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

Related Stories

Health varies widely across different regions of Mexico

date 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

date 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

date 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

Chikungunya kills 25 in Colombia

date 27 minutes ago

The virus chikungunya has killed 25 people in Colombia in less than a year, the National Health Institute said Monday.

Time to move Lyme Disease Awareness Month to April?

date 11 hours ago

The month of May brings many things, among them Mother's Day, tulips, and Lyme Disease Awareness campaigns. But according to Dr. Richard S. Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem ...

An explanation of wild birds' role in avian flu outbreak

date 13 hours ago

Wild birds are believed to be behind the first major widespread outbreak of bird flu in the United States. The H5N2 virus has cost Midwestern turkey and chicken producers almost 13 million birds since early March, including ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.