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To investigate the feasibility of using a record linkage method for identifying vaccine attributable adverse events, computerized hospital admissions and vaccination records from South East Kent district were linked and checked for accuracy. Records for 90% of children under 2 years of age admitted to hospital over a 2-year period were matched with vaccination records using a computer algorithm based on name, date of birth, sex, and post-code supplemented by visual inspection. Relative to this gold standard, matching on date of birth, sex and postcode alone had a sensitivity of 60% and an incorrect match rate of 0·2% after matches to more than one vaccine recipient were excluded. Manual checking of a sample of admissions showed that only 4% had been assigned incorrect International Classification of Disease (ICD) codes. Routine record linkage of ICD admission codes to vaccination records therefore yields data of good quality which may be used for surveillance purposes.
This report describes a double outbreak of staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome (SSSS) in which two distinct tetracycline-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus producing different exfoliative toxins were involved. In the first phase the daytime staff of the delivery unit and eczematous skin conditions in midwives were implicated as the probable source. In the second phase a source within a post-natal ward was suggested with local cross-infection. In the final phase both sources were epidemiologically linked to cases of SSSS. Because early discharge was the policy of the unit many cases presented in the community rather than in the hospital.
Confirmation of epidemiological findings was provided by additional laboratory studies. Two distinct strains of S. aureus could be defined, differing in phage-typing patterns, the exfoliative toxin produced, plasmid profile, cadmium resistance and bacteriocin production. Strict care in hand washing with a chlorhexidine-containing detergent was an important control measure.
The aim of this study was to establish the relative importance of various risk factors for toxoplasmosis in a United Kingdom antenatal population. Toxoplasma immune status was determined by an immunoassay and linked to a questionnaire exploring dietary and environmental exposure to toxoplasmosis. The overall seroprevalence found was 9·1% (172/1897). A significantly higher seroprevalence was associated with rural location of the childhood home, childhood home in Europe excluding the United Kingdom, feeding a dog raw meat and increased age. A non-significant higher prevalence of toxoplasmosis was observed in women who had lived with a cat or kitten as a child. In contrast to recent European studies only weak associations between diet and toxoplasmosis were found. Gardening activity was not associated with seropositivity but a non-significant lower seroprevalence was seen in gardeners who always wore gloves. This study confirms that toxoplasma prevalence in the United Kingdom has continued to decline since the 1960s. The increasing seroprevalence with age found in this study, highlights the continuing need to educate women of childbearing age about the risk factors for toxoplasmosis.
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