Prevalence of parasites in the Baltic states Estonia Latvia and Lithuania

Epidemiology past and present

Ats Metsis, Ants Jogiste, Regina Virbaliene, andLudmila Jurevica

The history of prevalence studies of parasitic infections in the Baltic countries goes back to the nineteenth century. At the Tartu University in Estonia, at least four dissertations dedicated to the epidemiology of helminthosis have been defended during the last century (Erdmann 1833; Lieven 1834; Karamarenkow 1841; Szydlowski 1879). The data available from Szydlowski (1879) indicate the prevalence of helminthosis among the population of Tartu: Ascaris lumbricoides, 25%; Diphyllobothrium latum, 10%; Trichocephalus trichiurus, 4%; Taenia solium, 1%. The present review of parasitic infections among the inhabitants of the three Baltic states is mainly based on the analysis of the available official statistical data of case reports registered by the healthcare officials of the three countries over different periods of times:

• For Estonia, official publications of the National Board for Health Protection ( Jogiste et al. 1995, 1996) were used, where the available statistics about all communicable diseases have been generalized for the period 1919-1995.

• For Latvia, the data have been obtained from the Latvian National Environmental Health Centre and cover the period 1967-1996.

• For Lithuania, the data were made available by the Communicable Diseases Prevention and Control Centre and they cover the period from 1949 to 1996.

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