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Vienna, Austria

Poeppl W.,Medical University of Vienna | Tobudic S.,Medical University of Vienna | Winkler H.-M.,Medical University of Vienna | Faas A.,Institute for Medical Support | And 2 more authors.
Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases | Year: 2012

The prevalence of Puumala hantavirus infections in Austria and the occupational exposure of military personnel to this virus were assessed in 2009 in an exploratory nationwide cross-sectional seroprevalence survey in 526 healthy individuals, of which 222 were soldiers and 304 were civilians. In addition, information on possible risk factors for hantavirus exposure, including previous foreign military assignments, residential area, occupational animal contact, and regular outdoor activities, was obtained. Immunoglobulin G antibodies against Puumala hantavirus were examined with a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Overall, 7 (1.3%) individuals, aged 19, 22, 24, 24, 26, 38, and 60 years, tested positive on serologic screening. There were no significant differences between the seroprevalence of the virus and any of the variables surveyed. Our data demonstrate serologic evidence of Puumala hantavirus infection among the Austrian population, with a stable prevalence in the past decade. When compared with the general population, no increased risk of exposure to Puumala hantavirus could be detected for military personnel. © Copyright 2012, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2012.

Poeppl W.,Medical University of Vienna | Poeppl G.,Regional Hospital Kirchdorf an der Krems | Hunger M.,Regional Hospital Kirchdorf an der Krems | Tobudic S.,Medical University of Vienna | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Medical Virology | Year: 2012

Antibody prevalence to the 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) virus was determined in a sample of the Austrian population to assess the post-pandemic seropositivity rate, the infection attack rate, and the proportion of subclinical infections during the 2009/2010 influenza pandemic in Austrian adults. A total of 480 sera from individuals aged between 18 and 57 years from all nine federal states of Austria were collected between April and June 2010. Information on demographic characteristics, vaccination history, and history of suspected or verified influenza virus infection was ascertained. Antibodies were determined using a commercial ELISA and compared with 80 age-matched adult sera collected before the pandemic began. The overall seropositivity rate was 28% and was highest among young adults aged 18-29 years, followed by adults aged 50-57 years. Among seropositive unvaccinated individuals, infection was asymptomatic in more than 80%. Extrapolation to the overall Austrian adult population indicates that more than 1.3 million persons aged 18-57 years became infected in 2009. Compared with the pre-pandemic seropositivity rate, the infection rate was highest among young adults but low in those aged 30-57 years. Among 69 individuals previously vaccinated with the 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) virus, 71% had specific antibodies. The study demonstrates that infection rates based on surveillance of clinical cases considerably underestimated the infection attack rate during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic in Austria and that vaccination against this virus elicited long-lasting seropositivity in more than 70% of adults. J. Med. Virol. 84:1331-1334, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Lagler H.,Medical University of Vienna | Poeppl W.,Medical University of Vienna | Winkler H.,Medical University of Vienna | Herkner H.,Medical University of Vienna | And 3 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Background: Hepatitis E Virus (HEV) infection is globally increasing. The present study was performed to investigate the HEV seroprevalence, exposure risks as well as occupational risks for military personnel in Austria, a Central European country. Methods and Findings: A nationwide cross-sectional seroprevalence study was performed in 997 healthy Austrian adults, professional soldiers and civilians. Routine laboratory and HEV specific antibodies were determined. In addition, epidemiological information on possible risk factors for exposure to HEV was obtained. The overall seropositivity for HEV antibodies was 14.3% and significantly increased with age. Seroprevalence was significantly higher among individuals with previous military employments abroad (21.4% vs. 9.9%) and among professional soldiers aged 30-39 years (20.2% vs. 7.3%). No association was found for private travel, occupational or private animal contact or regular outdoor activities. Individuals who tested positive for antibodies against HEV had significantly higher laboratory values regarding liver enzymes, lipid levels and blood fasting glucose. Conclusions: Exposure to HEV is common in Austria. Military employment abroad could be a potential risk factor for HEV infection. Further studies are required to investigate the significance of pathological laboratory results found among asymptomatic individuals previously exposed to HEV. © 2014 Lagler et al.

Poeppl W.,Medical University of Vienna | Orola M.J.,FH Campus Wien, University of Applied Sciences | Herkner H.,Medical University of Vienna | Muller M.,Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety | And 5 more authors.
Eurosurveillance | Year: 2013

To assess the distribution of specific antibodies against Leptospira spp. in Austrian adults, we conducted an explorative nationwide cross-sectional serological study in 400 healthy individuals. Antibody titres against Leptospira spp. were determined in a microscopic agglutination test using a panel of 14 serovar cultures. Sera of 18 participants were excluded because the samples were unsuitable for testing; the remaining 382 participants comprised 166 professional soldiers and 216 civilians. Overall, 88 (23%) individuals tested positive in serological screening. The subjects' sera reacted most frequently with serovars Canicola (16.5%) and Hardjo (11.8%). Epidemiological information was obtained from a questionnaire: no correlation was found for area of residence, travel abroad, regular outdoor activities, occupational animal contact, or ownership of companion animals. The proportion of seropositive samples was significantly lower among professional soldiers (15.7%) than among civilians (28.7%) (p=0.003). Our data demonstrate serological evidence of a high rate of exposure to Leptospira spp. among the Austrian population. No increased risk of exposure to Leptospira spp. was detected in military personnel. © 2007-2013. All rights reserved.

Poeppl W.,Medical University of Vienna | Herkner H.,Medical University of Vienna | Tobudic S.,Medical University of Vienna | Faas A.,Institute for Medical Support | And 4 more authors.
Clinical Microbiology and Infection | Year: 2013

Clin Microbiol Infect Leishmaniasis is a rare disease in Central Europe and is diagnosed almost exclusively in travellers or migrants coming from tropical or subtropical countries. We conducted an explorative cross-sectional serological study, using a commercial ELISA, in 1048 healthy Austrian individuals to assess the distribution of specific antibodies against Leishmania spp. in humans in Austria. Overall, 47 individuals (4.5%) tested positive, and an additional 32 (3.1%) showed borderline results. After 12months, sera from 42 of the 79 individuals who had initially tested seropositive/borderline were tested by ELISA a second time: 18 were persistently positive, nine were borderline. Those whose sera were persistently positive/borderline were then screened for potential carrier status using a commercial oligochromatographic PCR test to detect parasite DNA. Four samples were PCR positive and were subjected to a second PCR allowing parasite identification after DNA sequencing: two samples were identified as Leishmania donovani/infantum complex and Leishmania (Viannia) guyanensis, respectively. Epidemiological information was obtained with a questionnaire: no correlation was found for the number of holiday trips within the previous 6months, but a significant risk of exposure to Leishmania spp. was found for travel to the New World, particularly to the Caribbean. Our data demonstrate that Leishmania spp. seroprevalence in non-endemic countries has been considerably underestimated. © 2012 The Authors. Clinical Microbiology and Infection © 2012 European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.

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