We report the first isolation of cowpox virus from a domestic cat in Norway, and the first confirmed isolation of cowpox virus from a human case in Norway. These two Norwegian cowpox virus isolates, as well as two Swedish human isolates, were partially characterized and compared with each other and with cowpox virus Brighton and vaccinia virus strain Western Reserve. Restriction enzyme analysis of the genomes revealed differences between all six viruses examined, but suggested that the two Norwegian isolates are closely related, as are the two Swedish isolates. Restriction endonuclease digestion of genomic DNA demonstrated that one of the Swedish isolates and the two Norwegian isolates have larger genomes than vaccinia virus strain Western Reserve, but smaller than cowpox Brighton. All four Scandinavian isolates lacked a 72 base-pair region within the A-type inclusion body protein gene which is present in the prototype cowpox virus Brighton.
BACKGROUND: Little is known about cockroach sensitization in Scandinavia, whereas cockroaches are implicated in allergic diseases throughout large parts of the world. In association with the Genetics of Asthma International Network (GAIN) study, we report sensitization to cockroaches and possible association with IgE-mediated diseases in Norway. METHODS: 100 Norwegian families (426 subjects) of 7-35-year-old sibling-pairs with asthma and their parents underwent questionnaire/interview (medical and exposure history), skin prick test (SPT) to common local inhalant allergens and German cockroach, and IgE specific to mites, mosquito, shrimp and cockroach. Cockroach sensitization was defined as positive if there was a positive (> or = 3 mm) skin prick test and/or presence of IgE antibody of class 2 or more. RESULTS: Thirty-one subjects (7.5%) were sensitized (five monosensitized) to cockroach (27 by skin prick test and seven by IgE antibody, all with additional inhalant allergy). Co-sensitization was most common to grass (in 61%), cat (48%), dog (48%) and mites (42%). Reported allergic diseases in cockroach-sensitized subjects were asthma and rhinitis (n = 10), asthma only (n = 9), rhinitis only (n = 2) and neither asthma nor rhinitis (n = 10). CONCLUSIONS: Since cockroach sensitization was relatively frequent in Norwegian atopic families, albeit with unclear clinical implications, we suggest that cockroach allergy should be considered in atopic subjects with respiratory disease.
In Norway, tularemia is a common disease in small rodent and hare populations, where large outbreaks can be observed. In humans, the yearly number of cases is low, usually less than ten, with peaks up to 44 recorded in recent years. Serological investigations on hunters and healthy school children nevertheless indicate, with up to 4.7% positivity in the latter group, that Francisella tularensis low-grade infection is widespread. F. tularensis in co-culture with amoebae, e.g. Achantamoeba castellanii, may grow after internalization and kill the amoeba. As with Legionella, Francisella virulence may be enhanced after protozoan ingestion. This suggests a mechanism that can explain the pattern of dissemination and infection in our region.
An indirect fluorescent antibody technique (IFAT) was applied to serologically confirm the clinical diagnosis in 507 nephropathia epidemica (NE) suspected patients. Hantaan virus (HV), the agent of Korean hemorrhagic fever, which is serologically related to the NE agent, was used as antigen. Both IgG and IgM reactions were detected. High levels of IgG antibodies to HV were common, even in the acute phase of illness. Over a 5-year period, a total of 35% of the NE suspected patients revealed antibodies to HV, but this varied considerably in the different years. In 2 endemic areas the serological confirmation of the NE diagnosis was 60%. 82% of the seropositive NE patients lived in 4 endemic areas. The bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus) was common in all areas and predominant in 2. The wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) was abundant in the other 2. In years with high bank vole population, the number of seropositive NE cases increased, with a peak in October/November. When the bank vole population was low, the relatively few seropositive NE cases occurred more regularly throughout the year. Subclinical infections were common. Antibodies to HV were detected in 74% male and 26% female NE patients, but the ratio varied between age groups.
Seven virus strains antigenically related to the California encephalitis (CE) virus group were isolated from Norwegian Aedes spp. mosquitoes collected in 1976. So far CE viruses have been isolated from five different Aedes spp. in Norway. Furthermore, two virus strains related to the Bunyamwera group were isolated from Anopheles claviger. Antibodies to CE viruses were demonstrated in 22% of 1014 military recruits tested. Among 91 soldiers who were monitored by monthly blood samples during the mosquito season, seroconversions were detected in 11 individuals. Specific IgM antibodies were found in seven of them. Disease symptoms in connexion with the CE virus infections were not seen. The prevalence of CE antibodies in patients with CNS or respiratory infections was not higher than in control groups. Seroconversions were not seen in any of the groups. Screening of sheep sera from six different areas in northern Norway indicated significantly different degrees of CE virus activity. Passerine birds may be important CE virus hosts, while small rodents seem unimportant. Specific IgM antibodies were detected in the sera of one of three hares and one of two squirrels. Of the methods used, single radial haemolysis (SRH) and immuno-electro-osmophoresis (IEOP) seemed to be well suited for serological screenings. However, an indirect immunofluorescence antibody test (IFAT) which was used may be an attractive alternative if high-quality anti-species conjugates are available. The haemagglutination-inhibition (HI) test used gave a high number of false positive results.
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Nephropathia epidemica (NE) antigen was detected by IFAT (indirect fluorescent antibody technique) in the lungs of 14 of 97 bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus) collected in three endemic areas. The distribution of antigen positive voles within an endemic location was scattered. Antibodies to Korean hemorrhagic fever (KHF) virus antigens were detected by IFAT in 12 of 14 NE antigen positive bank voles and in 15 of 83 that were antigen negative. NE antigen positive voles exhibited higher antibody titres. Antibodies to KHF were demonstrated in sera from C. rutilus and C. rufocanus collected more than 200 km north of the distribution area for C. glareolus. It appears likely that these vole species can serve as virus vectors for NE cases occurring north of the bank vole area. NE antibodies cross-reacting with KHF virus seem to diminish with time after infection in some NE patients, while for others such cross-reacting antibodies were detected up to 12 years after the disease. Antibodies to KHF were detected in eight of 106 healthy forestry workers with no clinical history of NE. No serological cross-reactions were detected between NE/KHF antigens and representative Bunyaviridae present in Norway. NE/KHF-like viruses appear widespread in Norway, both within and outside of the distribution area of the bank vole.
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In search for the Norwegian nephropathia epidemica (NE) agent, lung sections from small rodents and sera from human patients have been tested by indirect fluorescent antibody technique (IFAT). A cytoplasmatic antigen reacting with patient sera and a Korean hemorrhagic fever (KHF) reference antiserum was found in the lungs of 6 bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus) from 2 different locations. Antibodies reacting with vole lung antigen (NE agent) and KHF agent in A-549 cells were detected in sera from 35/57 patients clinically suspected of having NE. Specific IgM antibodies were usually detected in "early" obtained sera. Positive sera had considerably higher titers against NE than KHF agent. One serum had an IgG titer of 160 against NE, but no detectable KHF antibodies. One patient had an atypical disease. Two NE patients must have been infected north of the distribution area for Cl. glareolus, suggesting the existence of other reservoir animals.
This paper gives a faunistic review of mites that have been recorded in the indoor environment, particularly homes, barns, and stored products, in Norway and the other Scandinavian countries. Some preliminary results are given from unpublished investigations in Norway. Seven species of pyroglyphid mites have been recorded: Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, D. microceras, D. farinae, D. evansi, Euroglyphus maynei, Gymnoglyphus longior, and Hirstia chelidonis. D. pteronyssinus was the predominant species, followed by D. microceras in Scandinavia and D. farinae in Denmark. D. evansi was detected in poultry houses in Norway. Lepidoglyphus destructor was the predominant species in barn dust, but large populations of Acarus, Tyrophagus, Tydeus, and Tarsonemidae also occurred. In humid homes, Glycyphagus domesticus was found in high numbers. The result of quantification of mites depends on the method for examination of dust. When one proposes limits for the concentration of mites in relation to risk of allergic sensitization and provocation of symptoms, reference should be made to a well-described method for sampling and analyzing dust. The number of mites should be given per area, not only per weight unit of dust. The number of mites per area indicates the number of mites in the home. The number of mites per weight unit of dust describes the concentration of mites in the vacuum cleaner.
To assess the role of dampness problems and house dust mite exposure in the development of bronchial obstruction in early life, a cohort of 3,754 children born in Oslo during 1992 and 1993 was followed for 2 yr. Bronchial obstruction was defined as two or more episodes with symptoms and signs of obstruction or one lasting 1 mo or more. A matched case-control study was carried out in 251 cases of bronchial obstruction (response rate: 98%) and their 251 paired controls. Information on home dampness problem(s), house dust mite exposure, and potential confounders was collected during home visits and by questionnaires. Dampness problems were confirmed in the homes of 27% of the cases and 14% of the controls, while a concentration of Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus allergens > 2 microg/g dust was found in the beds of 11 (4.5%) cases and three (1.2%) controls. In conditional logistic regression analysis controlling for potential confounders, confirmed dampness problems increased the risk of bronchial obstruction (adjusted odds ratio: 3.8; 95% confidence interval: 2.0-7.2). Exposure to D. pteronyssinus allergens > 2 microg/g dust increased the risk of bronchial obstruction (adjusted odds ratio: 2.8; 95% confidence interval: 0.7-11.7). Residential dampness problems in Oslo dwellings seem to increase symptoms and signs of bronchial obstruction in young children, apparently without increasing their exposure to house dust mites.