It can happen: Surveillance artefacts

In 1991, 1999 and 2006, randomly selected individuals from the Danish Central Personal Register provided a serum sample. From individuals aged 30 years and above, 500 samples from each year were analysed for Campylobacter IgG, IgA and IgM antibodies using a direct ELISA method.

surveillanceWe applied a seroincidence calculator available from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control to perform a mathematical back-calculation to estimate the annual Campylobacter seroincidence in the Danish population. The estimated Campylobacter seroincidence did not differ significantly between the 1991, 1999 and 2006 studies although the reported number of culture-confirmed cases of Campylobacter infection increased 2.5 fold from 1993 to 1999 among individuals aged 30 years and above.

This suggests that Campylobacter was widely present in the Danish population before the increase in poultry-associated clinical Campylobacter infections observed from 1993 to 2001 among individuals of this age groups.

Was the increase in culture-confirmed Campylobacter infections in Denmark during the 1990s a surveillance artefact?

Euro Surveill. 2015;20(41):pii=30041

Emborg H-D, Teunis P, Simonsen J, Krogfelt KA, Jørgensen CS, Takkinen J, Mølbak Kåre