After nearly two decades without a diphtheria case in Latvia, the disease reappeared in 1986. From 1990 to 1996, case counts were highest among adults 40-49 years of age, school-aged children, and adolescents. Nonetheless, the average annualized incidence of disease was highest among infants and preschoolers. In August 1995, mass vaccination efforts began to provide adults 25-60 years of age with at least one dose of vaccine. By the end of the year, a 77% coverage rate was achieved, resulting in a decrease of reported diphtheria cases by 1996. From February to September 1997, special outreach efforts were focused on hard-to-reach populations; as a result, by June 1997, 55% of adults had received three doses of vaccine. While decreases in the incidence of and morbidity from diphtheria have occurred, additional efforts still need to be concentrated on improving vaccination coverage in adults and children <2 years of age and in reducing mortality from diphtheria. (+info)
Alcohol consumption in the Baltic Republics.
STUDY OBJECTIVES: Premature mortality associated with alcohol intake is of particular concern in several countries of the former Soviet Union. This study explored self reported alcohol consumption (beer, wine, spirits) and its determinants in the Baltic Republics. DESIGN: Cross sectional surveys conducted in 1997. SETTINGS: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. PARTICIPANTS: Representative samples of adults age 19-64 (Estonia n=2010; Latvia n=2258; Lithuania n=2139). METHODS: Between country differences in the frequency of alcohol intake were estimated. The odds of consuming alcohol weekly according to socioeconomic characteristics (age, ethnicity, rural/urban area, education, income) were calculated using multiple logistic regression analyses, adjusting for all variables simultaneously. MAIN RESULTS: The proportion of respondents consuming alcohol weekly varied by country (p<0.001) (men: Estonia=61% Latvia=41% Lithuania=55%; women: Estonia=26% Latvia=8% Lithuania=14%). Within each country, this proportion decreased with age in both sexes (p<0. 001), and increased with income in women (p<0.01). In Estonia, the odds of drinking alcohol weekly was significantly lower in respondents of Russian than of Estonian ethnicity (odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95%CI): men=0.51 (0.36, 0.71); women=0. 57 (0.39, 0.81)). In Lithuania, the odds was higher in highly educated men than in those with a low education level (OR=1.48 (1.01, 2.17)). Daily alcohol intake was higher in Estonia than in the other countries, as was the percentage of respondents drinking heavily (equivalent to 80 g/day). CONCLUSIONS: Approximately half the men and one in six women in the Baltic States reported consuming alcohol at least weekly. Age and income were the strongest and most consistent correlates of the likelihood of consuming alcohol weekly. Ethnic differences were observed only in Estonia. (+info)
Diagnostic potential of puumala virus nucleocapsid protein expressed in Drosophila melanogaster cells.
Puumala virus (PUU) nucleocapsid protein (N) was expressed in insect cells by using the Drosophila Expression System (DES; Invitrogen BV, Groningen, The Netherlands). Stable transfectants were established by hygromycin B selection and showed continuous expression of the recombinant protein (DES-PUU-N) for at least 5 months. The antigenic property of DES-PUU-N was shown to be identical to that of native PUU N when examined with a panel of hantavirus-specific monoclonal antibodies. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) for detection of human immunoglobulin M (IgM) and IgG antibodies were established by using DES-PUU-N as antigen and were compared to assays based on native N. The ELISAs were evaluated for patient diagnosis and seroepidemiological purposes with panels of sera collected from patients with hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) and from healthy blood donors. Equally high sensitivities and specificities for detection of PUU-specific IgM in acute-phase HFRS patient sera were obtained by the ELISA based on DES-PUU-N and the assay based on the native antigen. For detection of PUU-specific IgG, the ELISA based on monoclonal antibody-captured DES-PUU-N antigen showed optimal sensitivity and specificity. (+info)
Polymorphism at NRAMP1 and D2S1471 loci associated with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the role of NRAMP1 in susceptibility to juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA). METHODS: DNA from 119 JRA patients (72 pauciarticular, 47 polyarticular) and 111 healthy controls from Latvia was genotyped for a functional repeat polymorphism in the promoter of NRAMP1 and a linked (<150 kb) microsatellite D2S1471. The findings were compared with those from HLA-DQ alleles typed previously. Chi-square analyses were performed using the Mantel-Haenszel test and stratification according to pure Latvian or pure Russian descent. Haplotype analysis was performed using the Associate program to implement the expectation-maximization algorithm based on the gene-counting technique. RESULTS: Allele 3 at NRAMP1 conferred increased risk (odds ratios [ORs] 2.26, 2.31, and 2.19; P = 0.0006, 0.003, and 0.019) of disease in the JRA, pauciarticular, and polyarticular patient groups, respectively. Allele 2 conferred protection (OR 0.44, 0.43, and 0.46). Alleles at D2S1471 that conferred susceptibility (6 and 12) or protection (11) did so only when on a haplotype with alleles 3 or 2, respectively, at NRAMP1. Allele 3 at NRAMP1 was additive with HLA-DQ7 for susceptibility (OR 3.71, 3.71, and 4.02), and allele 2 at NRAMP1 was additive with HLA-DQ5 for protection (OR 0.19, 0.08, and 0.12). CONCLUSION: The NRAMP1 allele conferring susceptibility to JRA drives high levels of NRAMP1 expression, while the allele associated with protection drives low levels. These 2 alleles are inversely associated with susceptibility to infectious disease, consistent with their maintenance in populations through balancing selection. (+info)
Influence of the consumption of fatty Baltic Sea fish on plasma levels of halogenated environmental contaminants in Latvian and Swedish men.
We examined the influence of widely varied consumption of fatty fish from the Baltic Sea and of age on plasma concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polychlorobiphenylols (OH-PCBs), 2, 2-bis(4-chlorophenyl)-1,1,1-trichloroethane (4,4'-DDT), 2, 2-bis(4-chlorophenyl)-1,1-dichloroethane (4,4'-DDE), 2,2',4, 4'-tetrabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-47), hexachlorobenzene (HCB), and pentachlorophenol (PCP) in Latvian and Swedish men. Both age and fish consumption were significantly correlated with the concentrations of [sigman]PCB, [sigman]OH-PCB, 4,4'-DDE, 4,4'-DDT, and HCB. In the case of BDE-47, no significant relationship with age was observed, and fish consumption had the largest relative effect on plasma concentrations of this contaminant. This relationship may be a result of exposure to BDE-47 having been more recent than that of PCBs and DDE, or because the half-life of BDE-47 may be shorter than that of PCB and DDE. Latvian men demonstrated higher plasma levels of DDE and DDT but lower levels of [sigman]PCB and PCP than did Swedish men. The corresponding levels of HCB and BDE-47 were similar in both countries. The Spearman's rank correlation coefficient obtained by comparing the level of the metabolite 4-hydroxy-2,3,3',4',5-pentachlorobiphenyl (4-OH-CB107) to the combined levels of its parent compounds, 2,3,3',4, 4'-pentachlorobiphenyl (CB-105) and 2,3',4,4',5-pentachlorobiphenyl (CB-118), was higher than the median correlation coefficient obtained upon comparing the level of this metabolite to all other possible combinations of two PCB levels. No other increased correlation between metabolite and parent PCB concentration was observed. (+info)
The epidemiology of end-stage renal disease in the Baltic countries: an evolving picture.
INTRODUCTION: The epidemiology of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and renal replacement therapy (RRT) is under continuous evolution all over the world. Of particular interest is the development of RRT in the countries of the former Soviet bloc which underwent great political and socio-economical changes in the last decade. We report here the epidemiological analysis of ESRD and RRT in the three Baltic countries: Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia. Subjects and methods. This epidemiological report is based on data from centre questionnaires which were collected from 1996 onwards, with a response rate of 98-99%. RESULTS: The prevalence/incidence of RRT patients in 1999 were 213/99.5 p.m.p. in Lithuania, 186/45.5 p.m.p. in Estonia and 172/55.8 p.m.p. in Latvia. Haemodialysis (HD) was the most common RRT modality in Lithuania (60% of prevalent patients), but not in Estonia (29%), while in Latvia it was nearly as common as renal transplantation (45 and 46%, respectively). Home HD was not performed. The proportion treated by peritoneal dialysis (PD) was very low in Lithuania (4% of RRT patients), while the percentage was higher in Latvia (9%) and Estonia (20.4%). The percentage of patients on RRT treated by renal transplantation was high throughout, representing the main modality of treatment in Estonia (50.5% of RRT prevalent patients, 94 p.m.p.) and in Latvia (46%, 79 p.m.p.) and being high in Lithuania (36%, 77 p.m.p.). The main renal diseases leading to ESRD were glomerulonephritis, pyelonephritis and diabetes. CONCLUSION: The epidemiology of RRT in the Baltic countries is undergoing rapid changes. Transplantation has reached an impressive level. A high percentage of RRT patients live with a functioning graft. (+info)
Peripheral neuropathy in chronic occupational inorganic lead exposure: a clinical and electrophysiological study.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Traditionally the neuromuscular disorder associated with lead poisoning has been purely motor. This study assessed peripheral nerve function clinically and electrophysiologically in 46 patients with neuropathic features out of a total population of 151 workers with raised blood and/or urinary lead concentrations. RESULTS: Average duration of occupational exposure for the neuropathic group ranged from 8-47 years (mean 21.7). Their mean blood lead concentration (SD) was 63.9 (18.3) microg/dl (normal <40), urinary lead 8.6 (3.3) microg/dl (normal<5.0), urinary coproporphyrins 66.7 (38.4) microg/g creatinine (20-80), urinary aminolaevulinic acid 1.54 (0.39) mg/g creatinine (0.5-2.5). All 46 had distal paraesthesiae, pain, impaired pin prick sensation, diminished or absent ankle jerks, and autonomic vasomotor or sudomotor disturbances. Reduced vibration sensation and postural hypotension were present in all 20 studied. None of these 46 patients had motor abnormalities. Motor conduction velocity and compound muscle action potential amplitudes were normal, with marginally prolonged distal motor latencies. Sensory nerve action potential amplitudes lay at the lower end of the normal range, and the distal sensory latencies were prolonged. No direct correlation was found between the biochemical variables, and the clinical or electrophysiological data. CONCLUSIONS: One additional patient was seen with shorter term exposure to lead fumes with subacute development of colicky abdominal pain, severe limb weakness, and only minor sensory symptoms. Unlike the patients chronically exposed to lead, he had massively raised porphyrins (aminolaevulinic acid 21 mg/g creatinine, coproporphyrins 2102 microg/g creatinine). Patients with unusually long term inorganic lead exposure showed mild sensory and autonomic neuropathic features rather than the motor neuropathy classically attributed to lead toxicity. It is proposed that the traditional motor syndrome associated with subacute lead poisoning is more likely to be a form of lead induced porphyria rather than a direct neurotoxic effect of lead. (+info)
Occupational exposure to carcinogens in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Czech Republic in 1997.
OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to estimate the numbers of workers exposed to carcinogens in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the Czech Republic. METHODS: CAREX is an international information system on occupational exposure to 139 known and suspected carcinogens. It provides exposure data and estimates of the numbers of exposed workers by country, carcinogen, and industry. The CAREX method, which has been previously applied in the member states of the European Union, was applied in the present study to the exposure situation in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the Czech Republic in 1997. The preliminary estimates generated by CAREX were reviewed and revised by national experts mainly for asbestos, benzene, and lead, which were of special interest for this project. RESULTS: The numbers of workers exposed to carcinogens covered by CAREX in 1997 were about 180,000 (29% of employed persons) in Estonia, 260,000 (28% of employed persons) in Latvia, 470,000 (28% of employed persons) in Lithuania, and 1,400,000 (28% of employed persons) in the Czech Republic. The most common exposures were solar radiation (7-13% exposed at least 75% of the worktime), environmental tobacco smoke (4-5% exposed at least 75% of the worktime), wood dust (3-5% exposed), crystalline silica (2-3% exposed), diesel exhaust (2-3% exposed), radon and its decay products (2% exposed), benzene (0.9-1.7% exposed), and lead and inorganic lead compounds (0.8-1.4% exposed). Exposure to asbestos was slightly less prevalent (0.3-1.1% exposed). CONCLUSIONS: These preliminary results indicate that a substantial proportion of the workers in the studied countries were exposed to carcinogens. (+info)