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1.  Occurrence of invasive pneumococcal disease and number of excess cases due to influenza 
Background
Influenza is characterized by seasonal outbreaks, often with a high rate of morbidity and mortality. It is also known to be a cause of significant amount secondary bacterial infections. Streptococcus pneumoniae is the main pathogen causing secondary bacterial pneumonia after influenza and subsequently, influenza could participate in acquiring Invasive Pneumococcal Disease (IPD).
Methods
In this study, we aim to investigate the relation between influenza and IPD by estimating the yearly excess of IPD cases due to influenza. For this purpose, we use influenza periods as an indicator for influenza activity as a risk factor in subsequent analysis. The statistical modeling has been made in two modes. First, we constructed two negative binomial regression models. For each model, we estimated the contribution of influenza in the models, and calculated number of excess number of IPD cases. Also, for each model, we investigated several lag time periods between influenza and IPD. Secondly, we constructed an "influenza free" baseline, and calculated differences in IPD data (observed cases) and baseline (expected cases), in order to estimate a yearly additional number of IPD cases due to influenza. Both modes were calculated using zero to four weeks lag time.
Results
The analysis shows a yearly increase of 72–118 IPD cases due to influenza, which corresponds to 6–10% per year or 12–20% per influenza season. Also, a lag time of one to three weeks appears to be of significant importance in the relation between IPD and influenza.
Conclusion
This epidemiological study confirms the association between influenza and IPD. Furthermore, negative binomial regression models can be used to calculate number of excess cases of IPD, related to influenza.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-58
PMCID: PMC1534049  PMID: 16549029
2.  Epidemiology of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in Sweden 2000–2003, increasing incidence and regional differences 
Background
The occurrence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has gradually become more frequent in most countries of the world. Sweden has remained one of few exceptions to the high occurrence of MRSA in many other countries. During the late 1990s, Sweden experienced a large health-care associated outbreak which with resolute efforts was overcome. Subsequently, MRSA was made a notifiable diagnosis in Sweden in 2000.
Methods
From the start of being a notifiable disease in January 2000, the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control (SMI) initiated an active surveillance of MRSA.
Results
The number of reported MRSA-cases in Sweden increased from 325 cases in 2000 to 544 in 2003, corresponding to an overall increase in incidence from 3.7 to 6.1 per 100000 inhabitants. Twenty five per cent of the cases were infected abroad. The domestic cases were predominantly found through cultures taken on clinical indication and the cases infected abroad through screening. There were considerable regional differences in MRSA-incidence and age-distribution of cases.
Conclusion
The MRSA incidence in Sweden increased over the years 2000–2003. Sweden now poises on the rim of the same development that was seen in the United Kingdom some ten years ago. A quarter of the cases were infected abroad, reflecting that international transmission is now increasingly important in a low-endemic setting. To remain in this favourable situation, stepped up measures will be needed, to identify imported cases, to control domestic outbreaks and to prevent transmission within the health-care sector.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-30
PMCID: PMC1459167  PMID: 16504036
3.  Mortality following Campylobacter infection: a registry-based linkage study 
Background
Campylobacteriosis is one of the most commonly identified causes of bacterial diarrheal disease and a common cause of gastroenteritis in travellers from developed nations. Despite the widespread occurrence, there is little information on Campylobacter mortality.
Methods
Mortality among a cohort of Campylobacter cases were compared with the general population 0–1, 1–3, 3–12 and more than 12 month after the onset of the illness. The cases were sub-grouped according to if they had been infected domestically or abroad.
Results
The standardized mortality ratio for cases infected domestically was 2.9 (95% CI: 1.9–4.0) within the first month following the illness. The risk then gradually diminished and approached 1.0 after one year or more have passed since the illness. This initial excess risk was not attributable to any particular age group (such as the oldest).
In contrast, for those infected abroad, a lower standardized mortality ratio 0.3 (95% CI: 0.04–0.8) was shown for the first month after diagnosis compared to what would be expected in the general population.
Conclusion
Infection with Campylobacter is associated with an increased short-term risk of death among those who were infected domestically. On the contrary, for those infected abroad a lower than expected risk of death was evident. We suggest that the explanation behind this is a "healthy traveler effect" among imported cases, and effects of a more frail than average population among domestic cases.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-5-70
PMCID: PMC1236927  PMID: 16162289
4.  Could flies explain the elusive epidemiology of campylobacteriosis? 
Background
Unlike salmonellosis with well-known routes of transmission, the epidemiology of campylobacteriosis is still largely unclear. Known risk factors such as ingestion of contaminated food and water, direct contact with infected animals and outdoor swimming could at most only explain half the recorded cases.
Discussion
We put forward the hypothesis that flies play a more important role in the transmission of the bacteria, than has previously been recognized. Factors supporting this hypothesis are: 1) the low infective dose of Campylobacter; 2) the ability of flies to function as mechanical vectors; 3) a ubiquitous presence of the bacteria in the environment; 4) a seasonality of the disease with summer peaks in temperate regions and a more evenly distribution over the year in the tropics; 5) an age pattern for campylobacteriosis in western travellers to the tropics suggesting other routes of transmission than food or water; and finally 6) very few family clusters.
Summary
All the evidence in favour of the fly hypothesis is circumstantial and there may be alternative explanations to each of the findings supporting the hypothesis. However, in the absence of alternative explanations that could give better clues to the evasive epidemiology of Campylobacter infection, we believe it would be unwise to rule out flies as important mechanical vectors also of this disease.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-5-11
PMCID: PMC555947  PMID: 15752427
5.  Regional risks and seasonality in travel-associated campylobacteriosis 
Backgound
The epidemiology of travel-associated campylobacteriosis is still largely unclear, and various known risk factors could only explain limited proportions of the recorded cases.
Methods
Using data from 28,704 notifications of travel-associated campylobacteriosis in Sweden 1997 to 2003 and travel patterns of 16,255 Swedish residents with overnight travel abroad in the same years, we analysed risks for travel-associated campylobacteriosis in 19 regions of the world, and looked into the seasonality of the disease in each of these regions.
Results
The highest risk was seen in returning travellers from the Indian subcontinent (1,253/100,000 travellers), and the lowest in travellers from the other Nordic countries (3/100,000 travellers). In Africa, large differences in risk between regions were noted, with 502 /100,000 in travellers from East Africa, compared to 76/100,00 from West Africa and 50/100,000 from Central Africa. A distinct seasonal pattern was seen in all temperate regions with peaks in the summer, while no or less distinct seasonality was seen in tropical regions. In travellers to the tropics, the highest risk was seen in children below the age of six.
Conclusions
Data on infections in returning travellers together with good denominator data could provide comparable data on travel risks in various regions of the world.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-4-54
PMCID: PMC539239  PMID: 15569393
6.  Implementing a public web based GIS service for feedback of surveillance data on communicable diseases in Sweden 
Background
Surveillance data allow for analysis, providing public health officials and policy-makers with a basis for long-term priorities and timely information on possible outbreaks for rapid response (data for action). In this article we describe the considerations and technology behind a newly introduced public web tool in Sweden for easy retrieval of county and national surveillance data on communicable diseases.
Methods
The web service was designed to automatically present updated surveillance statistics of some 50 statutory notifiable diseases notified to the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control (SMI). The surveillance data is based on clinical notifications from the physician having treated the patient and laboratory notifications, merged into cases using a unique personal identification number issued to all Swedish residents. The web service use notification data from 1997 onwards, stored in a relational database at the SMI.
Results
The web service presents surveillance data to the user in various ways; tabulated data containing yearly and monthly disease data per county, age and sex distribution, interactive maps illustrating the total number of cases and the incidence per county and time period, graphs showing the total number of cases per week and graphs illustrating trends in the disease data. The system design encompasses the database (storing the data), the web server (holding the web service) and an in-the-middle computer (to ensure good security standards).
Conclusions
The web service has provided the health community, the media, and the public with easy access to both timely and detailed surveillance data presented in various forms. Since it was introduced in May 2003, the system has been accessed more than 1,000,000 times, by more than 10,000 different viewers (over 12.600 unique IP-numbers).
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-4-17
PMCID: PMC441378  PMID: 15191619

Results 1-6 (6)