extent than is usually the case today.
OBJECTIVE: It has been estimated that alcohol drinking increases the risk of breast cancer in women by approximately 7% for each increment of 10 g alcohol per day. However, the few studies conducted on breast cancer among men have failed to detect an association with quantitative measures of alcohol drinking, even if the alcohol intake is generally higher in men than in women. On the other hand, increased risks of male breast cancer were inconsistently reported in alcoholics or patients with liver cirrhosis. We have investigated the role of alcohol drinking in male breast cancer using data collected in a population-based case-control study on seven rare cancers, conducted in Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, and Sweden. METHODS: The cases were 74 histologically verified male breast cancer patients aged 35-70 years. The controls (n = 1432) were selected from population registers, and frequency-matched to the cases by age group and geographic area. To check for consistency, a separate analysis was conducted using as controls the patients with a rare cancer other than male breast recruited simultaneously in the European study (n = 519 men). RESULTS: Based on population controls, the risk of developing breast cancer in men increased by 16% (95% CI: 7-26%) per 10 g alcohol /day (p
This chapter reviews the data on occurrence of cancers that are potentially caused by alcohol drinking (cancers of the upper gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts, and liver cancer) in relation to social class. In order to assess the role of alcohol drinking in the observed social class gradients of these cancers, we have particularly looked for consistency in the gradients of different alcohol-related cancers, and used lung cancer occurrence to judge the role of tobacco smoking, which is the major other determinant of these diseases. Additional data on levels of alcohol drinking and on the occurrence of other alcohol-related morbidity are brought into the discussion where available. A role of alcohol drinking in the observed negative social class gradients for alcohol-related cancers is very likely in men in France, Italy and New Zealand. Evidence that is less strong, but is suggestive of a role of alcohol drinking, is seen for men in Brazil, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Denmark. Although a role of alcohol drinking is likely or possible in certain populations, other factors may contribute as well, most notably tobacco smoking and dietary habits. Additional data on the frequency of complications after surgical procedures in alcohol drinkers are reviewed briefly.
AIM: This study examined the earliest stages in drug involvement, in terms of the relationship between alcohol and tobacco use, among adolescents from six European countries (Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom). International, gender and age differences were studied. DESIGN, SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: A large international sample of European adolescents (n = 10170, mean age = 13.3 years) was followed longitudinally. Data were gathered in the autumn terms of 1998 and 1999 by means of self-administered questionnaires. MEASURES: Adolescents' self-reports on smoking and alcohol behaviour were used. Both behaviours were classified into two categories, that of adolescents who had never used the substance and that of those who had used the substance at least once in their lives. Logistic regression was used to determine which substance was the best predictor of the subsequent use of the other substance. FINDINGS: Alcohol use and tobacco use were found to be associated with each other reciprocally. Results revealed that in Europe as a whole, tobacco use predicted subsequent alcohol use better than the converse. However, for Dutch girls, alcohol use predicted subsequent smoking behaviour better than the converse. CONCLUSION: The findings suggest that the development of alcohol and tobacco use patterns are closely related, but the order of progression is not universal and may reflect cultural factors.
Recent evidence has implicated the genes for 5-lipoxygenase activating protein (ALOX5AP) and phosphodiesterase 4D (PDE4D) as susceptibility genes for stroke in the Icelandic population. The aim of the present study was to explore the role of these genes in a central European population of stroke patients.
A total of 639 consecutive stroke patients and 736 unrelated population-based controls that had been matched for age and sex were examined using a case-control design. Twenty-two single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) covering ALOX5AP were genotyped. For PDE4D, microsatellite AC008818-1 and 12 SNPs, which tag all common haplotypes in previously identified linkage disequilibrium (LD) blocks, were analyzed.
A nominally significant association with stroke was observed with several SNPs from ALOX5AP, including SNP SG13S114, which had been part of the Icelandic at-risk haplotype. Associations were stronger in males than in females, with SG13S114 (odds ratio, 1.24; 95% CI, 1.04 to 1.55; P=0.017) and SG13S100 (odds ratio, 1.26; 95% CI 1.03 to 1.54; P=0.024) showing the strongest associations. No significant associations were detected with single markers and haplotypes in PDE4D. The frequencies of single-marker alleles and haplotypes differed largely from those in the Icelandic population.
The present study suggests that sequence variants in the ALOX5AP gene are significantly associated with stroke, particularly in males. Variants in the PDE4D gene are not a major risk factor for stroke in individuals from central Europe. Population differences in allele and haplotype frequencies as well as LD structure may contribute to the observed differences between populations.