Institute for Hygiene and Environment

Hamburg, Germany

Institute for Hygiene and Environment

Hamburg, Germany
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Hegasy G.,Institute for Hygiene and Environment | Mankertz A.,Robert Koch Institute | Baumgarte S.,Institute for Hygiene and Environment | Wille A.,Institute for Hygiene and Environment | Fell G.,Institute for Hygiene and Environment
Eurosurveillance | Year: 2012

From December 2008 to June 2009 a measles outbreak occurred in the Federal State of Hamburg, Germany. The outbreak affected 216 persons and was caused by a new measles strain termed D4-Hamburg which led to consecutive outbreaks between 2009 and 2011 in at least 12 European countries. Here, we describe epidemiological characteristics of the outbreak and evaluate the control measures taken in Hamburg. In one of the seven boroughs of Hamburg a local Roma community comprised more than 50% of the notified cases. We compared in a stratified analysis the age distribution of these cases with cases of fellow citizens who did not belong to the Roma community. The age group of infants (0-11 months) comprised 33% among the non-Roma measles cases, while in the Roma community only 4% belonged to this stratum. In the stratum of 5-17 year-olds only 8% were affected among the non-Roma cases, whereas in the Roma community 50% belonged to this age group. We discuss the influencing factors that might have led to this difference in age distribution between the two groups.


Becker N.,Mosquito Control Association KABS E.V. | Geier M.,Biogents AG | Balczun C.,Ruhr University Bochum | Bradersen U.,Hamburg Airport GmbH | And 9 more authors.
Parasitology Research | Year: 2013

During a small-scale surveillance project to identify possible routes of entry for invasive mosquitoes into Germany, 14 adult Aedes (Stegomyia) albopictus (Skuse) were discovered between July and October 2012. They were trapped at three different service stations in Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg located along two motorways that connect Germany with southern Europe. This indicates regular introduction of A. albopictus into Germany and highlights the need for a continuous surveillance and control programme. © 2012 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Gabriel G.,Heinrich Pette Institute | Gabriel G.,University of Oxford | Gabriel G.,University of Marburg | Klingel K.,University of Tübingen | And 14 more authors.
Nature Communications | Year: 2011

Influenza A viruses are a threat to humans due to their ability to cross species barriers, as illustrated by the 2009 H1N1v pandemic and sporadic H5N1 transmissions. Interspecies transmission requires adaptation of the viral polymerase to importin-α, a cellular protein that mediates transport into the nucleus where transcription and replication of the viral genome takes place. In this study, we analysed replication, host specificity and pathogenicity of avian and mammalian influenza viruses, in importin-α-silenced cells and importin-α-knockout mice, to understand the role of individual importin-α isoforms in adaptation. For efficient virus replication, the polymerase subunit PB2 and the nucleoprotein (NP) of avian viruses required importin-α3, whereas PB2 and NP of mammalian viruses showed importin-α7 specificity. H1N1v replication depended on both, importin-α3 and -α7, suggesting ongoing adaptation of this virus. Thus, differences in importin-α specificity are determinants of host range underlining the importance of the nuclear envelope in interspecies transmission. © 2011 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Grohmann L.,Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety | Busch U.,Bavarian Health and Food Safety Authority | Pecoraro S.,Bavarian Health and Food Safety Authority | Hess N.,Institute for Hygiene and Environment | And 2 more authors.
European Food Research and Technology | Year: 2011

A real-time PCR-based method for construct-specific detection of the genetically modified (GM) linseed event 'CDC Triffid' FP967 originating from Canada has been validated in a collaborative trial. The construct-specific method amplifies a 105 bp long fragment of the transgenic insertion present in FP967 spanning the junction of the terminator region of the nopalin synthase gene from Agrobacterium tumefaciens (Tnos) to a sequence region coding for the dehydrofolate reductase gene (dfr) from a class I integron from Escherichia coli. This region is characteristic for the construct used to develop FP967. A total of 11 laboratories participated in the collaborative study. For PCR analysis, each laboratory received 14 DNA samples comprising 7 double-blind DNA samples. The samples consisted of two low GM-levels of FP967 DNA (10 or 50 copies per PCR), of DNA from two different GM-positive linseed products and of DNA from GM-negative linseed, potato and rapeseed materials, respectively. All but one of the FP967-positive DNA samples were detected correctly. No false-positive results were reported. The results demonstrate that the linseed event FP967 is detectable even at low copy number concentrations. The limit of detection (LOD) determined with plasmid DNA was shown to be at 5 copies of the Tnos-dfr sequence. The data provided show that the method can be applied successfully in different laboratories and is fit-for-purpose to test for the presence of the EU-unauthorised linseed event 'CDC Triffid' FP967. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.


Plenge-Bonig A.,Institute for Hygiene and Environment | Soto-Ramirez N.,University of South Carolina | Karmaus W.,University of South Carolina | Petersen G.,Wyeth Pharma Germany | And 2 more authors.
European Journal of Pediatrics | Year: 2010

To assess whether breastfeeding protects against acute gastroenteritis (AGE) due to rotavirus (RV) infection compared to RV-negative AGE (RV-) in children age 0-12 months. Data from a community-based study of children with AGE from 30 pediatric practices in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria were evaluated. A case-control design was conducted with RV-positive AGE (RV+) cases and RV- AGE as controls. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were estimated using log-linear regression models adjusting for child's age, family size, number of siblings, child care attendance, and nationality. A total of 1,256 stool samples were collected from infants with AGE; 315 (25%) were RV+ and 941 RV-. Being breastfed in the period of disease inception reduced the risk of AGE due to RV+ (OR, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.37-0.76). In infants 0-6 months of age, the protective effect was stronger (OR, 0.33; 95% CI, 0.19-0.55) than in 7-12-month-old children. Our study adds to the evidence of a protective concurrent effect of breastfeeding against rotavirus infection in infants, particularly in children 6 months and younger. Breastfeeding is important to diminish rotavirus-related gastroenteritis in infants before vaccination can be introduced. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.


Stephan R.,University of Zürich | Johler S.,University of Zürich | Oesterle N.,Bell Schweiz AG | Naumann G.,Institute for Hygiene and Environment | And 2 more authors.
Food Control | Year: 2014

Correct identification of scallop species is of crucial importance to the seafood industry to assess marketability of the product, as well as to prevent unintentional mislabeling and to comply with current legislative guidelines. However, various scallop species are virtually indistinguishable and to date there is no fast, reproducible, and inexpensive technique for species identification of scallops. A new promising tool in the identification of various organisms is the matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS). In this study, we aimed to 1) evaluate the possibility of MALDI-TOF MS as a tool for rapid and reliable species identification of scallops and 2) assess the occurrence of mislabeled scallops sold in Switzerland. We therefore used 16 scallop reference samples, as well as scallops sampled at eight Swiss retail facilities and identified the scallop species both by 16S rRNA PCR and MALDI-TOF MS. For all tested scallop species, MALDI-TOF MS yielded reproducible and unique mass spectra profiles covering a wide molecular mass range of 3000-30,000Da. Species-specific biomarker protein mass patterns were determined. Species identification of reference scallop samples using MALDI-TOF MS was in accordance with species identification using the established 16S rRNA PCR tool. Identification of the scallop samples purchased in Switzerland also yielded identical results for MALDI-TOF MS and the 16S RNA PCR approach. We were able to show that several of the scallop samples were labeled incorrectly. All mislabeled scallops belonged to the species Placopecten magellanicus, but were marketed as "Jacobsmuschel", a commercial name reserved for Pecten spp. In this study, we show that MALDI-TOF MS allows for rapid, reliable, and highly accurate species identification of scallops. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


Su T.,Tongji University | Su T.,University of Stockholm | Deng H.,Tongji University | Benskin J.P.,University of Stockholm | And 2 more authors.
Chemosphere | Year: 2016

Occurrence of the antibiotic sulfamethoxazole (SMX) in the aquatic environment is of concern due to its potential to induce antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria. While degradation of SMX can occur by numerous processes, the environmental fate of its transformation products (TPs) remains poorly understood. In the present work, biodegradation of SMX photo-TPs was investigated in a water/sediment system. Photo-TPs were produced by exposing SMX to artificial sunlight for 48 h. The resulting mixture of 8 photo-TPs was characterized using a combination of ultra-high performance liquid chromatography coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometry and tandem mass spectrometry, and then used in biodegradation experiments. Significant differences in transformation among SMX photo-TPs were observed in the water/sediment system, with four photo-TPs displaying evidence of biodegradation (dissipation half-lives [DT50] of 39.7 d for 3-amino-5-methylisoxazole, 12.7 d for 4-nitro-sulfamethxoazole, 7.6 d for an SMX isomer and 2.4 d for [C10H13N3O4S]), two displaying primarily abiotic degradation (DT50 of 31 d for sulfanilic acid and 74.9 d for 5-methylisoxazol-3-yl-sulfamate), and two photo-TPs behaving largely recalcitrantly. Remarkably, TPs previously reported to be photo-stable also were persistent in biodegradation experiments. The most surprising observation was an increase in SMX concentrations when the irradiated solution was incubated, which we attribute to back-transformation of certain photo-TPs by sediment bacteria (85% from 4-nitro-sulfamethoxazole). This process could contribute to exposure to SMX in the aquatic environment that is higher than one would expect based on the fate of SMX alone. The results highlight the importance of considering TPs along with their parent compounds when characterizing environmental risks of emerging contaminants. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.


Krebstein K.,Estonian University of Life Sciences | von Janowsky K.,Institute for Hygiene and Environment | Kuht J.,Estonian University of Life Sciences | Reintam E.,Estonian University of Life Sciences
Plant, Soil and Environment | Year: 2014

The objective of this work was to evaluate the effect of tractor wheeling with a light tractor on the root growth and soil properties of smooth brome in South Estonia. Field experiment was conducted on sandy loam Haplic Luvisol in 2007. Data were collected during September 2008 in both an uncompacted and compacted area. Because of the compaction, the precompression stress increased in the upper soil layer (0-10 cm) by 12.6% and 15.2% at a depth of 10-20 cm. Compaction had only a minor effect on the bulk density, values increased 4.7% in the upper soil layer and 1.8% in the deeper layer. Differences in the saturated hydraulic conductivity (ks) were not significant; however, the decrease in the ks was 26.6% in the upper level and 12.5% in the deeper (10-20 cm) layer. At a depth of 0 to 30 cm compaction decreased the root length by 44.7% and the root mass by 60.5% compared with the uncompacted soil. Altogether, this study confirms the unfavourable effect of wheeling on grasslands even when the wheeling is performed with a light tractor on dry soil.


Otte A.,Heinrich Pette Institute | Sauter M.,University of Tübingen | Alleva L.,Australian National University | Baumgarte S.,Institute for Hygiene and Environment | And 2 more authors.
American Journal of Pathology | Year: 2011

Influenza viruses are responsible for high morbidities in humans and may, eventually, cause pandemics. Herein, we compared the pathogenesis and host innate immune responses of a seasonal H1N1, two 2009 pandemic H1N1, and a human H5N1 influenza virus in experimental BALB/c and C57BL/6J mouse models. We found that both 2009 pandemic H1N1 isolates studied (A/Hamburg/05/09 and A/Hamburg/NY1580/09) were low pathogenic in BALB/c mice [log mouse lethal dose 50 (MLD 50) >6 plaque-forming units (PFU)] but displayed remarkable differences in virulence in C57BL/6J mice. A/Hamburg/NY1580/09 was more virulent (logMLD 50 = 3.5 PFU) than A/Hamburg/05/09 (logMLD 50 = 5.2 PFU) in C57BL/6J mice. In contrast, the H5N1 influenza virus was more virulent in BALB/c mice (logMLD 50 = 0.3 PFU) than in C57BL/6J mice (logMLD 50 = 1.8 PFU). Seasonal H1N1 influenza revealed marginal pathogenicity in BALB/c or C57BL/6J mice (logMLD 50 >6 PFU). Enhanced susceptibility of C57BL/6J mice to pandemic H1N1 correlated with a depressed cytokine response. In contrast, enhanced H5N1 virulence in BALB/c mice correlated with an elevated proinflammatory cytokine response. These findings highlight that host determinants responsible for the pathogenesis of 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza viruses are different from those contributing to H5N1 pathogenesis. Our results show, for the first time to our knowledge, that the C57BL/6J mouse strain is more appropriate for the evaluation and identification of intrinsic pathogenicity markers of 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza viruses that are "masked" in BALB/c mice. © 2011 American Society for Investigative Pathology.


Zou H.,University of Stockholm | Radke M.,University of Stockholm | Radke M.,Institute for Hygiene and Environment | Kierkegaard A.,University of Stockholm | And 2 more authors.
Environmental Science and Technology | Year: 2015

It is challenging to measure the persistence of chemicals under field conditions. In this work, two approaches for measuring persistence in the field were compared: the chemical mass balance approach, and a novel chemical benchmarking approach. Ten pharmaceuticals, an X-ray contrast agent, and an artificial sweetener were studied in a Swedish lake. Acesulfame K was selected as a benchmark to quantify persistence using the chemical benchmarking approach. The 95% confidence intervals of the half-life for transformation in the lake system ranged from 780-5700 days for carbamazepine to <1-2 days for ketoprofen. The persistence estimates obtained using the benchmarking approach agreed well with those from the mass balance approach (1-21% difference), indicating that chemical benchmarking can be a valid and useful method to measure the persistence of chemicals under field conditions. Compared to the mass balance approach, the benchmarking approach partially or completely eliminates the need to quantify mass flow of chemicals, so it is particularly advantageous when the quantification of mass flow of chemicals is difficult. Furthermore, the benchmarking approach allows for ready comparison and ranking of the persistence of different chemicals. © 2015 American Chemical Society.

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