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Main arrow Archive of previous Issues arrow 4 2014 (38) arrow Lithuanian paradox as a problem of influenza and acute respiratory infection epidemiology: on the basis of statistical reporting of the soviet period
Lithuanian paradox as a problem of influenza and acute respiratory infection epidemiology: on the basis of statistical reporting of the soviet period Print
Monday, 01 September 2014

S.V. Kondrichin
Minsk Regional Clinical Hospital, Republic of Belarus

As far as possible, join faith to reason.


Abstract. Investigations for regional differences in epidemiological activity of acute respiratory infection and influenza conducted in the USSR were focused rather on medical and biological, structural and demographic and economic factors and didnt consider the causative role of social, cultural and psychological factors in epidemiological process.

The study aims to implement a comparative analysis of official incidence rates of acute respiratory infection and influenza in the six former Soviet Republics in 1959-1989 based on data of the USSR Central Statistical Office.

Materials and methods. The work is based on the USSR Ministry of Health official annual statistical data on incidence of acute respiratory infection and influenza in the Soviet Republics. Analysis of rank distribution of incidence rates across the republics was implemented.

Results. The lowest incidence rates of acute respiratory infection and influenza-associated mortality rates were regularly registered in Lithuania. In Lithuania the long-term annual average incidence rates were 2.5 times lower compared to Russia, 2.2 times lower compared to Latvia and 1.8 lower compared to Belarus. The analysis also identified a spatial continuation of distribution of acute respiratory infection rates with the smallest rates in Belarus being registered in the Hrodna region that borders upon Lithuania. To interpret the study results the author used Lisitsyns theory of social, cultural and psychological determination of the health status and historical background theory, which explains the constancy in these mechanisms effect by Krzywicki and Dobrowolski.

Conclusions. The distance between the cultural traditions in the republics that determine behavior and lifestyle of the population could cause the difference in acute respiratory infection incidence rates between the former Soviet Republics. The study results allow for defining a theoretical issue of differentiating rates of epidemiological activity of acute respiratory infection as Lithuanian paradox.

Effect of the religion (Catholic faith) and historical background of the regional immune status specificity were considered as a competitive hypothesis. However, the presented interpretation models are, in many ways, of a speculative nature. Further studies are necessary to define the protective role of social and cultural factors in the epidemiology of acute respiratory infection and influenza.

Keywords: acute respiratory infection and influenza incidence rates, influenza mortality, Soviet republics, comparative analysis, Lithuanian paradox



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