• Changes in risk perceptions during the 2014 Ebola virus disease epidemic: results of two consecutive surveys among the general population in Lower Saxony, Germany.

      Obenauer, Julie; Rübsamen, Nicole; Garsevanidze, Ekaterine; Karch, André; Mikolajczyk, Rafael T; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-05-15)
      The Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak 2014 received extensive news media coverage, which faded out before the outbreak ended. News media coverage impacts risk perception; it is, however, unclear if the components of risk perception (affective and cognitive responses) change differently over time. In an online panel, we asked participants (n = 1376) about EVD risk perceptions at the epidemic's peak (November 2014) and after news media coverage faded out (August 2015). We investigated worry (affective response), perceived likelihood of infection, perceived personal impact, and coping efficacy (dimensions of cognitive response), and knowledge about transmission. Differences between the surveys with respect to manifestations of affective and cognitive dimensions were tested using the Wilcoxon signed-rank test. The association between individual change in knowledge and worries about EVD in the first survey was investigated using linear regression. In November 2014, the survey was filled in by 974 participants. Ten months later, 662 of them were still members of the online panel and were invited to the follow-up survey. Among the 620 respondents, affective response decreased between the surveys. Knowledge about EVD also decreased; however, participants worried about EVD in 2014 had increased knowledge in 2015. Perceived likelihood of infection decreased over time, while perceived personal impact and coping efficacy did not. Risk communication appealing to cognitive reactions by informing clearly on the risk of infection in unaffected countries may decrease inappropriate behaviors.
    • Type A viral hepatitis: A summary and update on the molecular virology, epidemiology, pathogenesis and prevention.

      Lemon, Stanley M; Ott, Jördis J; Van Damme, Pierre; Shouval, Daniel; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Elsevier, 2017-09-05)
      Although epidemic jaundice was well known to physicians of antiquity, it is only in recent years that medical science has begun to unravel the origins of hepatitis A virus (HAV) and the unique pathobiology underlying acute hepatitis A in humans. Improvements in sanitation and the successful development of highly efficacious vaccines have markedly reduced the worldwide prevalence and incidence of this enterically-transmitted infection over the past quarter century, yet the virus persists in vulnerable populations and remains a common cause of food-borne disease outbreaks in economically-advantaged societies. Reductions in the prevalence of HAV have led to increases in the median age at which infection occurs, often resulting in more severe disease in affected persons and paradoxical increases in disease burden in some developing nations. Here, we summarize recent advances in the molecular virology of HAV, an atypical member of the Picornaviridae family, survey what is known of the pathogenesis of hepatitis A in humans and the host-pathogen interactions that typify the infection, and review medical and public health aspects of immunisation and disease prevention.