European Center for Disease Control

Stockholm, Sweden

European Center for Disease Control

Stockholm, Sweden
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Lewis H.C.,Statens Serum Institute | Lewis H.C.,European Center for Disease Control | Wichmann O.,Robert Koch Institute | Duizer E.,National Institute for Public Health and the Environment RIVM
Epidemiology and Infection | Year: 2010

Increasing numbers of non-travel-associated hepatitis E virus (HEV) infections have been reported in Europe in recent years. Our objective was to review the evidence on risk factors and transmission routes of autochthonous HEV infection and hepatitis E in Europe in order to develop recommendations for future research, prevention and control. A systematic literature review was performed to identify all primary reports and studies published during 1998-2008 on hepatitis E in humans and animals in Europe by searching Pubmed, reference lists of major articles and international conference proceedings. Each of the 106 included studies was categorized into one of three evidence levels (EL) based on study design and diagnostic methodology. The evidence was generally weak (73 were assigned to EL1, two to both EL1 and EL2, and 30 to EL2), further compounded by the use of poorly validated serological assays in some studies. Only one case-control study was assigned to EL3. Persons with autochthonous hepatitis E infection were on average older than the general population and predominantly male. There was no evidence for one main transmission route of HEV infection or risk factor for hepatitis E. However, zoonotic transmission seemed likely and person-to-person transmission too inefficient to cause clinical disease. Multiple routes of transmission probably exist and should be further investigated through analytical studies and reliable diagnostic kits. Based on current evidence that points to zoonotic transmission from pigs, thorough cooking of all porcine products, prevention of cross-contamination in the kitchen and improved education for occupationally exposed people (e.g. pig farmers, veterinarians and sewage workers) may help prevent HEV infection. Although evidence for parenteral transmission is limited, it is recommended that a risk assessment is undertaken. © 2009 Cambridge University Press.

Estrada-Pena A.,University of Zaragoza | Ortega C.,University of Zaragoza | Sanchez N.,University of Zaragoza | DeSimone L.,European Center for Disease Control | And 3 more authors.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology | Year: 2011

This meta-analysis of reports examining ticks throughout the Western Palearctic region indicates a distinct geographic pattern for Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato prevalence in questing nymphal Ixodes ricinus ticks. The greatest prevalence was reported between the 5°E and 25°E longitudes based on an analysis of 123 collection points with 37,940 nymphal tick specimens (87.43% of total nymphs; 56.35% of total ticks in the set of reports over the target area). Climatic traits, such as temperature and vegetation stress, and their seasonality correlated with Borrelia prevalence in questing ticks. The greatest prevalence was associated with mild winter, high summer, and low seasonal amplitude of temperatures within the range of the tick vector, higher vegetation indices in the May-June period, and well-connected vegetation patches below a threshold at which rates suddenly drop. Classification of the target territory using a qualitative risk index derived from the abiotic variables produced an indicator of the probability of finding infected ticks in the Western Palearctic region. No specific temporal trends were detected in the reported prevalence. The ranges of the different B. burgdorferi sensu lato genospecies showed a pattern of high biodiversity between 4°W and 20°E, partially overlapping the area of highest prevalence in ticks. Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii are the dominant species in central Europe (east of ~25°E), but B. garinii may appear alone at southern latitudes and Borrelia lusitaniae is the main indicator species for meridional territories. © 2011, American Society for Microbiology.

Tostmann A.,European Center for Disease Control | Tostmann A.,Radboud University Nijmegen | Tostmann A.,Public Health England | Bousema T.,Radboud University Nijmegen | And 3 more authors.
Emerging Infectious Diseases | Year: 2012

Outbreaks in which most or all persons were exposed to the same suspected source of infection, so-called universal exposure, are common. They represent a challenge for public health specialists because conducting analytical studies in such investigations is complicated by the absence of a nonexposed group. We describe different strategies that can support investigations of outbreaks with universal exposure. The value of descriptive epidemiology, extensive environmental investigation, and the hypothesis-generation phase cannot be overemphasized. An exposure that seems universal may in fact not be universal when additional aspects of the exposure are taken into account. Each exposure has unique characteristics that may not be captured when investigators rely on the tools readily at hand, such as standard questionnaires. We therefore encourage field epidemiologists to be creative and consider the use of alternative data sources or original techniques in their investigations of outbreaks with universal exposure.

Edelstein M.,London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine | Heymann D.L.,London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine | Giesecke J.,European Center for Disease Control | Weinberg J.,Kingston University
Emerging Infectious Diseases | Year: 2012

Understanding which emerging infectious diseases are of international public health concern is vital. The International Health Regulations include a decision instrument to help countries determine which public health events are of international concern and require reporting to the World Health Organization (WHO) on the basis of seriousness, unusualness, international spread and trade, or need for travel restrictions. This study examined the validity of the International Health Regulations decision instrument in reporting emerging infectious disease to WHO by calculating its sensitivity, specificity, and positive predictive value. It found a sensitivity of 95.6%, a specificity of 38%, and a positive predictive value of 35.5%. These findings are acceptable if the notification volume to WHO remains low. Validity could be improved by setting more prescriptive criteria of seriousness and unusualness and training persons responsible for notification. However, the criteria should be balanced with the need for the instrument to adapt to future unknown threats.

Reusken C.B.E.M.,National Health Research Institute | Haagmans B.L.,Erasmus Medical Center | Muller M.A.,University of Bonn | Gutierrez C.,University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria | And 25 more authors.
The Lancet Infectious Diseases | Year: 2013

Background: A new betacoronavirus-Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)-has been identified in patients with severe acute respiratory infection. Although related viruses infect bats, molecular clock analyses have been unable to identify direct ancestors of MERS-CoV. Anecdotal exposure histories suggest that patients had been in contact with dromedary camels or goats. We investigated possible animal reservoirs of MERS-CoV by assessing specific serum antibodies in livestock. Methods: We took sera from animals in the Middle East (Oman) and from elsewhere (Spain, Netherlands, Chile). Cattle (n=80), sheep (n=40), goats (n=40), dromedary camels (n=155), and various other camelid species (n=34) were tested for specific serum IgG by protein microarray using the receptor-binding S1 subunits of spike proteins of MERS-CoV, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus, and human coronavirus OC43. Results were confirmed by virus neutralisation tests for MERS-CoV and bovine coronavirus. Findings: 50 of 50 (100%) sera from Omani camels and 15 of 105 (14%) from Spanish camels had protein-specific antibodies against MERS-CoV spike. Sera from European sheep, goats, cattle, and other camelids had no such antibodies. MERS-CoV neutralising antibody titres varied between 1/320 and 1/2560 for the Omani camel sera and between 1/20 and 1/320 for the Spanish camel sera. There was no evidence for cross-neutralisation by bovine coronavirus antibodies. Interpretation: MERS-CoV or a related virus has infected camel populations. Both titres and seroprevalences in sera from different locations in Oman suggest widespread infection. Funding: European Union, European Centre For Disease Prevention and Control, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Kruijshaar M.E.,Public Health England | Abubakar I.,Public Health England | Abubakar I.,University of East Anglia | Dedicoat M.,Heart of England Foundation Trust | And 6 more authors.
Thorax | Year: 2012

WHO standards for tuberculosis (TB) control require monitoring and evaluation of TB control programmes. In London, TB rates have stabilised at 44 per 100 000 since 2005. In 38 urban areas outside London with TB rates above the national average, these continued to rise after 2004, to 28 per 100 000 in 2008 (15% increase). London has the highest proportion of TB cases in certain risk groups, but these are increasing rapidly outside London. Many TB control efforts focus on the capital, but with rates rising elsewhere in the country, this strategy is likely to fail in the long term.

Schlagenhauf P.,University of Zürich | Santos-O'Connor F.,European Center for Disease Control | Parola P.,North University Hospital of Marseille
Clinical Microbiology and Infection | Year: 2010

Europe, because of its geographical location, strategic position on trade routes, and colonial past, has a long history of caring for travellers' health. Within Europe, there is great diversity in the practice of travel medicine. Some countries have travel medicine societies and provisions for a periodic distribution of recommendations, but many countries have no national pre-travel guidelines and follow international recommendations such as those provided by the WHO. Providers of travel medicine include tropical medicine specialists, general practice nurses and physicians, specialist 'travel clinics', occupational physicians, and pharmacists. One of the core functions of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control-funded network of travel and tropical medicine professionals, EuroTravNet, is to document the status quo of travel medicine in Europe. A three-pronged approach is used, with a real-time online questionnaire, a structured interview with experts in each country, and web searching. © 2010 The Authors. Journal Compilation © 2010 European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.

de Sousa R.,National Health Research Institute | de Sousa R.,European Center for Disease Control | Reusken C.,National Health Research Institute | Reusken C.,Erasmus Medical Center | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Clinical Virology | Year: 2014

Since the emergence of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in 2012, many questions remain on modes of transmission and sources of virus. In outbreak situations, especially with emerging organisms causing severe human disease, it is important to understand the full spectrum of disease, and shedding kinetics in relation to infectivity and the ability to transmit the microorganism. Laboratory response capacity during the early stages of an outbreak focuses on development of virological and immunological methods for patient diagnosis, for contact tracing, and for epidemiological studies into sources, modes of transmission, identification of risk groups, and animal reservoirs. However, optimal use of this core public health laboratory capacity requires a fundamental understanding of kinetics of viral shedding and antibody response, of assay validation and of interpretation of test outcomes. We reviewed available data from MERS-CoV case reports, and compared this with data on kinetics of shedding and immune response from published literature on other human coronaviruses (hCoVs). We identify and discuss important data gaps, and biases that limit the laboratory preparedness to this novel disease. Public health management will benefit from standardised reporting of methods used, details of test outcomes by sample type, sampling date, in relation to symptoms and risk factors, along with the currently reported demographic, clinical and epidemiological findings. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Hens N.,Hasselt University | Hens N.,University of Antwerp | Calatayud L.,Public Health England | Calatayud L.,European Center for Disease Control | And 5 more authors.
American Journal of Epidemiology | Year: 2012

The rapid spread of the new influenza virus A(H1N1)v in young age groups in 2009 has been partly attributed to a high transmission intensity in schools. However, detailed characterization of the spread of influenza in school populations has been difficult to obtain, simply because it is very hard to identify who infected whom in a large outbreak. Data collected in large outbreak investigations typically miss many transmission events, and some reported transmission events will be incorrect. Here the authors present robust likelihood-based methods that can be used to analyze outbreak data while explicitly accounting for both missing data and erroneous data. They apply this method to a school-based outbreak of pandemic influenza A(H1N1)v that occurred in London, United Kingdom, in April 2009. The authors show that the generation interval in this school-based population was 2.20 days and that the reproduction number declined coincident with school closure, from 1.33 secondary cases per primary case to 0.43 secondary cases per primary case. These results provide quantitative evidence for the change in influenza transmission that is to be expected from school closure. © 2012 The Author.

Bone A.,Institute of Veille Sanitaire | Bone A.,European Center for Disease Control | Guthmann J.-P.,Institute of Veille Sanitaire | Nicolau J.,Institute of Veille Sanitaire | Levy-Bruhl D.,Institute of Veille Sanitaire
Vaccine | Year: 2010

A mass vaccination campaign against influenza A/H1N1 was launched in France in October 2009. Vaccination was offered free of charge to the entire population according to a pre-defined order of priority. Demographic data and data on vaccinations given were recorded in a dedicated database. We analysed vaccine uptake by age, sex and region in the overall population and in certain risk groups, including pregnant women. Overall vaccine uptake was 8% and varied by age-group and sex. Vaccine uptake in pregnant women was 22.7%. These low uptakes may reflect controversies around the vaccine and vaccination policy and have important implications for future pandemic vaccination strategies. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

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