[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report the findings of the first case-control study conducted in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to determine risk factors for sporadic Campylobacter infections. A total of 197 cases and 296 case-nominated controls matched for age, were included. Based on Population Attributable Fraction (PAF), the most important risk factors were consuming chicken [adjusted matched (am) OR 6.8; 95%CI 2.1-21.9], consuming lettuce (amOR 3.3; 95%CI 1.5-7.1) and eating in takeaways (amOR=3.1; 95%CI 1.4-6.6). Contact with sheep (amOR=11; 95%CI 1.6-78), peptic ulcer (amOR=19; 95%CI 3.8-93.7), hiatus hernia (amOR=20.3; 95%CI 2.3-183.3), lower bowel problems (amOR=4.5; 95%CI 1.2-16.8) were also independently associated with infection. Mains water supply showed protective effect (amOR=0.2; 95 CI 0.1-0.9). The findings highlight the continued need for consumer food safety education and further control measures throughout the food chain on the island of Ireland.
Eurosurveillance: bulletin europeen sur les maladies transmissibles = European communicable disease bulletin 02/2009; 14(7). · 5.72 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Foodborne Viruses in Europe network has developed integrated epidemiological and virological outbreak reporting with aggregation and sharing of data through a joint database. We analyzed data from reported outbreaks of norovirus (NoV)-caused gastroenteritis from 13 European countries (July 2001 to July 2006) for trends in time and indications of different epidemiology of genotypes and variants. Of the 13 countries participating in this surveillance network, 11 were capable of collecting integrated epidemiological and virological surveillance data and 10 countries reported outbreaks throughout the entire period. Large differences in the numbers and rates of reported outbreaks per country were observed, reflecting the differences in the focus and coverage of national surveillance systems. GII.4 strains predominated throughout the 5-year surveillance period, but the proportion of outbreaks associated with GII.4 rose remarkably during years in which NoV activity was particularly high. Spring and summer peaks indicated the emergence of genetically distinct variants within GII.4 across Europe and were followed by increased NoV activity during the 2002-2003 and 2004-2005 winter seasons. GII.4 viruses predominated in health care settings and in person-to-person transmission. The consecutive emergence of new GII.4 variants is highly indicative of immune-driven selection. Their predominance in health care settings suggests properties that facilitate transmission in settings with a high concentration of people such as higher virus loads in excreta or a higher incidence of vomiting. Understanding the mechanisms driving the changes in epidemiology and clinical impact of these rapidly evolving RNA viruses is essential to design effective intervention and prevention measures.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pediatric gastroenteritis places a considerable disease burden on children of the developed world. The national surveillance of gastroenteritis in Ireland is a combined virological and epidemiologic surveillance program. The objectives of this study were to characterize the norovirus (NoV) genotypes associated with viral gastroenteritis in children <or=5 y of age, and compare these strains with those detected in adult specimens. A total of five different NoV genotypes were associated with infection in Irish children [Genogroup II/type 2 (GII/2),GII/4,GII/6,GII/b,GII/14] whereas only GII/4 strains were identified in adults. This significant genotypic difference in the NoV strains associated with pediatric and adult infection was found in both community- and hospital-based infection. To assess the burden that NoV places on Irish children, the relative prevalence of norovirus, rotavirus, and adenovirus was determined in hospitalized symptomatic children <or=5 y old. Our results identified NoV as a major cause of gastroenteritis in children >or=4 mo of age and determined that NoV and adenovirus infection are equally significant in children in the first 5 y of life. This group of pediatric patients reported diarrhea as their most common symptom raising the question whether Kaplan criteria are the most effective method for clinically diagnosing outbreaks of enteric infection in pediatric patients. ABBREVIATIONS::
Pediatric Research 05/2008; 64(3):312-6. DOI:10.1203/PDR.0b013e31817995bc · 2.31 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The food-borne viruses in Europe (FBVE) network database was established in 1999 to monitor trends in outbreaks of gastroenteritis due to noroviruses (NoVs), to identify major transmission routes of NoV infections within and between participating countries and to detect diffuse international food-borne outbreaks.
We reviewed the total of 9430 NoV outbreak reports from 13 countries with date of onset between 1 January 2002 and 1 January 2007 for representativeness, completeness and timeliness against these objectives.
Rates of reporting ranged from a yearly average of 1.8 in 2003 to 11.6 in 2006. Completeness of reporting of an agreed minimum dataset improved over the years, both for epidemiological and virological data. For the 10 countries that provided integrated (epidemiological AND virological) reporting over the 5-year period, the completeness of the minimum dataset rose from 15% in 2003 to 48% in 2006. Two countries have not been able to combine both data types due to the structure of the national surveillance system (England and Wales and Germany). Timeliness of reporting (median days between the onset of an outbreak and the date of reporting to the FBVE database) differed greatly between countries, but gradually improved to 47 days in 2006.
The outbreaks reported to the FBVE reflect the lack of standardization of surveillance systems across Europe, making direct comparison of data between countries difficult. However, trends in reported outbreaks per country, distribution of NoV genotypes, and detection of diffuse international outbreaks were used as background data in acute questions about NoV illness and the changing genotype distribution during the 5-year period, shown to be of added value. Integrated reporting is essential for these objectives, but could be limited to sentinel countries with surveillance systems that allow this integration. For successful intervention in case of diffuse international outbreaks, completeness and timeliness of reporting would need to be improved and expanded to countries that presently do not participate.
Journal of Public Health 04/2008; 30(1):82-90. DOI:10.1093/pubmed/fdm080 · 2.04 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A prospective study of norovirus outbreaks in Ireland was carried out over a 1-year period from 1 October 2004 to 30 September 2005. Epidemiological and molecular data on norovirus outbreaks in the Republic of Ireland (ROI) and Northern Ireland (NI) were collected and combined in real time in a common database. Most reported outbreaks occurred in hospitals and residential institutions and person-to-person spread was the predominant mode of transmission. The predominant circulating norovirus strain was the GII.4-2004 strain with a small number of outbreaks due to GII.2. This study represents the first time that enhanced epidemiological and virological data on norovirus outbreaks in Ireland have been described. The link established between the epidemiological and virological institutions during the course of this study has been continued and the data is being used as a source of data for the Foodborne Viruses in Europe Network (DIVINE-NET).
Epidemiology and Infection 03/2008; 136(11):1472-9. DOI:10.1017/S0950268808000356 · 2.54 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A retrospective cohort study was conducted to investigate an outbreak of Norwalk-like viral gastroenteritidis that occurred in Irish holidaymakers visiting Andorra, in January-February 2002. Preliminary results showed the risk exposure was higher for tourists who stayed in Soldeu and consumed ice cubes in their drinks (OR = 2.5, 95% CI [1.3-4.6)], after logistic regression and adjusting for sex and water consumption).
Eurosurveillance: bulletin europeen sur les maladies transmissibles = European communicable disease bulletin 02/2003; 8(1):1-8. · 5.72 Impact Factor