Given the present lack of clinically useful tests for the accurate diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy (EP), there is a need to select out those immunological factors measured in the maternal serum, as potential biomarkers. Our assumption was that C1q/anti-C1q antibody complexes and serum levels of interleukin-15 (IL-15) may play a role in differentiating abortions (MAs) and EPs and normal pregnancies. We assessed whether their measurement could set the diagnosis in a case control study at 6–8 weeks consisting of 60 women with failed early pregnancy (30 EPs, 30 MAs) and 33 women with intrauterine pregnancies. Normal pregnancies contain anti-C1q antibodies more frequently compared to women with failed pregnancies, the lowest levels being found in EPs, but this lacked statistical significance and anti-C1q could not serve as a marker. However EP pregnancies had elevated IL-15 levels that could statistically significantly differentiate them from MAs and IUPs. Furthermore, when assessing IL-15 for the clinically important differentiation between IUP and EP, we found at a cut-off of 16 pg/mL a negative predictive value of 99 with a sensitivity for diagnosing an EP of 92%. According to these results, serum IL-15 is a promising marker differentiating an MA from an EP.
The transmission rate of air-borne infectious diseases may vary secondary to climate conditions. The study assessed time trends in the seasonality of hospitalized varicella cases in a temperate region in relation to climatic parameters prior to the implementation of universal varicella immunization.
A retrospective descriptive study was conducted among all pediatric and adolescent varicella patients (n = 2366) hospitalized at the “Aghia Sophia” Children's Hospital during 1982–2003 in Athens, Greece. Date of infection was computed based on hospital admission date. Seasonal and monthly trends in the epidemiology of varicella infection were assessed with time series analysis (ARIMA modeling procedure). The correlation between the frequency of varicella patients and the meteorological parameters was examined by the application of Generalized Linear Models with Gamma distribution.
During 1982–2003, the occurrence of hospitalized varicella cases increased during summer (p = 0.025) and decreased during autumn (p = 0.021), and particularly in September (p = 0.003). The frequency of hospitalized varicella cases was inversely associated with air temperature (p<0.001). In contrast, the occurrence of hospitalized varicella cases was positively associated with wind speed (p = 0.009).
Pediatric hospitalizations for varicella infection rates have increased during summer and decreased during autumn in the examined temperate region. Time trends in hospitalized varicella cases are associated with climatic variables.
Waste collectors have a theoretical risk of Hepatitis A virus infection. The aim of the study was to assess the prevalence and risk factors of hepatitis A virus infection (HAV) among municipal solid waste workers (MSWWs) in a municipality of central Greece. A seroprevalence study of HAV was conducted among 208 employees (100 waste collectors and 108 municipal gardeners) of a municipality in central Greece. Total antibodies against HAV were measured and information regarding potential risk factors was collected through a face to face interview. The prevalence of HAV infection among the municipal waste collectors was 61% vs. 27% among municipal gardeners. Logistic regression analysis showed that exposure to waste (OR = 2.87; 95% CI = 1.24–6.62) and age (OR = 22.57; 95% CI = 7.29–69.88) were independently associated with the anti-HAV positivity. Moreover, waste collectors who reported smoking/drinking/eating during waste collection were at higher risk of HAV infection (RR = 2.84; 95% CI = 1.73–4.63). Stratified analysis among municipal waste collectors indicated an independent association between eating/smoking/drinking during waste collection and anti-HAV (+) (OR = 3.85; 95% CI = 1.34–11.06). Occupational exposure to waste is a potential risk factor for HAV infection. Smoking/eating/drinking during waste collection could be the mode of hepatitis A virus transmission among municipal waste collectors.
hepatitis A infection; municipal solid waste workers; occupational exposure
Toxoplasmosis is caused by infection with the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii. Acute infections in pregnant women may be transmitted to the fetus and cause severe illness. The purpose of this study was to establish a dedicated surveillance network (DSN) for congenital toxoplasmosis (CT) in Greece, in order to assess the birth prevalence of CT.
A DSN of thirty clinicians was established for reporting CT cases from hospitals throughout Greece. The clinicians were selected on the basis that there was a high possibility the suspected cases would be referred to them from district hospitals or private clinics. Suspected cases of CT were reported on a monthly basis with a zero reporting card during a surveillance period from April 2006 to December 2009. A questionnaire was sent for any suspected case to record information including demographic parameters, clinical signs and symptoms and laboratory results. Serological and molecular confirmation of cases was performed by the Pasteur Hellenic Institute. All newborns suspected of CT received treatment and were serologically and clinically followed up for one year.
The monthly response rate reached 100%, although only after reminders sent to 65% of the participant physicians. Sixty-three suspected CT cases were recorded by the DSN during the study period including fourteen confirmed and seven probable cases. Ten cases (47.6%) presented with symptoms at birth. Chorioretinitis was the most prominent manifestation, occurring in five symptomatic CT cases (50%). No other symptoms appeared by the end of the one year clinical follow up. No case was recorded by the existing surveillance system of the Hellenic Center of Disease Control and Prevention (HCDCP) during the same time period. Birth prevalence was estimated at 0.45, 0.51 and 0.51 per 10,000 births for 2007, 2008 and 2009 respectively. The incidence rate of symptomatic CT at birth was estimated at 0.10 cases per 10,000 births per year in Greece (for the period 2007–2009).
The DSN for CT proved to be more sensitive than the classical notification system, easy in application and very efficient in reporting rare diseases such as CT. Similar DSNs could be used to provide useful information on other rare diseases.
Congenital Toxoplasmosis; Surveillance Network; Greece
Background. Upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) are common in children. The cause of URTIs is usually viral, but parents' attitudes often contribute to inappropriate prescription of antibiotics, promoting antibiotic resistance. The objective of this study was to identify possible risk factors associated with antibiotic misuse in Greece, a country with high levels of antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance. Methods. A knowledge-attitude-practice (KAP) questionnaire was developed and distributed to Greek parents caring for children who were 5-6 years old, between January and July of the same school year. Results. The sample of the study contained 5312 parents from all geographic areas of Greece. The risk factors of being a father, having low education, having immigrant status, being a single parent, having low income, having <2 or >3 children, living in the islands, and being without experience in recurrent URTIs were significantly associated to inadequate knowledge, inappropriate attitudes, and wrong practices. Conclusions. This study has identified the main groups of parents that should be targeted in future intervention programs.
To study the epidemiology of pertussis in Greece and epidemiologic changes throughout a period of twenty-nine years, we conducted a retrospective analysis of available data of pertussis cases for the past twenty-nine years (1980–2008) and a prospective analysis of hospitalized pertussis cases from a children's hospital in Athens for eight years (2001–2008). From 1980 through 2008, the incidence of pertussis in Greece declined from 11.2 to 0.05 cases per 100,000. Epidemic cycles occurring every 3 to 5 years were observed. Since pertussis circulation cannot be fully controlled by present immunization programs, efforts should be made to vaccinate infants at the recommended age, early diagnose, treatment as well as contact tracing of pertussis cases. Control of pertussis in social susceptible populations is necessary. A national program with adolescent and adult booster could decrease the circulation of B. pertussis. Despite an overall decrease for pertussis cases, pertussis is still a present and future challenge of public health service in Greece.
Contradictory reports have been published regarding the association of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) and the use of computer keyboard. Previous studies did not take into account the cumulative exposure to keyboard strokes among computer workers. The aim of the present study was to investigate the association between cumulative keyboard use (keyboard strokes) and CTS.
Employees (461) from a Governmental data entry & processing unit agreed to participate (response rate: 84.1 %) in a cross-sectional study. Α questionnaire was distributed to the participants to obtain information on socio-demographics and risk factors for CTS. The participants were examined for signs and symptoms related to CTS and were asked if they had previous history or surgery for CTS. The cumulative amount of the keyboard strokes per worker per year was calculated by the use of payroll’s registry. Two case definitions for CTS were used. The first included subjects with personal history/surgery for CTS while the second included subjects that belonged to the first case definition plus those participants were identified through clinical examination.
Multivariate analysis used for both case definitions, indicated that those employees with high cumulative exposure to keyboard strokes were at increased risk of CTS (case definition A: OR = 2.23;95 % CI = 1.09-4.52 and case definition B: OR = 2.41; 95%CI = 1.36-4.25). A dose response pattern between cumulative exposure to keyboard strokes and CTS has been revealed (p < 0.001).
The present study indicated a possible association between cumulative exposure to keyboard strokes and development of CTS. Cumulative exposure to key-board strokes would be taken into account as an exposure indicator regarding exposure assessment of computer workers. Further research is needed in order to test the results of the current study and assess causality between cumulative keyboard strokes and development of CT.
The evidence regarding the association between lung cancer and occupational exposure to cement is controversial. This study investigated causes of deaths from cancer of respiratory tract among cement workers.
The deaths of the Greek Cement Workers Compensation Scheme were analyzed covering the period 1969-1998. All respiratory, lung, laryngeal and urinary bladder cancer proportionate mortality were calculated for cement production, maintenance, and office workers in the cement industry. Mortality from urinary bladder cancer was used as an indirect indicator of the confounding effect of smoking.
Mortality from all respiratory cancer was significantly increased in cement production workers (PMR = 1.91; 95% CI 1.54 to 2.33). The proportionate mortality from lung cancer was significantly elevated (PMR = 2.05; 95% CI 1.65 to 2.52). A statistically significant increase in proportionate mortality due to respiratory (PMR = 1.7; 95% CI 1.2 to 2.34). and lung cancer (PMR = 1.67;95% CI = 1.15-2.34) among maintenance workers has been observed. The PMR among the three groups of workers (production, maintenance, office) did differ significantly for lung cancer (p = 0.001), while the PMR for urinary bladder cancer found to be similar among the three groups of cement workers.
Cement production, and maintenance workers presented increased lung and respiratory cancer proportionate mortality, and this finding probably cannot be explained by the confounding effect of smoking alone. Further research including use of prospective cohort studies is needed in order to establish a causal association between occupational exposure to cement and risk of lung cancer.
Echinococcosis notification rate in Greece, based on the most recent data, is below 0.25 per 100,000 population. To further investigate the epidemiology of echinococcosis in Greece a study was designed to determine the seroprevalence of Echinococcus granulosus antibodies in the population of Thessaly, Central Greece. Five hundred and forty two left over blood samples in Thessaly laboratories, were collected using a stratified convenient sampling procedure. Samples were analyzed with enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. The seropositivity found was 1.1%(95% C.I., 0.5–2.5), with 5 out of 6 seropositive results to be in the age group of over 65 (OR = 17.95, 95%CI 2.04–157.11, p value 0.009). Rural residence was also found as a risk factor to seropositivity (RR = 7.60, 95% CI 0.89–64.64, p value 0.039). Surveillance data and our study results converge that echinococcosis is being reduced in Greece, with older population to be affected mostly. These might be due to the disease transmission restriction, by the control measures being implemented. Efforts should be continued, in both animals and humans side, by increasing training campaigns and public awareness.
Bacteriological water quality criteria have been recommended to ensure bathers’ health. However, this risk-assessment approach is based mainly on routine measurements of fecal pollution indicator bacteria in seawater, and may not be adequate to protect bathers effectively. The aim of this study was to assess the risks of symptoms related to infectious diseases among bathers after exposure to seawater which was of excellent quality according to EU guidelines. This study is a cohort study recruiting bathers and non-bathers. Water samples were collected for estimating bacterial indicators. Univariable and multivariable analysis was performed to compare the risks of developing symptoms/diseases between bathers and non-bathers. A total of 3805 bathers and 572 non-bathers were included in the study. Water analysis results demonstrated excellent quality of bathing water. Significantly increased risks of symptoms related to gastrointestinal infections (OR = 3.60, 95% CI 1.28–10.13), respiratory infections (OR = 1.92, 95% CI 1.00–3.67), eye infections (OR = 2.43, 95% CI 1.27–4.63) and ear infections (OR = 17.21, 95% CI 2.42–122.34) were observed among bathers compared with non-bathers. Increased rates of medical consultation and medication use were also observed among bathers. There was evidence that bathers experienced increased morbidity compared with non-bathers though the bathing waters met bacteriological water quality criteria. These results suggest that risk assessments of recreational seawaters should not only focus on bacteriological water quality criteria.
bacterial indicators; bathers; health effects; recreational water; swimming; sea-water quality
We conducted the GHPSS (Global Health Professions Student Survey) to obtain information regarding health profession students’ smoking habits and perceptions, exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) as well as level of knowledge and training on tobacco use and smoking cessation counseling. GHPSS is a survey for third-year students in the following fields: health visitors, dentistry, medicine, nursing and/or pharmacy. The highest tobacco use prevalence rate and exposure to SHS were recorded among health visitor students with 46.4% and 33.3% respectively. The majority of the respondents believed that their profession serves as a role model for their patients. Formal training on cessation counseling ranged between 10.7% for health visitor students to 22.4% for nursing students. The relatively high percentage of health profession students who currently smoke and the alarmingly high percentage of those exposed to SHS indicate lack of concerted efforts for implementation and effective enforcement of the anti-tobacco policy measures. Despite its significance, formal training on cessation counseling for students is strikingly low. These results indicate the urgent need to train health professional students on tobacco cessation counseling and educate them on the dangers of tobacco use, SHS and the positively influential role they can play to affect their patients’ smoking habits.
tobacco; smoking; prevalence; students; secondhand smoke; health profession; cessation; survey
Bacterial meningitis (BM) is a life-threatening disease, often related with serious complications and sequelae. Infants and children who survive bacterial meningitis often suffer neurological and other sequelae.
A total of 2,477 patients aged 1 month to 14 years old hospitalized in a Children's Hospital in Greece diagnosed with acute bacterial meningitis were collected through a Meningitis Registry, from 1974 to 2005. Clinical, laboratory and other parameters (sex, age, pathogen, duration of symptoms before and after admission) were evaluated through univariate and multivariate analysis with regard to sequelae. Analysis of acute complications were also studied but not included in the final model.
The rate of acute complications (arthritis and/or subdural effusion) was estimated at 6.8% (152 out of 2,251 patients, 95%CI 5.8-7.9) while the rate of sequelae (severe hearing loss, ventriculitis, hydrocephalus or seizure disorder) among survivors was estimated at 3.3% (73 out of 2,207 patients, 95%CI 2.6-4.2). Risk factors on admission associated with sequelae included seizures, absence of hemorrhagic rash, low CSF glucose, high CSF protein and the etiology of meningitis. A combination of significant prognostic factors including presence of seizures, low CSF glucose, high CSF protein, positive blood culture and absence of petechiae on admission presented an absolute risk of sequelae of 41.7% (95%CI 15.2-72.3).
A combination of prognostic factors of sequelae in childhood BM may be of value in selecting patients for more intensive therapy and in identifying possible candidates for new treatment strategies.
Upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) are common in children and represent a significant cause of antibiotic abuse which contributes to the development of antibiotic resistance. A survey was conducted in Cyprus in 2006 to assess parents’ and pediatricians’ Knowledge, Attitude and Practices (KAP) concerning the role of antibiotics in children with URTIs. A school-based stratified geographic clustering sampling was used and a pre-tested KAP questionnaire was distributed. A different questionnaire was distributed to paediatricians. Demographic factors associated with antibiotic misuse were identified by backward logistic regression analysis. The parental overall response rate was 69.3%. Parents (N = 1,462) follow pediatricians advice and rarely administer antibiotics acquired over the counter. Although a third expects an antibiotic prescription for URTI symptoms, most deny pressuring their doctors. Low parental education was the most important independent risk factor positively related to antibiotic misuse (OR = 2.88, 95%CI 2.02 to 4.12, p < 0.001). Pediatricians (N = 33) denied prescribing antibiotics after parental pressure but admit that parents ask for antibiotics and believe they expect antibiotic prescriptions even when not needed. In conclusion, Cypriotic parents trust their primary care providers. Although it appears that antibiotic misuse is not driven by parental pressure, the pediatricians’ view differs.
antibiotics; bacterial resistance; KAP study; knowledge; attitudes; practices; antibiotic overuse; antibiotic misuse; questionnaire; parents
Upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) are common in children. The cause of URTIs is usually viral, but parents' attitudes often contribute to inappropriate prescription of antibiotics, promoting antibiotic resistance. The objective of this study was to document and analyse parental beliefs on antibiotic use for children with URTIs in Greece, a country with high levels of antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance.
A knowledge-attitude-practice questionnaire was developed and distributed to Greek parents caring for children who were 5-6 years old, between January and July of the same school year. The sample of the study contained parents from all geographic areas of Greece.
The majority of Greek parents (80%) believed that UTRIs are mostly self-limited, although 74% of them expected to receive antibiotics when such a diagnosis was given. Earache was the most common reason for which parents expected antibiotics (45%). Greek parents rarely gave antibiotics to their children without medical advice (10%) and most (88%) believed that unnecessary antibiotic use drives antibiotic resistance and they were happy to receive symptomatic therapy if instructed by their physician. Almost 70% of parents confused antibiotics with other medicines used for symptomatic therapy for a child with URTI.
Greek parents have a trusted relationship with their paediatrician and rarely give antibiotics without medical advice, indicating that parents contribute less than expected to antibiotic misuse. Parents also appreciate the benign course of most URTIs and the fact that unnecessary antibiotic use is harmful. More time needs to be invested in educating mostly physicians on the potential benefit from reducing antibiotic prescribing for children with URTI.
The causality of lymphohaematopoietic cancers (LHC) is multifactorial and studies investigating the association between chemical exposure and LHC have produced variable results. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationships between exposure to pesticides and LHC in an agricultural region of Greece.
A structured questionnaire was employed in a hospital-based case control study to gather information on demographics, occupation, exposure to pesticides, agricultural practices, family and medical history and smoking. To control for confounders, backward conditional and multinomial logistic regression analyses were used. To assess the dose-response relationship between exposure and disease, the chi-square test for trend was used.
Three hundred and fifty-four (354) histologically confirmed LHC cases diagnosed from 2004 to 2006 and 455 sex- and age-matched controls were included in the study. Pesticide exposure was associated with total LHC cases (OR 1.46, 95% CI 1.05-2.04), myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) (OR 1.87, 95% CI 1.00-3.51) and leukaemia (OR 2.14, 95% CI 1.09-4.20). A dose-response pattern was observed for total LHC cases (P = 0.004), MDS (P = 0.024) and leukaemia (P = 0.002). Pesticide exposure was independently associated with total LHC cases (OR 1.41, 95% CI 1.00 - 2.00) and leukaemia (OR 2.05, 95% CI 1.02-4.12) after controlling for age, smoking and family history (cancers, LHC and immunological disorders). Smoking during application of pesticides was strongly associated with total LHC cases (OR 3.29, 95% CI 1.81-5.98), MDS (OR 3.67, 95% CI 1.18-12.11), leukaemia (OR 10.15, 95% CI 2.15-65.69) and lymphoma (OR 2.72, 95% CI 1.02-8.00). This association was even stronger for total LHC cases (OR 18.18, 95% CI 2.38-381.17) when eating simultaneously with pesticide application.
Lymphohaematopoietic cancers were associated with pesticide exposure after controlling for confounders. Smoking and eating during pesticide application were identified as modifying factors increasing the risk for LHC. The poor pesticide work practices identified during this study underline the need for educational campaigns for farmers.
Lead is a significant occupational and environmental hazard. Battery industry is one of the settings related to lead intoxication. Published information on the use of oral chelating agents for the treatment of anaemia in the context of acute lead intoxication is limited. The patient was a 33 year immigrant female worker in a battery manufacture for 3 months. She complained for malaise that has been developed over the past two weeks. Pallor of skin and conjunctiva was the only sign found in physical examination. The blood test on admission revealed normochromic anaemia. Endoscopic investigation of the gastrointestinal system was negative for bleeding. The bone marrow biopsy was unrevealing.
At baseline no attention has been paid to patient's occupational history. Afterwards the patient's occupational history has been re-evaluated and she has been screened for lead intoxication. The increased levels of the lead related biomarkers of exposure and effect confirmed the diagnosis. The patient received an oral chelating agent and an improvement in clinical picture, and levels of haematological and lead related biochemical parameters have been recorded. No side effect and no rebound effect were observed. This case report emphasizes the importance of the occupational history in the context of the differential diagnosis. Moreover, this report indicates that lead remains a significant occupational hazard especially in the small scale battery industry
Hygiene inspections on passenger ships are important for the prevention of communicable diseases. The European Union (EU) countries conduct hygiene inspections on passenger ships in order to ensure that appropriate measures have been taken to eliminate potential sources of contamination which could lead to the spread of communicable diseases. This study was implemented within the framework of the EU SHIPSAN project and it investigates the legislation applied and practices of hygiene inspections of passenger ships in the EU Member States (MS) and European Free Trade Association countries.
Two questionnaires were composed and disseminated to 28 countries. A total of 92 questionnaires were completed by competent authorities responsible for hygiene inspections (n = 48) and the creation of legislation (n = 44); response rates were 96%, and 75.9%, respectively.
Out of the 48 responding authorities responsible for hygiene inspections, a routine programme was used by 19 (39.6%) of these to conduct inspections of ships on national voyages and by 26 (54.2%) for ships on international voyages. Standardised inspection forms are used by 59.1% of the authorities. A scoring inspection system is applied by five (11.6%) of the 43 responding authorities. Environmental sampling is conducted by 84.1% of the authorities (37 out of 44). The inspection results are collected and analysed by 54.5% (24 out of 44) of the authorities, while 9 authorities (20.5%) declared that they publish the results. Inspections are conducted during outbreak investigations by 75% and 70.8% of the authorities, on ships on national and international voyages, respectively. A total of 31 (64.6%) and 39 (81.3%) authorities conducted inspections during complaint investigations on ships on international and on national voyages, respectively. Port-to-port communication between the national port authorities was reported by 35.4% (17 out of 48) of the responding authorities and 20.8% (10 out of 48) of the port authorities of other countries.
This study revealed a diversity of approaches and practices in the conduct of inspections, differences in the qualifications/knowledge/experience of inspectors, the legislation applied during inspections, and the lack of communication and training among many EU countries. An integrated European inspection programme involving competent expert inspectors in each EU Member States and special training for ship hygiene delivered to crew members and inspectors would help to minimize the risk of communicable diseases. Common inspection tools at a European level for hygiene inspection practices and port-to-port communication are needed.
Seafarers play an important role in the transmission of communicable diseases. The aim of the present study is to draw information and identify possible gaps on occupational health practices related to seafarers sailing on ships within the European Union Member States (EU MS) with focus on communicable diseases.
A structured questionnaire was sent to competent authorities from 21 EU MS. The questionnaire included questions about occupational health policies, medical certification of seafarers, communicable diseases reporting and relevant legislation. Descriptive analysis of the data was conducted by the use of Epi Info software: EU MS were categorized in four priority groups (A, B, C, D) based on: number of passenger ships visits, volume of passengers, and number of ports in each country. Moreover, EU MS were categorized to old and new, based on the date of entry in the EU.
All 21 countries with relevant competent authorities responded to the questionnaire. The existence of specific national legislation/regulation/guidelines related to vaccination of seafarers was reported by three out of the 21 (14%) responding authorities. Surveillance data of communicable diseases related to seafarers are collected and analyzed by 4 (19%) authorities. Five out of 21 of the responding countries (24%) reported that tuberculin test result is required for the issuance of seafarer's medical certificate while a great variety of medical examination is required for the issuance of this certificate among countries.
Gaps on occupational health services focused on communicable diseases related to maritime occupation have been reported by 33% of the responding countries.
Responding authorities from Group A and B had the highest percentage of reported gaps followed by groups C and D. Old MS reported a higher frequency regarding gaps on occupational health services in comparison to new MS.
Our results revealed heterogeneity regarding occupational health of maritime employees in EU MS. This work provides some evidence that further work at international and European level could be considered, in order to explore the potential for harmonized initiatives regarding occupational health of seafarers.
The aim of the study is to investigate the determinants of exposure to ETS among Greek adolescents aged 11–17 years old. The GYTS questionnaire was completed by 5,179 adolescents. About 3 in 4 responders (76.8%) were exposed to ETS at home, and 38.5% were exposed to ETS outside of the home. Gender, age group, parental and close friends smoking status were significant determinants of adolescent’s exposure to ETS. The results of the study could be valuable for the implementation of public health initiatives in Greece aiming to reduce the burden of adolescent’s exposure to passive smoking.
Environmental Tobacco Smoke; adolescents; Greece
To evaluate the inspection grading system for water sites implemented during the Athens 2004 Olympic inspection programme.
The relation between the standardised inspections results of 716 water supply systems and 289 public swimming pools, and microbiological test results of 2358 samples collected during inspections was examined.
Athens, Thessaloniki, Patra, Volos, and Iraklio, Greece. Inspections and sampling conducted during a two year period before the 2004 Olympics.
Swimming pools unsatisfactory inspection grading results were significantly associated with positive water microbiological test results (relative risk = 2.5, p<0.05). One of the six violations of swimming pools and five of the seven violations of water supply systems designated as “critical” water safety hazards in the inspection reports were significantly associated with positive microbiological test results. The receiver operating characteristic analysis identified the unsatisfactory score designed in the swimming pools standardised inspection report, as the ideal score (−15), in adequately producing positive microbiological test results (sensitivity 13.2%, specificity 89%).
This study shows the utility of standardised inspection grading systems in waterborne diseases prevention planning and implementation strategies of policy makers and regulators. Future water quality assessment should be based on the implementation of a robust standardised inspection system and reduce the need of microbiological tests.
inspection; swimming pool; Olympic Games
Childhood Meningitis continues to be an important cause of mortality in many countries. The search for rapid diagnosis of acute bacterial meningitis has lead to the further exploration of prognostic factors. This study was scheduled in an attempt to analyze various clinical symptoms as well as rapid laboratory results and provide an algorithm for the prediction of specific bacterial aetiology of childhood bacterial meningitis.
Methodology and Principal Findings
During the 32 year period, 2477 cases of probable bacterial meningitis (BM) were collected from the Meningitis Registry (MR). Analysis was performed on a total of 1331 confirmed bacterial meningitis cases of patients aged 1 month to 14 years. Data was analysed using EPI INFO (version 3.4.3-CDC-Atlanta) and SPSS (version 15.0 - Chicago) software. Statistically significant (p<0.05) variables were included in a conditional backward logistic regression model. A total of 838 (63.0%) attributed to Neisseria meningitidis, 252 (18.9%) to Haemophilus influenzae, 186 (14.0%) to Streptococcus pneumoniae and 55 (4.1%) due to other bacteria. For the diagnosis of Meningococcal Meningitis, the most significant group of diagnostic criteria identified included haemorrhagic rash (OR 22.36), absence of seizures (OR 2.51), headache (OR 1.83) and negative gram stain result (OR 1.55) with a Positive Predictive Value (PPV) of 96.4% (95%CI 87.7–99.6). For the diagnosis of Streptococcus pneumoniae, the most significant group of diagnostic criteria identified included absence of haemorrhagic rash (OR 13.62), positive gram stain (OR 2.10), coma (OR 3.11), seizures (OR 3.81) and peripheral WBC≥15000/µL (OR 2.19) with a PPV of 77.8% (95%CI 40.0–97.2). For the diagnosis of Haemophilus influenzae, the most significant group of diagnostic criteria included, absence of haemorrhagic rash (OR 13.61), age≥1year (OR 2.04), absence of headache (OR 3.01), CSF Glu<40 mg/dL (OR 3.62) and peripheral WBC<15000/µL (OR 1.74) with a PPV of 58.5% (95%CI 42.1–73.7).
The use of clinical and laboratory predictors for the assessment of the causative bacterial pathogen rather than just for predicting outcome of mortality seems to be a useful tool in the clinical management and specific treatment of BM. These findings should be further explored and studied.
The aim of our study was to investigate the prevalence of smoking in a Greek working population. A questionnaire regarding smoking habit was collected from 1,005 out of 1,200 blue and white-collar employees (response rate: 84%). The overall smoking prevalence was 48.4% and did not differ by sex, age, education, and occupation. The mean cigarette consumption per day was 25.54, with no difference observed by occupation. The above-mentioned findings, if confirmed by further research, are alarming and inconsistent with the prevalent pattern of smoking habits in the West.
smoking; Greece; workers
Upper Respiratory Infections (URIs) are common in children. The cause is usually viral, but parents' attitude often contributes to inappropriate antibiotic prescribing, promoting antibiotic resistance. The objective is to describe the process of developing a questionnaire to assess parents' Knowledge, Attitude and Practices (KAP) concerning the role of antibiotics when children suffer from URIs, as well as to evaluate the response rates, the completeness and the reliability (Cronbach) of the questionnaires. Finally, to note any limitations of the study.
Literature review, along with pre – testing yielded a questionnaire designed to assess the parents' KAP – level. A postal survey was set, in a national sample of 200 schools stratified by geographical region. The participants consist of a multistage geographical cluster sample of 8000 parents. The influence of demographic characteristics (i.e. sex, age, education) was analyzed. Cronbach index test and factor analysis were used to assess the reliability of the questionnaire.
The response rate of the parents was 69%. Islands presented the lowest response rate while in Northern Greece the response rate was the highest. Sixty – eight point nine percent of the sample returned questionnaires fully completed, while 91.5% completed 95% of the questions. Three questions out of 70 were answered in a very low rate which was associated mostly with immigrant respondents. The section describing parents' attitude toward antibiotic use was not completed as much as the sections of knowledge or practices. The questions were factor analyzed and 10 out of the 21 extracted factors were finally evaluated, reducing the number of independent variables to 46. The reliability of the questionnaire was 0.55. However, only items that increased the Cronbach when added were eventually included in the final scales raising the internal consistency to 0.68. Limitations of the study, such as the vocabulary and form of the questionnaire and the idiocycrancy of the respondents, emerged during the analysis.
The response rate and the completeness of the questionnaires were higher than expected, probably attributed to the involvement of the teachers. The study findings were satisfactory regarding the development of a reliable instrument capable to measure parents' KAP characteristics.
Legionnaires' disease continues to be a public health concern in passenger ships. This study was scheduled in order to investigate Legionella spp. colonization of water distribution systems (WDS), recreational pools, and air-conditioning systems on board ferries and cruise ships in an attempt to identify risk factors for Legionella spp. colonization associated with ship water systems and water characteristics.
Water systems of 21 ferries and 10 cruise ships including WDS, air conditioning systems and pools were investigated for the presence of Legionella spp.
The 133 samples collected from the 10 cruise ships WDS, air conditioning systems and pools were negative for Legionella spp. Of the 21 ferries WDS examined, 14 (66.7%) were legionellae-positive. A total of 276 samples were collected from WDS and air conditioning systems. Legionella spp. was isolated from 37.8% of the hot water samples and 17.5% of the cold water samples. Of the total 96 positive isolates, 87 (90.6%) were L. pneumophila. Legionella spp. colonization was positively associated with ship age. The temperature of the hot water samples was negatively associated with colonization of L. pneumophila serogroup (sg) 1 and that of L. pneumophila sg 2 to 14. Increases in pH ≥7.8 and total plate count ≥400 CFU/L, correlated positively with the counts of L. pneumophila sg 2 to 14 and Legionella spp. respectively. Free chlorine of ≥0.2 mg/L inhibited colonization of Legionella spp.
WDS of ferries can be heavily colonized by Legionella spp. and may present a risk of Legionnaires' disease for passengers and crew members. Guidelines and advising of Legionnaires' disease prevention regarding ferries are needed, in particular for operators and crew members.