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Nuuk, Greenland

Burisch J.,Copenhagen University | Pedersen N.,Copenhagen University | Cukovic-Cavka S.,University of Zagreb | Brinar M.,University of Zagreb | And 51 more authors.
Gut | Year: 2014

Objective: The incidence of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is increasing in Eastern Europe. The reasons for these changes remain unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate whether an East-West gradient in the incidence of IBD in Europe exists. Design: A prospective, uniformly diagnosed, population based inception cohort of IBD patients in 31 centres from 14 Western and eight Eastern European countries covering a total background population of approximately 10.1 million people was created. One-third of the centres had previous experience with inception cohorts. Patients were entered into a low cost, web based epidemiological database, making participation possible regardless of socioeconomic status and prior experience. Results: 1515 patients aged 15 years or older were included, of whom 535 (35%) were diagnosed with Crohn's disease (CD), 813 (54%) with ulcerative colitis (UC) and 167 (11%) with IBD unclassified (IBDU). The overall incidence rate ratios in all Western European centres were 1.9 (95% CI 1.5 to 2.4) for CD and 2.1 (95% CI 1.8 to 2.6) for UC compared with Eastern European centres. The median crude annual incidence rates per 100 000 in 2010 for CD were 6.5 (range 0-10.7) in Western European centres and 3.1 (range 0.4-11.5) in Eastern European centres, for UC 10.8 (range 2.9-31.5) and 4.1 (range 2.4-10.3), respectively, and for IBDU 1.9 (range 0-39.4) and 0 (range 0-1.2), respectively. In Western Europe, 92% of CD, 78% of UC and 74% of IBDU patients had a colonoscopy performed as the diagnostic procedure compared with 90%, 100% and 96%, respectively, in Eastern Europe. 8% of CD and 1% of UC patients in both regions underwent surgery within the first 3 months of the onset of disease. 7% of CD patients and 3% of UC patients from Western Europe received biological treatment as rescue therapy. Of all European CD patients, 20% received only 5-aminosalicylates as induction therapy. Conclusions: An East-West gradient in IBD incidence exists in Europe. Among this inception cohort-including indolent and aggressive cases-international guidelines for diagnosis and initial treatment are not being followed uniformly by physicians. Source

Borresen M.L.,Statens Serum Institute | Olsen O.R.,Sisimiut Health Clinic and Hospital | Ladefoged K.,Dronning Ingrids Hospital | McMahon B.J.,Arctic Investigations Program Center for Disease Control and Prevention | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Viral Hepatitis | Year: 2010

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is endemic in Greenland with 5-10% of the population being HBsAg-positive (chronic carriers). Surprisingly, despite of the high prevalence of HBV infection, acute and chronic hepatitis B, liver cirrhosis and primary hepatocellular carcinoma appear much less frequently than expected. The reasons for the low frequencies are unknown, but as a consequence implementation of a childhood HBV vaccination programme, though debated for years, has never been instituted. We describe an outbreak of hepatitis D (HDV) infection among children in a hepatitis B hyper-endemic settlement of 133 inhabitants on the west coast of Greenland. In 2006 a total of 27% of the inhabitants were HBsAg-positive (chronic carriers) and 83% were HBcAb-positive (previously exposed). Forty-six percent of the HBsAg-positive persons were below 20 years of age. On follow-up 1 year later a total of 68% of the HBsAg-positive persons were HDV-IgG positive. Five children, who were HBsAg-positive in 2006, had HDV-seroconverted from 2006 to 2007, indicating a HDV-super-infection. Most of the HDV-IgG positive children had markedly elevated liver enzymes. In the multivariate analysis, among the HBV and HDV markers, presence of HDV-IgG was most strongly associated with elevation of liver enzymes. In conclusion, the HBV-HDV super-infection and presumed HDV outbreak in this settlement challenges the notion that HBV infection may not be as harmless in Greenland as previously anticipated. The findings strongly suggest that HBV vaccination should be included in the child-immunization program in Greenland. © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Source

Borresen M.L.,Statens Serum Institute | Koch A.,Statens Serum Institute | Biggar R.J.,Statens Serum Institute | Andersson M.,Statens Serum Institute | And 3 more authors.
Journal of the National Cancer Institute | Year: 2011

Background In Greenland, the prevalence of hepatitis B surface antigen carriers, reflecting chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, is 5%-10%. However, the incidence of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma in this population has been reported to be low. We investigated this discrepancy in a large population-based cohort study. Methods In total, 8879 Greenlanders (16% of the population) were recruited for population-based surveys performed from May 5 to July 7, 1987, and from November 1 to November 21, 1998, with follow-up until March 31, 2010. HBV status was based on serological testing, supplemented by data from all available HBV registries in Greenland to determine changes in HBV status over time. Information on morbidity and mortality was obtained from the Patient Discharge Registry, the Cancer Registry, and the Central Registration System. Sex, age, ethnicity, and period-adjusted incidence rate ratios (IRRs) were estimated using Poisson regression. World standardized rates were derived from these and World Health Organization data. Results The 650 chronically HBV-infected persons had higher rates of hepatocellular carcinoma (adjusted IRR = 8.70; 95% CI = 2.06 to 36.7), liver disease (adjusted IRR = 5.73, 95% CI = 3.52 to 9.34), and all-cause mortality (adjusted IRR = 1.47; 95% CI = 1.21 to 1.79) than the 5160 HBV-negative persons. However, the world standardized incidence rates of hepatocellular carcinoma (38.5 cancers per 100000 person-years) and cirrhosis (24 cases per 100000 person-years) among chronically HBV-infected persons were low compared with results from population-based studies from countries with low, intermediate, and high rates of endemic HBV infection. Conclusion The relatively low incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma and other HBV-related morbidity among chronic HBV-infected persons in Greenland suggest a more benign course of HBV among the Greenlandic Inuit than in populations in other parts of the world. © 2011 The Author. Source

Leutscher P.,Aarhus University Hospital | Madsen G.,Aarhus University Hospital | Erlandsen M.,University of Aarhus | Veirum J.,Aarhus University Hospital | And 4 more authors.
Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases | Year: 2012

Background: Delays in the diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis (TB) are commonly encountered. Methods: A study was undertaken among pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) and extrapulmonary tuberculosis (EPTB) patients in a Danish university hospital to describe demographic and clinical characteristics in relation to delay. Results: Of the 313 patients enrolled, 213 (68%) were diagnosed with PTB and 100 (32%) with EPTB only. Logistic regression analysis of EPTB showed an association with female sex and non-Danish ethnicity. Mean total delay from onset of symptoms until initiation of TB treatment was 123 (95% confidence interval (CI) 106-138) days. Mean patient delay was significantly longer than mean health system delay: 90 (95% CI 74-105) vs 33 (95% CI 23-44) days (p < 0.0001). Delay was independent of ethnicity and significantly shorter for PTB patients compared to EPTB patients. Fever was found to be strongly predictive of a short patient delay (<1 month), whereas weight loss was associated with a long patient delay (>3 months). In contrast, weight loss was associated with a short health system delay (<1 week). Elevated inflammatory markers were also associated with a short delay in the diagnosis of TB. Conclusions: This study confirmed a typical delay of months in duration in the diagnosis and treatment of TB in the low endemic country of Denmark. Increased TB awareness is needed, in particular in communities with immigrants originating from high-endemic areas. © 2012 Informa Healthcare. Source

BOrresen M.L.,Statens Serum Institute | Andersson M.,Statens Serum Institute | Wohlfahrt J.,Statens Serum Institute | Melbye M.,Statens Serum Institute | And 4 more authors.
American Journal of Epidemiology | Year: 2015

Greenland remains a highly endemic area for hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. This is in sharp contrast to other modern societies, such as Denmark. To address this discrepancy, we investigated the natural history of HBV infection in Greenland by estimating the age-specific incidence of HBV infection, the proportion of chronic carriers, and the rates of hepatitis B surface antigen seroclearance. In total, 8,879 Greenlanders (16% of the population) from population-based surveys conducted in 1987 and 1998 were followed through March 2010. Data on HBV status were supplemented by HBV test results from all available HBV registries in Greenland to determine changes in HBV status over time. Incidence rates of HBV infection and hepatitis B surface antigen seroclearance were estimated after taking into account interval censoring. The incidence of HBV infection in 5-14-year-old subjects was less than 1 per 100 person-years and peaked at 5 per 100 person-years in persons 15-24 years of age. Overall, 17.5% of persons infected in adulthood were estimated to become chronic carriers. HBV is primarily transmitted in adolescence and adulthood in Greenland. In contrast to what is observed in most other populations, HBV-infected adults in Greenland have a high risk of progressing to chronic HBV carriage. This phenomenon might explain how the high rate of infection is maintained in Greenland. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Source

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