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Eur J Epidemiol. 2001;17(9):847-53.

Balkan endemic nephropathy in Vratza, Bulgaria, 1964-1987: an epidemiologic analysis of population-based disease registers.

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Department of Epidemiology and Institute for International Health Michigan State University, USA.


Balkan Endemic Nephropathy (BEN), first described in 1956 in Vratza region, Bulgaria, may result from prolonged, chronic exposure to environmental toxicants, but the underlying etiologic factors remain elusive. There has been no recent systematic characterization of the epidemiology of this disease. Recently, it has been suggested that the incidence of the disease is decreasing. We therefore abstracted data from registers of patients in 21 affected villages and the town of Vratza, Bulgaria maintained from 1964 through 1987. In 1964, the prevalence of BEN was 6.0 per 1000 inhabitants; among residents of the affected villages, the prevalence was 12.3 per 1000. From 1965 to 1975 the incidence rate was 0.7 per 1,000 person-years, and from 1976 to 1987 the incidence rate was 0.3 per 1,000 person-years (rate ratio 0.43; p < 0.001). Incidence was much lower in Vratza town; among residents of affected villages, the period-specific rates were 1.7 and 0.8 per 1,000 per year, respectively (rate ratio 0.47; p < 0.01). These trends were consistent across all villages for which registers were maintained. Median survival following registration increased from 2.0 to 5.0 years over the same period (p < 0.001). BEN appears to be decreasing in incidence in this region.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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