- Mobile Air Quality Studies (MAQS) - an international project (2010)
- Due to an increasing awareness of the potential hazardousness of air pollutants, new laws, rules and guidelines have recently been implemented globally. In this respect, numerous studies have addressed traffic-related exposure to particulate matter using stationary technology so far. By contrast, only few studies used the advanced technology of mobile exposure analysis. The Mobile Air Quality Study (MAQS) addresses the issue of air pollutant exposure by combining advanced high-granularity spatial-temporal analysis with vehicle-mounted, person-mounted and roadside sensors. The MAQS-platform will be used by international collaborators in order 1) to assess air pollutant exposure in relation to road structure, 2) to assess air pollutant exposure in relation to traffic density, 3) to assess air pollutant exposure in relation to weather conditions, 4) to compare exposure within vehicles between front and back seat (children) positions, and 5) to evaluate "traffic zone"- exposure in relation to non-"traffic zone"-exposure. Primarily, the MAQS-platform will focus on particulate matter. With the establishment of advanced mobile analysis tools, it is planed to extend the analysis to other pollutants including including NO2, SO2, nanoparticles, and ozone.
- Reliability of medical students' vaccination histories for immunisable diseases (2008)
- Background Medical students come into contact with infectious diseases early on their career. Immunity against vaccine-preventable diseases is therefore vital for both medical students and the patients with whom they come into contact. Methods The purpose of this study was to compare the medical history and serological status of selected vaccine-preventable diseases of medical students in Germany. Results The overall correlation between medical history statements and serological findings among the 150 students studied was 86.7 %, 66.7 %, 78 % and 93.3 % for measles, mumps, rubella and varicella, conditional on sufficient immunity being achieved after one vaccination. Conclusions Although 81.2 % of the students medical history data correlated with serological findings, significant gaps in immunity were found. Our findings indicate that medical history alone is not a reliable screening tool for immunity against the vaccine-preventable diseases studied.
- A common HLA-DPA1 variant is associated with hepatitis B virus infection but fails to distinguish active from inactive Caucasian carriers (2012)
- Background and Aims: Chronic infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a major health issue worldwide. Recently, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DP locus were identified to be associated with HBV infection in Asian populations. Most significant associations were observed for the A alleles of HLA-DPA1 rs3077 and HLA-DPB1 rs9277535, which conferred a decreased risk for HBV infection. We assessed the implications of these variants for HBV infection in Caucasians. Methods: Two HLA-DP gene variants (rs3077 and rs9277535) were analyzed for associations with persistent HBV infection and with different clinical outcomes, i.e., inactive HBsAg carrier status versus progressive chronic HBV (CHB) infection in Caucasian patients (n = 201) and HBsAg negative controls (n = 235). Results: The HLA-DPA1 rs3077 C allele was significantly associated with HBV infection (odds ratio, OR = 5.1, 95% confidence interval, CI: 1.9–13.7; p = 0.00093). However, no significant association was seen for rs3077 with progressive CHB infection versus inactive HBsAg carrier status (OR = 2.7, 95% CI: 0.6–11.1; p = 0.31). In contrast, HLA-DPB1 rs9277535 was not associated with HBV infection in Caucasians (OR = 0.8, 95% CI: 0.4–1.9; p = 1). Conclusions: A highly significant association of HLA-DPA1 rs3077 with HBV infection was observed in Caucasians. However, as a differentiation between different clinical courses of HBV infection was not possible, knowledge of the HLA-DPA1 genotype cannot be translated into personalized anti-HBV therapy approaches.
- Influenza A (H1N1) 2009: Impact on Frankfurt in due consideration of health care and public health (2010)
- Background: In April 2009 a novel influenza A H1N1/2009 virus was identified in Mexico and in the United States which quickly spread around the world. Most of the countries established infection surveillance systems in order to track the number of (laboratory-confirmed) H1N1 cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Methods: The impact of the emergence of the novel pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus on Frankfurt was statistically evaluated by the Health Protection Authority, City of Frankfurt am Main. Vaccination rates of the health care workers (HCWs) of the University Hospital Frankfurt were measured by the Occupational Health Service. Results: Although the virulence of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 seems to be comparable with seasonal influenza, a major patient load and wave of hospital admissions occurred in the summer of 2009. Even though the 2009 vaccination rate of the University Hospital Frankfurt (seasonal influenza [40.5%], swine flu [36.3%]) is better than the average annual uptake of influenza vaccine in the German health care system (approximately 22% for seasonal and 15% for swine flu), vaccination levels remain insufficient. However, physicians were significantly (p < 0.001) more likely to have been vaccinated against swine flu and seasonal influenza than nurses. Conclusions: The outbreak of the pandemic (H1N1) 2009 in April 2009 provided a major challenge to health services around the world. Nosocomial transmission of H1N1/2009 has been documented. Present experience should be used to improve pandemic preparedness plans and vaccination programs ought to target as many HCWs as possible.
- Self-reported adverse reactions in 4337 healthcare workers immunizations against novel H1N1 influenza (2011)
- Purpose: The use of the 2009 H1N1 vaccine has generated much debate concerning safety issues among the general population and physicians. Therefore, we investigated the safety of an inactivated monovalent H1N1 pandemic influenza vaccine Methods: We focused on the H1N1 pandemic influenza vaccine Pandemrix(R) and applied a self reporting questionnaire in a population of healthcare workers (HCWs) and medical students at a major university hospital. Results: In total, 4337 individuals were vaccinated, consisting of 3808 HCWs and 529 medical students. The vaccination rate of the employees was higher than 40%.The majority of individuals were vaccinated in November 2009. In total, 291 of the 4337 vaccinations were reported to lead to one or more adverse reactions (6.7%). Local reactions were reported in 3.8%, myalgia and arthralgia in 3.7%, fatigue in 3.7%, headache in 3.1%. Conclusions: Our data together with available data from several national and international institutions points to a safe pandemic influenza vaccine.
- "I don't see an added value for myself": a qualitative study exploring the social cognitive variables associated with influenza vaccination of Belgian, Dutch and German healthcare personnel (2014)
- BACKGROUND: Health Authorities recommend influenza vaccination of healthcare personnel (HCP) to decrease the transmission of influenza to vulnerable patients. Recent studies have almost exclusively used quantitative questionnaires in order to identify determinants of vaccination behaviour. Interviews enable HCP to express freely why they think they are (not) willing to get vaccinated against influenza. METHODS: By means of semi-structured one-on-one interviews with 123 Belgian, Dutch and German HCP, reasons for and against vaccination, experiences with influenza vaccination, intention to get vaccinated and possible barriers, as well as willingness to advice influenza vaccination to patients were investigated. Data were processed with QSR NVivo 8.0 and analysed using a combination of a deductive and a general inductive approach. RESULTS: Across countries, self-protection, patient protection, and protection of family members were reported as most important reasons to get vaccinated against influenza. Reasons to not get vaccinated against influenza were fear of side effects caused by the vaccine, a low risk-perception, the disbelief in the effectiveness of influenza vaccination, organizational barriers, misconceptions, and undefined negative emotions. CONCLUSIONS: The social cognitive variables underlying the decision of HCP to get vaccinated against influenza (or not) seem to be similar in Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands, even though some differences surfaced. A quantitative investigation of those social cognitive variables is needed in order to determine the importance of the social cognitive variables in explaining the intention to get vaccinated and the importance of the similarities and differences between countries that have been found in this study.