Epidemiology and Infection

GIS-supported investigation of human EHEC and cattle VTEC O157 infections in Sweden: Geographical distribution, spatial variation and possible risk factors

a1 University of Bonn, Institute for Hygiene and Public Health, D-53105 Bonn, Germany
a2 University of Bonn, Institute for Hygiene and Public Health, D-53105 Bonn, Germany
a3 National Veterinary Institute, SE-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden
a4 Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, SE-171 82 Solna, Sweden

Article author query
kistemann t   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
zimmer s   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
vagsholm i   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
andersson y   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


This article describes the spatial and temporal distribution of verotoxin-producing Escherichia coli among humans (EHEC) and cattle (VTEC) in Sweden, in order to evaluate relationships between the incidence of EHEC in humans, prevalence of VTEC O157 in livestock and agricultural structure by an ecological study. The spatial patterns of the distribution of human infections were described and compared with spatial patterns of occurrence in cattle, using a Geographic Information System (GIS). The findings implicate a concentration of human infection and cattle prevalence in the southwest of Sweden. The use of probability mapping confirmed unusual patterns of infection rates. The comparison of human and cattle infection indicated a spatial and statistical association. The correlation between variables of the agricultural structure and human EHEC incidence was high, indicating a significant statistical association of cattle and farm density with human infection. The explained variation of a multiple linear regression model was 0·56.

(Accepted October 23 2003)

c1 Dr T. Kistemann, Section for Public Health and Medical Geography, Institute for Hygiene and Public Health, University of Bonn, Sigmund-Freud-Str. 25, D-53105 Bonn, Germany.