Better methods and estimates of infectious disease burden

Better estimates of infectious disease burden are needed for effective planning and prioritizing of limited public health resources. These are the conclusions of a new Policy Forum article in this week's PLoS Medicine, in which Mirjam Kretzschmar from the Centre for Infectious Disease Control, RIVM in Bilthoven, The Netherlands and colleagues describe the Burden of Communicable Diseases in Europe (BCoDE) study that uses a pathogen-based incidence approach to generate infectious disease burden estimates in Europe taking into full account all chronic and long-term sequelae that can be causally related to an infectious agent.

The authors found that this methodology has the advantage of consistently attributing the burden to its infectious cause. Although the approach also has some limitations—for example, many pathogens cause broad, nonspecific disease syndromes and it is difficult to attribute morbidity to a specific pathogen.

The researchers say that the study's findings show the need for further research in this area and that future challenges include the integration of demographic changes and infection dynamics into the methodology for estimating the burden of IDs.

More information: Kretzschmar M, Mangen M-JJ, Pinheiro P, Jahn B, Fe`vre EM, et al. (2012) New Methodology for Estimating the Burden of Infectious Diseases in Europe. PLoS Med 9(4): e1001205. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001205

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Health varies widely across different regions of Mexico

Jun 17, 2008

A new study of the burden of disease and injury across Mexico has found that the south suffers the highest rates of infectious and nutritional diseases, injuries, and non-communicable diseases. The study, by researchers at ...

Illness thrives in maturing nations

Nov 10, 2010

A three-pronged health challenge is putting the squeeze on already-scarce resources in the developing world, with heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic ailments growing. At the same time, the threat from ...

Estimating global malaria incidence

Dec 20, 2011

Estimates of malaria incidence derived from routine surveillance data suggest that 225 million episodes of malaria occurred worldwide in 2009. This estimate is lower than other published figures, such as those from the Malaria ...

Recommended for you

Sri Lanka celebrates two years without malaria

38 minutes ago

Sri Lanka has not reported a local case of malaria since October 2012, according to the Sri Lankan Anti-Malarial Campaign. If it can remain malaria-free for one more year, the country will be eligible to apply to the World ...

Poll: Many doubt hospitals can handle Ebola

4 hours ago

A new poll finds most Americans have some confidence that the U.S. health care system will prevent Ebola from spreading in this country, but they're not so sure their local hospital can safely handle a patient.

Number of Ebola cases nears 10,000

4 hours ago

The number of people with Ebola is set to hit 10,000 in West Africa, the World Health Organization said, as the scramble to find a cure gathered pace.

'Breath test' shows promise for diagnosing fungal pneumonia

5 hours ago

Many different microbes can cause pneumonia, and treatment may be delayed or off target if doctors cannot tell which bug is the culprit. A novel approach—analyzing a patient's breath for key chemical compounds made by the ...

User comments