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Disease burden of infectious diseases in Europe: a pilot study

Ziektelast van infectieziekten in Europa: een pilot studie


Consequences of different infectious diseases cannot be adequately compared with each other on the basis of the number of patients or mortality data only. It is better to combine all health effects and express the total impact as disease burden, which also takes duration and severity of diseases into account. Information on disease burden also helps to set priorities in European policy for infectious disease control. In a pilot study, the disease burden of seven infectious diseases in Europe has been estimated. In spite of various limitations with regard to availability and quality of data, it was found that HIV infection, tuberculosis and influenza cause, among the selected infectious diseases, the highest disease burden in Europe. Foodborne diseases caused by the bacteria Campylobacter spp., enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli and Salmonella spp. and, in particular, measles, are associated with a lower burden. The current disease burden of infectious diseases reflects the balance between the disease threats and the effectiveness of preventive strategies. A low burden stresses the need for the continued support of these strategies, while a high burden indicates the need for additional interventions. Based on this pilot, the RIVM recommends that a full burden of disease study - combining several methods of investigation - be conducted in cooperation with different European institutes.

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