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Bacterial antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is among the leading global health challenges of the century. Animals and their products are known contributors to the human AMR burden, but the extent of this contribution is not clear. This systematic literature review aimed to identify studies investigating the direct impact of animal sources, defined as livestock, aquaculture, pets, and animal-based food, on human AMR. We searched four scientific databases and identified 31 relevant publications, including 12 risk assessments, 16 source attribution studies, and three other studies. Most studies were published between 2012 and 2022, and most came from Europe and North America, but we also identified five articles from South and South-East Asia. The studies differed in their methodologies, conceptual approaches (bottom-up, top-down, and complex), definitions of the AMR hazard and outcome, the number and type of sources they addressed, and the outcome measures they reported. The most frequently addressed animal source was chicken, followed by cattle and pigs. Most studies investigated bacteria–resistance combinations. Overall, studies on the direct contribution of animal sources of AMR are rare but increasing. More recent publications tailor their methodologies increasingly towards the AMR hazard as a whole, providing grounds for future research to build on.
This systematic literature review aimed to provide an overview of the characteristics and methods used in studies applying the disability-adjusted life years (DALY) concept for infectious diseases within European Union (EU)/European Economic Area (EEA)/European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries and the United Kingdom. Electronic databases and grey literature were searched for articles reporting the assessment of DALY and its components. We considered studies in which researchers performed DALY calculations using primary epidemiological data input sources. We screened 3053 studies of which 2948 were excluded and 105 studies met our inclusion criteria. Of these studies, 22 were multi-country and 83 were single-country studies, of which 46 were from the Netherlands. Food- and water-borne diseases were the most frequently studied infectious diseases. Between 2015 and 2022, the number of burden of infectious disease studies was 1.6 times higher compared to that published between 2000 and 2014. Almost all studies (97%) estimated DALYs based on the incidence- and pathogen-based approach and without social weighting functions; however, there was less methodological consensus with regards to the disability weights and life tables that were applied. The number of burden of infectious disease studies undertaken across Europe has increased over time. Development and use of guidelines will promote performing burden of infectious disease studies and facilitate comparability of the results.
Seroprevalence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) IgG antibodies, using dried blood spots, was determined in October–November 2020, among residents and staff randomly selected from 20 nursing homes (NH) geographically distributed in Flanders, Belgium. Sociodemographic and medical data [including coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) symptoms and results of RT-PCR tests] were retrieved using questionnaires. The overall seroprevalence was 17.1% [95% confidence interval (CI) 14.9–19.5], with 18.9% (95% CI 15.9–22.2) of the residents and 14.9% (95% CI 11.9–18.4) of the staff having antibodies, which was higher than the seroprevalence in blood donors. The seroprevalence in the 20 NH varied between 0.0% and 45.0%. Fourteen per cent of the staff with antibodies, reported no typical COVID-19 symptoms, while in residents, 51.0% of those with antibodies had no symptoms. The generalised mixed effect model showed a positive association between COVID-19 symptoms and positive serology, but this relation was weaker in residents compared to staff. This study shows that NH are more affected by SARS-CoV-2 than the general population. The large variation between NH, suggests that some risk factors for the spread among residents and staff may be related to the NH. Further, the results suggest that infected people, without the typical COVID-19 symptoms, might play a role in outbreaks.
In the past, food-based dietary guidelines (FBDGs) were derived nearly exclusively by using systematic reviews on diet–health relationships and translating dietary reference values for nutrient intake into foods. This approach neglects many other implications that dietary recommendations have on society, the economy and environment. In view of pressing challenges, such as climate change and the rising burden of diet-related diseases, the simultaneous integration of evidence-based findings from different dimensions into FBDGs is required. Consequently, mathematical methods and data processing are evolving as powerful tools in nutritional sciences. The possibilities and reasons for the derivation of FBDGs via mathematical approaches were the subject of a joint workshop hosted by the German Nutrition Society (DGE) and the Federation of European Nutrition Societies (FENS) in September 2019 in Bonn, Germany. European scientists were invited to discuss and exchange on the topics of mathematical optimisation for the development of FBDGs and different approaches to integrate various dimensions into FBDGs. We concluded that mathematical optimisation is a suitable tool to formulate FBDGs finding trade-offs between conflicting goals and taking several dimensions into account. We identified a lack of evidence for the extent to which constraints and weights for different dimensions are set and the challenge to compile diverse data that suit the demands of optimisation models. We also found that individualisation via mathematical optimisation is one perspective of FBDGs to increase consumer acceptance, but the application of mathematical optimisation for population-based and individual FBDGs requires more experience and evaluation for further improvements.
Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) infections pose a substantial health and economic burden worldwide. To target interventions to prevent foodborne infections, it is important to determine the types of foods leading to illness. Our objective was to determine the food sources of STEC globally and for the six World Health Organization regions. We used data from STEC outbreaks that have occurred globally to estimate source attribution fractions. We categorised foods according to their ingredients and applied a probabilistic model that used information on implicated foods for source attribution. Data were received from 27 countries covering the period between 1998 and 2017 and three regions: the Americas (AMR), Europe (EUR) and Western-Pacific (WPR). Results showed that the top foods varied across regions. The most important sources in AMR were beef (40%; 95% Uncertainty Interval 39–41%) and produce (35%; 95% UI 34–36%). In EUR, the ranking was similar though with less marked differences between sources (beef 31%; 95% UI 28–34% and produce 30%; 95% UI 27–33%). In contrast, the most common source of STEC in WPR was produce (43%; 95% UI 36–46%), followed by dairy (27%; 95% UI 27–27%). Possible explanations for regional variability include differences in food consumption and preparation, frequency of STEC contamination, the potential of regionally predominant STEC strains to cause severe illness and differences in outbreak investigation and reporting. Despite data gaps, these results provide important information to inform the development of strategies for lowering the global burden of STEC infections.
Acute gastroenteritis (AGE) remains a common condition in both low- and high-income countries. In Belgium, however, there is currently a lack of information on the societal health and economic impact of AGE. We conducted a retrospective study using mortality and cause-of-death data, hospital data, primary care data, health interview survey data and other published data. We estimated the burden of illness during a 5-year period (2010–2014) in Belgium in terms of deaths, patients admitted to hospitals, patients consulting their general practitioner (GP) and cases occurring in the community. We further quantified the health impact in terms of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) and the economic impact in terms of cost-of-illness estimates. We estimated 343 deaths, 27 707 hospitalised patients, 464 222 GP consultations and 10 058 741 episodes occurring in the community (0.91 cases/person) on average per year. AGE was associated with 11 855 DALYs per year (107 DALY per 100 000 persons). The economic burden was estimated to represent direct costs of €112 million, indirect costs of €927 million (90% of the total costs) and an average total cost of €103 per case and €94 per person. AGE results in a substantial health and economic impact in Belgium, justifying continued mitigation efforts.
A major advantage of analyses on the food group level is that the results are better interpretable compared with nutrients or complex dietary patterns. Such results are also easier to transfer into recommendations on primary prevention of non-communicable diseases. As a consequence, food-based dietary guidelines (FBDG) are now the preferred approach to guide the population regarding their dietary habits. However, such guidelines should be based on a high grade of evidence as requested in many other areas of public health practice. The most straightforward approach to generate evidence is meta-analysing published data based on a careful definition of the research question. Explicit definitions of study questions should include participants, interventions/exposure, comparisons, outcomes and study design. Such type of meta-analyses should not only focus on categorical comparisons, but also on linear and non-linear dose–response associations. Risk of bias of the individual studies of the meta-analysis should be assessed, rated and the overall credibility of the results scored (e.g. using NutriGrade). Tools such as a measurement tool to assess systematic reviews or ROBIS are available to evaluate the methodological quality/risk of bias of meta-analyses. To further evaluate the complete picture of evidence, we propose conducting network meta-analyses (NMA) of intervention trials, mostly on intermediate disease markers. To rank food groups according to their impact, disability-adjusted life years can be used for the various clinical outcomes and the overall results can be compared across the food groups. For future FBDG, we recommend to implement evidence from pairwise and NMA and to quantify the health impact of diet–disease relationships.
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