A phylogeographical study of transmission patterns of enterovirus 71 to, from and within Europe suggests that virus strains are sustained by spread events across larger geographical areas.
Eurosurveillance, Volume 20, Issue 34, 27 August 2015
Table of Contents
Enterovirus 71 (EV-71) is involved in epidemics of hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) and has been reported to occur with severe neurological complications in eastern and south-east Asia. In other geographical areas, the transmission of this virus is poorly understood. We used large sequence datasets (of the gene encoding the viral protein 1, VP1) and a Bayesian phylogenetic approach to compare the molecular epidemiology and geographical spread patterns of EV-71 subgenogroups B4, B5, C1, C2, and C4 in Europe relative to other parts of the world. For the study, European countries considered were European Union (EU) Member States and Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. Viruses of the B4, B5, and C4 subgenogroups circulate mainly in eastern and south-east Asia. In Europe sporadic introductions of these subgenogroups are observed, however C1 and C2 viruses predominate. The phylogenies showed evidence of multiple events of spread involving C1 and C2 viruses within Europe since the mid-1990s. Two waves of sporadic C2 infections also occurred in 2010 and 2013. The 2007 Dutch outbreak caused by C2 and the occurrence of B5 and C4 infections in the EU between 2004 and 2013 arose while the circulation of C1 viruses was low. A transmission chain involving a C4 virus was traced from Japan to the EU and then further to Canada between 2001 and 2006. Recent events whereby spread of viruses have occurred from, to, and within Europe appear to be involved in the long term survival of EV-71, highlighting the need for enhanced surveillance of this virus.
Antimicrobial resistance is recognised as a growing problem that seriously threatens public health and requires prompt action. Concerns have therefore been raised about the potential harmful effects of making antibiotics available without prescription. Because of the very serious concerns regarding further spread of resistance, the over-the-counter (OTC) availability of antibiotics was analysed here. Topical and systemic OTC antibiotics and their indications were determined across 26 European Union (EU) countries and Norway by means of a European survey. We identified a total of 48 OTC products containing 20 different single antibiotics and three antibiotic combinations as active substances, used mainly as topical preparations in short treatment courses. Given the relevance of these medicines and the increasing risk of antimicrobial resistance, it is important to limit the availability of OTC antibiotics and to monitor their use.
Mandatory notification can be a useful tool to support infectious disease prevention and control. Guidelines are needed to help policymakers decide whether mandatory notification of an infectious disease is appropriate. We developed a decision aid, based on a range of criteria previously used in the Netherlands or in other regions to help decide whether to make a disease notifiable. Criteria were categorised as being effective, feasible and necessary with regard to the relevance of mandatory notification. Expert panels piloted the decision aid. Here we illustrate its use for three diseases (Vibrio vulnificus infection, chronic Q fever and dengue fever) for which mandatory notification was requested. For dengue fever, the expert panel advised mandatory notification; for V. vulnificus infection and chronic Q fever, the expert panel concluded that mandatory notification was not (yet) justified. Use of the decision aid led to a structured, transparent decision making process and a thorough assessment of the advantages and disadvantages of mandatory notification of these diseases. It also helped identify knowledge gaps that required further research before a decision could be made. We therefore recommend use of this aid for public health policy making.
Eurosurveillance Edition: 27 August 2015
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