• Antibiotic use on paediatric inpatients in a teaching hospital in the Gambia, a retrospective study.

      Chaw, Pa Saidou; Schlinkmann, Kristin Maria; Raupach-Rosin, Heike; Karch, André; Pletz, Mathias W; Huebner, Johannes; Nyan, Ousman; Mikolajczyk, Rafael; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-01-01)
      Antibiotics are useful but increasing resistance is a major problem. Our objectives were to assess antibiotic use and microbiology testing in hospitalized children in the Gambia. We conducted a retrospective analysis of paediatric inpatient data at The Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital in Banjul, The Gambia. We extracted relevant data from the admission folders of all patients (aged > 28 days to 15 years) admitted in 2015 (January-December), who received at least one antibiotic for 24 h. We also reviewed the microbiology laboratory record book to obtain separate data for the bacterial isolates and resistance test results of all the paediatric inpatients during the study period. Over half of the admitted patients received at least one antibiotic during admission (496/917) with a total consumption of 670.7 Days of Antibiotic Therapy/1000 Patient-Days. The clinical diagnoses included an infectious disease for 398/496, 80.2% of the patients on antibiotics, pneumonia being the most common (184/496, 37.1%). There were 51 clinically relevant bacterial isolates, More than half of the admitted patients received antibiotics. The reported antibiotic resistance was highest to the most commonly used antibiotics such as ampicillin. Efforts to maximize definitive antibiotic indication such as microbiological testing prior to start of antibiotics should be encouraged where possible for a more rational antibiotic use.
    • Bacterial community structure and effects of picornavirus infection on the anterior nares microbiome in early childhood.

      Caputo, Mahrrouz; Zoch-Lesniak, Beate; Karch, André; Vital, Marius; Meyer, Frederic; Klawonn, Frank; Baillot, Armin; Pieper, Dietmar H; Mikolajczyk, Rafael T; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (BMC, 2019-01-07)
      Little is known regarding the nasal microbiome in early childhood and the impact of respiratory infection on the infants' nasal microbial composition. Here we investigated the temporal dynamics and diversity of the bacterial composition in the anterior nares in children attending daycare centers. For our investigation, we considered 76 parental-taken nasal swabs of 26 children (aged 13 to 36 months) collected over a study period of 3 months. Overall, there was no significant age-specific effect or seasonal shift in the nasal bacterial community structure. In a sub-sample of 14 healthy children the relative abundance of individual taxa as well as the overall diversity did not reveal relevant changes, indicating a stable community structure over the entire study period. Moreover, the nasal bacterial profiles clustered subject-specific with Bray-Curtis similarities being elevated in intra-subject calculations compared to between-subject calculations. The remaining subset of 12 children provided samples taken during picornavirus infection (PVI) and either before or after a PVI. We detected an association between the relative abundance of members of the genus Streptococcus and PV when comparing both (i) samples taken during PVI with samples out of 14 healthy children and (ii) samples taken during PVI with samples taken after PVI within the same individual. In addition, the diversity was higher during PVI than after infection. Our findings suggest that a personalized structure of the nasal bacterial community is established already in early childhood and could be detected over a timeframe of 3 months. Studies following infants over a longer time with frequent swab sampling would allow investigating whether certain parameter of the bacterial community, such as the temporal variability, could be related to viral infection.
    • Cerebrospinal fluid neurofilament light levels in neurodegenerative dementia: Evaluation of diagnostic accuracy in the differential diagnosis of prion diseases.

      Zerr, Inga; Schmitz, Matthias; Karch, André; Villar-Piqué, Anna; Kanata, Eirini; Golanska, Ewa; Díaz-Lucena, Daniela; Karsanidou, Aikaterini; Hermann, Peter; Knipper, Tobias; et al. (2018-02-03)
      Neurofilament light (NFL) levels in the cerebrospinal fluid are increased in several neurodegenerative dementias. However, their diagnostic accuracy in the differential diagnostic context is unknown.
    • Cerebrospinal Fluid Total Prion Protein in the Spectrum of Prion Diseases.

      Villar-Piqué, Anna; Schmitz, Matthias; Lachmann, Ingolf; Karch, André; Calero, Olga; Stehmann, Christiane; Sarros, Shannon; Ladogana, Anna; Poleggi, Anna; Santana, Isabel; et al. (2018-07-30)
      Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) total prion protein (t-PrP) is decreased in sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD). However, data on the comparative signatures of t-PrP across the spectrum of prion diseases, longitudinal changes during disease progression, and levels in pre-clinical cases are scarce. T-PrP was quantified in neurological diseases (ND, n = 147) and in prion diseases from different aetiologies including sporadic (sCJD, n = 193), iatrogenic (iCJD, n = 12) and genetic (n = 209) forms. T-PrP was also measured in serial lumbar punctures obtained from sCJD cases at different symptomatic disease stages, and in asymptomatic prion protein gene (PRNP) mutation carriers. Compared to ND, t-PrP concentrations were significantly decreased in sCJD, iCJD and in genetic prion diseases associated with the three most common mutations E200K, V210I (associated with genetic CJD) and D178N-129M (associated with fatal familial insomnia). In contrast, t-PrP concentrations in P102L mutants (associated with the Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker syndrome) remained unaltered. In serial lumbar punctures obtained at different disease stages of sCJD patients, t-PrP concentrations inversely correlated with disease progression. Decreased mean t-PrP values were detected in asymptomatic D178-129M mutant carriers, but not in E200K and P102L carriers. The presence of low CSF t-PrP is common to all types of prion diseases regardless of their aetiology albeit with mutation-specific exceptions in a minority of genetic cases. In some genetic prion disease, decreased levels are already detected at pre-clinical stages and diminish in parallel with disease progression. Our data indicate that CSF t-PrP concentrations may have a role as a pre-clinical or early symptomatic diagnostic biomarker in prion diseases as well as in the evaluation of therapeutic interventions.
    • 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.
    • Cohort Profile: The LoewenKIDS Study - life-course perspective on infections, the microbiome and the development of the immune system in early childhood.

      Gottschick, Cornelia; Raupach-Rosin, Heike; Langer, Susan; Hassan, Lamiaa; Horn, Johannes; Dorendorf, Evelyn; Caputo, Mahrrouz; Bittner, Martina; Beier, Lea; Rübsamen, Nicole; et al. (Oxford Academic, 2019-02-27)
      [Noabstract available]
    • Colonic Butyrate-Producing Communities in Humans: an Overview Using Omics Data.

      Vital, Marius; Karch, André; Pieper, Dietmar H.; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-01-18)
      Given the key role of butyrate for host health, understanding the ecology of intestinal butyrate-producing communities is a top priority for gut microbiota research. To this end, we performed a pooled analysis on 2,387 metagenomic/transcriptomic samples from 15 publicly available data sets that originated from three continents and encompassed eight diseases as well as specific interventions. For analyses, a gene catalogue was constructed from gene-targeted assemblies of all genes from butyrate synthesis pathways of all samples and from an updated reference database derived from genome screenings. We demonstrate that butyrate producers establish themselves within the first year of life and display high abundances (>20% of total bacterial community) in adults regardless of origin. Various bacteria form this functional group, exhibiting a biochemical diversity including different pathways and terminal enzymes, where one carbohydrate-fueled pathway was dominant with butyryl coenzyme A (CoA):acetate CoA transferase as the main terminal enzyme. Subjects displayed a high richness of butyrate producers, and 17 taxa, primarily members of the Lachnospiraceae and Ruminococcaceae along with some Bacteroidetes, were detected in >70% of individuals, encompassing ~85% of the total butyrate-producing potential. Most of these key taxa were also found to express genes for butyrate formation, indicating that butyrate producers occupy various niches in the gut ecosystem, concurrently synthesizing that compound. Furthermore, results from longitudinal analyses propose that diversity supports functional stability during ordinary life disturbances and during interventions such as antibiotic treatment. A reduction of the butyrate-producing potential along with community alterations was detected in various diseases, where patients suffering from cardiometabolic disorders were particularly affected. IMPORTANCE Studies focusing on taxonomic compositions of the gut microbiota are plentiful, whereas its functional capabilities are still poorly understood. Specific key functions deserve detailed investigations, as they regulate microbiota-host interactions and promote host health and disease. The production of butyrate is among the top targets since depletion of this microbe-derived metabolite is linked to several emerging noncommunicable diseases and was shown to facilitate establishment of enteric pathogens by disrupting colonization resistance. In this study, we established a workflow to investigate in detail the composition of the polyphyletic butyrate-producing community from omics data extracting its biochemical and taxonomic diversity. By combining information from various publicly available data sets, we identified universal ecological key features of this functional group and shed light on its role in health and disease. Our results will assist the development of precision medicine to combat functional dysbiosis.
    • Comparison of response patterns in different survey designs: a longitudinal panel with mixed-mode and online-only design.

      Rübsamen, Nicole; Akmatov, Manas K; Castell, Stefanie; Karch, André; Mikolajczyk, Rafael T; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017)
      Increasing availability of the Internet allows using only online data collection for more epidemiological studies. We compare response patterns in a population-based health survey using two survey designs: mixed-mode (choice between paper-and-pencil and online questionnaires) and online-only design (without choice).
    • Development and external validation of a clinical prediction model for MRSA carriage at hospital admission in Southeast Lower Saxony, Germany.

      Raschpichler, Gabriele; Raupach-Rosin, Heike; Akmatov, Manas K; Castell, Stefanie; Rübsamen, Nicole; Feier, Birgit; Szkopek, Sebastian; Bautsch, Wilfried; Mikolajczyk, Rafael; Karch, André; et al. (Nature publishing group (NPG), 2020-10-22)
      In countries with low endemic Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) prevalence, identification of risk groups at hospital admission is considered more cost-effective than universal MRSA screening. Predictive statistical models support the selection of suitable stratification factors for effective screening programs. Currently, there are no universal guidelines in Germany for MRSA screening. Instead, a list of criteria is available from the Commission for Hospital Hygiene and Infection Prevention (KRINKO) based on which local strategies should be adopted. We developed and externally validated a model for individual prediction of MRSA carriage at hospital admission in the region of Southeast Lower Saxony based on two prospective studies with universal screening in Braunschweig (n = 2065) and Wolfsburg (n = 461). Logistic regression was used for model development. The final model (simplified to an unweighted score) included history of MRSA carriage, care dependency and cancer treatment. In the external validation dataset, the score showed a sensitivity of 78.4% (95% CI: 64.7-88.7%), and a specificity of 70.3% (95% CI: 65.0-75.2%). Of all admitted patients, 25.4% had to be screened if the score was applied. A model based on KRINKO criteria showed similar sensitivity but lower specificity, leading to a considerably higher proportion of patients to be screened (49.5%).
    • Development and validation of a diagnostic model for early differentiation of sepsis and non-infectious SIRS in critically ill children - a data-driven approach using machine-learning algorithms.

      Lamping, Florian; Jack, Thomas; Rübsamen, Nicole; Sasse, Michael; Beerbaum, Philipp; Mikolajczyk, Rafael T; Boehne, Martin; Karch, André; HZI, Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig Germany. (BioMedCentral, 2018-03-15)
      BACKGROUND: Since early antimicrobial therapy is mandatory in septic patients, immediate diagnosis and distinction from non-infectious SIRS is essential but hampered by the similarity of symptoms between both entities. We aimed to develop a diagnostic model for differentiation of sepsis and non-infectious SIRS in critically ill children based on routinely available parameters (baseline characteristics, clinical/laboratory parameters, technical/medical support). METHODS: This is a secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial conducted at a German tertiary-care pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). Two hundred thirty-eight cases of non-infectious SIRS and 58 cases of sepsis (as defined by IPSCC criteria) were included. We applied a Random Forest approach to identify the best set of predictors out of 44 variables measured at the day of onset of the disease. The developed diagnostic model was validated in a temporal split-sample approach. RESULTS: A model including four clinical (length of PICU stay until onset of non-infectious SIRS/sepsis, central line, core temperature, number of non-infectious SIRS/sepsis episodes prior to diagnosis) and four laboratory parameters (interleukin-6, platelet count, procalcitonin, CRP) was identified in the training dataset. Validation in the test dataset revealed an AUC of 0.78 (95% CI: 0.70-0.87). Our model was superior to previously proposed biomarkers such as CRP, interleukin-6, procalcitonin or a combination of CRP and procalcitonin (maximum AUC = 0.63; 95% CI: 0.52-0.74). When aiming at a complete identification of sepsis cases (100%; 95% CI: 87-100%), 28% (95% CI: 20-38%) of non-infectious SIRS cases were assorted correctly. CONCLUSIONS: Our approach allows early recognition of sepsis with an accuracy superior to previously described biomarkers, and could potentially reduce antibiotic use by 30% in non-infectious SIRS cases. External validation studies are necessary to confirm the generalizability of our approach across populations and treatment practices.
    • Effects of pathogen dependency in a multi-pathogen infectious disease system including population level heterogeneity - a simulation study.

      Bakuli, Abhishek; Klawonn, Frank; Karch, André; Mikolajczyk, Rafael T; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung, GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-12-13)
      Increased computational resources have made individual based models popular for modelling epidemics. They have the advantage of incorporating heterogeneous features, including realistic population structures (like e.g. households). Existing stochastic simulation studies of epidemics, however, have been developed mainly for incorporating single pathogen scenarios although the effect of different pathogens might directly or indirectly (e.g. via contact reductions) effect the spread of each pathogen. The goal of this work was to simulate a stochastic agent based system incorporating the effect of multiple pathogens, accounting for the household based transmission process and the dependency among pathogens.
    • Exploring beyond clinical routine SARS-CoV-2 serology using MultiCoV-Ab to evaluate endemic coronavirus cross-reactivity.

      Becker, Matthias; Strengert, Monika; Junker, Daniel; Kaiser, Philipp D; Kerrinnes, Tobias; Traenkle, Bjoern; Dinter, Heiko; Häring, Julia; Ghozzi, Stéphane; Zeck, Anne; et al. (NPG, 2021-02-19)
      The humoral immune response to SARS-CoV-2 is a benchmark for immunity and detailed analysis is required to understand the manifestation and progression of COVID-19, monitor seroconversion within the general population, and support vaccine development. The majority of currently available commercial serological assays only quantify the SARS-CoV-2 antibody response against individual antigens, limiting our understanding of the immune response. To overcome this, we have developed a multiplex immunoassay (MultiCoV-Ab) including spike and nucleocapsid proteins of SARS-CoV-2 and the endemic human coronaviruses. Compared to three broadly used commercial in vitro diagnostic tests, our MultiCoV-Ab achieves a higher sensitivity and specificity when analyzing a well-characterized sample set of SARS-CoV-2 infected and uninfected individuals. We find a high response against endemic coronaviruses in our sample set, but no consistent cross-reactive IgG response patterns against SARS-CoV-2. Here we show a robust, high-content-enabled, antigen-saving multiplex assay suited to both monitoring vaccination studies and facilitating epidemiologic screenings for humoral immunity towards pandemic and endemic coronaviruses.
    • Factors associated with attrition in a longitudinal online study: results from the HaBIDS panel.

      Rübsamen, Nicole; Akmatov, Manas K; Castell, Stefanie; Karch, André; Mikolajczyk, Rafael T; Hemholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-08-31)
      Knowing about predictors of attrition in a panel is important to initiate early measures against loss of participants. We investigated attrition in both early and late phase of an online panel with special focus on preferences regarding mode of participation.
    • Global, regional, and national burden of neurological disorders during 1990-2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015.

      GBD 2015 Neurological Disorders Collaborator Group.; Karch, André; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-11-01)
      BACKGROUND: Comparable data on the global and country-specific burden of neurological disorders and their trends are crucial for health-care planning and resource allocation. The Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors (GBD) Study provides such information but does not routinely aggregate results that are of interest to clinicians specialising in neurological conditions. In this systematic analysis, we quantified the global disease burden due to neurological disorders in 2015 and its relationship with country development level. METHODS: We estimated global and country-specific prevalence, mortality, disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs), years of life lost (YLLs), and years lived with disability (YLDs) for various neurological disorders that in the GBD classification have been previously spread across multiple disease groupings. The more inclusive grouping of neurological disorders included stroke, meningitis, encephalitis, tetanus, Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, motor neuron disease, migraine, tension-type headache, medication overuse headache, brain and nervous system cancers, and a residual category of other neurological disorders. We also analysed results based on the Socio-demographic Index (SDI), a compound measure of income per capita, education, and fertility, to identify patterns associated with development and how countries fare against expected outcomes relative to their level of development. FINDINGS: Neurological disorders ranked as the leading cause group of DALYs in 2015 (250·7 [95% uncertainty interval (UI) 229·1 to 274·7] million, comprising 10·2% of global DALYs) and the second-leading cause group of deaths (9·4 [9·1 to 9·7] million], comprising 16·8% of global deaths). The most prevalent neurological disorders were tension-type headache (1505·9 [UI 1337·3 to 1681·6 million cases]), migraine (958·8 [872·1 to 1055·6] million), medication overuse headache (58·5 [50·8 to 67·4 million]), and Alzheimer's disease and other dementias (46·0 [40·2 to 52·7 million]). Between 1990 and 2015, the number of deaths from neurological disorders increased by 36·7%, and the number of DALYs by 7·4%. These increases occurred despite decreases in age-standardised rates of death and DALYs of 26·1% and 29·7%, respectively; stroke and communicable neurological disorders were responsible for most of these decreases. Communicable neurological disorders were the largest cause of DALYs in countries with low SDI. Stroke rates were highest at middle levels of SDI and lowest at the highest SDI. Most of the changes in DALY rates of neurological disorders with development were driven by changes in YLLs. INTERPRETATION: Neurological disorders are an important cause of disability and death worldwide. Globally, the burden of neurological disorders has increased substantially over the past 25 years because of expanding population numbers and ageing, despite substantial decreases in mortality rates from stroke and communicable neurological disorders. The number of patients who will need care by clinicians with expertise in neurological conditions will continue to grow in coming decades. Policy makers and health-care providers should be aware of these trends to provide adequate services.
    • Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 328 diseases and injuries for 195 countries, 1990-2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016.

      GBD 2016 Disease and Injury Incidence and Prevalence Collaborators.; Karch, André; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-09-16)
    • Global, regional, and national under-5 mortality, adult mortality, age-specific mortality, and life expectancy, 1970-2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016.

      GBD 2016 Mortality Collaborators.; Karch, André; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-09-16)
    • Guidelines and recommendations for ensuring Good Epidemiological Practice (GEP): a guideline developed by the German Society for Epidemiology.

      Hoffmann, Wolfgang; Latza, Ute; Baumeister, Sebastian E; Brünger, Martin; Buttmann-Schweiger, Nina; Hardt, Juliane; Hoffmann, Verena; Karch, André; Richter, Adrian; Schmidt, Carsten Oliver; et al. (Springer, 2019-03-01)
      Objective To revise the German guidelines and recommendations for ensuring Good Epidemiological Practice (GEP) that were developed in 1999 by the German Society for Epidemiology (DGEpi), evaluated and revised in 2004, supplemented in 2008, and updated in 2014. Methods The executive board of the DGEpi tasked the third revision of the GEP. The revision was arrived as a result of a consensus-building process by a working group of the DGEpi in collaboration with other working groups of the DGEpi and with the German Association for Medical Informatics, Biometry and Epidemiology, the German Society of Social Medicine and Prevention (DGSMP), the German Region of the International Biometric Society (IBS-DR), the German Technology, Methods and Infrastructure for Networked Medical Research (TMF), and the German Network for Health Services Research (DNVF). The GEP also refers to related German Good Practice documents (e.g. Health Reporting, Cartographical Practice in the Healthcare System, Secondary Data Analysis). Results The working group modified the 11 guidelines (after revision: 1 ethics, 2 research question, 3 study protocol and manual of operations, 4 data protection, 5 sample banks, 6 quality assurance, 7 data storage and documentation, 8 analysis of epidemiological data, 9 contractual framework, 10 interpretation and scientific publication, 11 communication and public health) and modified and supplemented the related recommendations. All participating scientific professional associations adopted the revised GEP. Conclusions The revised GEP are addressed to everyone involved in the planning, preparation, execution, analysis, and evaluation of epidemiological research, as well as research institutes and funding bodies.
    • Herpes zoster incidence in Germany - an indirect validation study for self-reported disease data from pretest studies of the population-based German National Cohort.

      Caputo, Mahrrouz; Horn, Johannes; Karch, André; Akmatov, Manas K; Becher, Heiko; Braun, Bettina; Brenner, Hermann; Castell, Stefanie; Fischer, Beate; Giani, Guido; et al. (2019-01-30)
      Until now, herpes zoster (HZ)-related disease burden in Germany has been estimated based on health insurance data and clinical findings. However, the validity of self-reported HZ is unclear. This study investigated the validity of self-reported herpes zoster (HZ) and its complication postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) using data from the pretest studies of the German National Cohort (GNC) in comparison with estimates based on health insurance data. Data of 4751 participants aged between 20 and 69 years from two pretest studies of the GNC carried out in 2011 and 2012 were used. Based on self-reports of physician-diagnosed HZ and PHN, age- and sex-specific HZ incidence rates and PHN proportions were estimated. For comparison, estimates based on statutory health insurance data from the German population were considered. Eleven percent (95%-CI, 10.4 to 12.3, n = 539) of the participants reported at least one HZ episode in their lifetime. Our estimated age-specific HZ incidence rates were lower than previous estimates based on statutory health insurance data. The PHN proportion in participants older than 50 years was 5.9% (1.9 to 13.9%), which was in line with estimates based on health insurance data. As age- and sex-specific patterns were comparable with that in health insurance data, self-reported diagnosis of HZ seems to be a valid instrument for overall disease trends. Possible reasons for observed differences in incidence rates are recall bias in self-reported data or overestimation in health insurance data.