Surveillance and Trends of Priority Infectious Diseases in the Baltic Sea Region

  Published: 06.10.05 Updated: 06.10.2005 10:35:26

Hans Blystad, Lars Blad, Johan Giesecke, Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, Sweden, the Steering Group of the Project Building a Network for Infections Disease Surveillance in the Baltic Sea Region *

* Dr. Preben Aavitsland (Norwegian Institute of Public Health), Dr. Justus Benzler (Robert Koch Institute, Germany), Dr. Agnieszka Bielak (National Institute of Hygiene, Poland), Dr. Kuulo Kutsar (Health Protection Inspectorate, Estonia), Prof. Pauli Leinikki (National Public Health Institute, Finland), Dr. Ludmila Lialina (Saint Petersburg Pasteur Institute, Russia), Dr. Bronius Morkunas (Centre for Communicable Diseases Prevention and Control, Lithuania), Dr. Jurijs Perevoscikovs (National Environmental Health Centre, Latvia), Dr. Gudrun Sigmundsdottir (Directorate of Health, Iceland) and Dr. Else Smith (State Serum Institute, Denmark)            

This article has been prepared by the project "Building a Network for Infections Disease Surveillance in the Baltic Sea Region" by the participation of Chief Epidemiologists in the area. The project is an initiative by the Council of Baltic Sea States (CBSS) Task Force on Communicable Diseases in the Baltic Sea Region, which also includes Iceland and Norway. The objective is to give an overall view on the current epidemiological situation, trends and prevention strategies for some important infectious diseases in the Baltic Sea Region. Epidemiological data has been collected from the bulletin EpiNorth, WHO/EURO  Computerized Information System for Infectious Diseases (CISID), the European Centre for Epidemiological Monitoring of AIDS (EuroHIV), and bulletins as well as on-line information published by national institutes for infectious disease control.

Comparing epidemiological data from different national surveillance systems is not an easy task. Case definitions may vary from one country to another and data may be collected differently in different countries. Some data are case based while some other data are reported on an aggregated basis. Moreover, individuals diagnosed in prisons and in military institutions are not included in the data for the Northwest Russian region.

Incidence rates of the various diseases vary greatly within the Baltic Sea region. In the article possible causes of these differences (social and economic factors) and differences in health care systems are not discussed. Neither do we discuss the possible spread of diseases across the borders in the region.

Northwest Russia includes the following regions (with a total of approximately 13 million people): Republic of Kareliya, Republic of Komi, Arkhangelsk Oblast with Nenets autonomous Okrug, Saint Petersburg, Leningrad, Novgorod, Pskov, and Kaliningrad Oblasts. The Nordic countries include Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The Baltic countries include Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.