Status on some important infectious diseases in Northwest Russia and the Nordic and Baltic countries 1999-2003 - Background

  Published: 09.02.05 Updated: 27.04.2005 10:44:35
Hans Blystad 1, Lars Blad 2, Andrei Tulisov 3, Preben Aavitsland 1
1 Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology,
2 Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control (2001-2003), from Nov 2004 Head of Secretariat for Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Wellbeing,
3 State Sanitary and Epidemiological Surveillance Centre in Arkhangelsk region, Russia
Additional information provided by:

Dr. Kuulo Kutsar (Health Protection Inspectorate, Estonia), Dr. Pauli Leinikki and Dr. Markku Kuusi (National Public Health Institute, Finland), Dr. Karl Ekdahl (Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, Sweden), Dr. Dalia Rokaite (Ministery of Health, Centre for Communicable Disease Prevention and Control, Lithuania), Dr. Irina Lucenko (State Agency "Public Health Agency", Latvia), Dr. Haraldur Briem and Dr. Gudrun Sigmundsdottir (Centre for Infectious Disease Control, Directorate of Health, Iceland), Dr. Kre Mlbak (State Serum Institute, Denmark), Dr. Oleg Parkov (State Sanitary and Epidemiological Surveillance and Control Centre (SEC), St. Petersburg city), Dr. Alexander Vasilenko (St. Petersburg Pasteur Institute), Dr. Vadim Zhavoronkov (SEC, Leningrad region) Dr. Elizaveta Matsievskaya (SEC, Murmansk region), Dr. Roman Buzinov (SEC, Arkhangelsk region), Dr. Tatjana Grunicheva (SEC, Kaliningrad region) and Dr. Oleg Batmanov (SEC, Nenets autonomous area).


This paper is a follow-up of the article Surveillance and trend of priority infectious diseases in the Baltic Sea region published in the EpiNorth journal in 2002. The objective of this report is to provide an overview of the current epidem-iologic situation, trends and prevention strategies for some important infectious diseases in the Baltic Sea Region. The epidemi-ologic data presented her has been collected from the EpiNorth project for communicable disease control in Northern Europe, World Health Organisations (WHO) European centralized information system for infectious diseases (CISID), the European Centre for Epidemiological Monitoring of HIV/AIDS (EuroHIV), and public health bulletins and on-line informa-tion published by national institutes for infectious disease control in respective countries.
Comparing epidemio-logic data from national surveillance systems in different countries is a challenge because case definitions and methods of data collection often vary across countries.

For this reason, some precaution is also called for in interpreting the comparisons since the various countries and regions systems are not measuring exactly the same things in exactly the same way, it can always be argued that for some diseases the comparisons are not just. This is true, but the authors feel that making a rough comparison using the best data available is still worthwhile, since it gives at least some picture of the differences throughout the region. The trends should also be more reliable than the figures for any one given year, at least as long as the surveillance systems are stable over time.
Moreover, cases diagnosed in prisons and in military institutions are not included in the official statistics in Russia. Data from such institutions can only be provided for some infectious diseases by some Russian regions.

Demography of the Baltic Sea region

The area described in this article covers over 3 800 000 sq. km with a total population of almost 42 million inhabitants.  
Northwest Russia includes the following regions (with a total of approximately 14.5 million people): Republic of Karelia, Republic of Komi, City of Saint Petersburg, Archangelsk Oblast (county) with Nenets autonomous Okrug (area), Murmansk, Leningrad Novgorod, Pskov, Vologda and Kaliningrad Oblast. Surveillance data presented in this paper includes all these regions, except Komi, Pskov, Novgorod and Vologda regions.
The Nordic countries include Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The Baltic countries include Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Figure 1. Countries / regions and population in the Baltic Sea Region 2003

HIV infection
Hepatitis B
Hepatitis C
Hepatitis A
Salmonellosis (excluding typhoid and paratyphoid fevers)
Pertussis (whooping cough)
Tick-borne encephalitis
Meningococcal disease