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We conducted a food consumption survey in the general adult population of 18 years and older in Germany to obtain data on the frequency of consumption of food items that caused foodborne disease outbreaks in the past. A total of 1010 telephone interviews were completed that queried the consumption of 95 food items in the 7-day period before the interview. Survey results were weighted to be representative. Six exemplary ‘high risk’ food items were consumed by 6% to 16% of the general population. These were raw ground pork: 6.5%; ‘Teewurst’ (=spreadable sausage-containing raw pork): 15.7%; unpasteurised milk consumed without prior heating: 9.0%; food items prepared with raw eggs: 9.8%; unheated sprouts or seedlings: 8.8% and frozen berries consumed without prior heating: 6.2%. Data from our food consumption survey were comparable to data obtained from control persons in case-control studies conducted during past foodborne disease outbreak investigations. We consider our survey an additional helpful tool that will allow comparison with food consumption data from case-patients obtained in exploratory, hypothesis-generating interviews early on in outbreak investigations, and which may assist in forming hypotheses regarding associations of illnesses with suspected food vehicles. This may facilitate and accelerate investigations of future foodborne disease outbreaks.
Treatment for hoarding disorder is typically performed by mental health professionals, potentially limiting access to care in underserved areas.
We aimed to conduct a non-inferiority trial of group peer-facilitated therapy (G-PFT) and group psychologist-led cognitive–behavioural therapy (G-CBT).
We randomised 323 adults with hording disorder 15 weeks of G-PFT or 16 weeks of G-CBT and assessed at baseline, post-treatment and longitudinally (≥3 months post-treatment: mean 14.4 months, range 3–25). Predictors of treatment response were examined.
G-PFT (effect size 1.20) was as effective as G-CBT (effect size 1.21; between-group difference 1.82 points, t = −1.71, d.f. = 245, P = 0.04). More homework completion and ongoing help from family and friends resulted in lower severity scores at longitudinal follow-up (t = 2.79, d.f. = 175, P = 0.006; t = 2.89, d.f. = 175, P = 0.004).
Peer-led groups were as effective as psychologist-led groups, providing a novel treatment avenue for individuals without access to mental health professionals.
Declaration of interest
C.A.M. has received grant funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and travel reimbursement and speakers’ honoraria from the Tourette Association of America (TAA), as well as honoraria and travel reimbursement from the NIH for serving as an NIH Study Section reviewer. K.D. receives research support from the NIH and honoraria and travel reimbursement from the NIH for serving as an NIH Study Section reviewer. R.S.M. receives research support from the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Aging, the Hillblom Foundation, Janssen Pharmaceuticals (research grant) and the Alzheimer's Association. R.S.M. has also received travel support from the National Institute of Mental Health for Workshop participation. J.Y.T. receives research support from the NIH, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute and the California Tobacco Related Research Program, and honoraria and travel reimbursement from the NIH for serving as an NIH Study Section reviewer. All other authors report no conflicts of interest.
Evidence suggests adolescent self-esteem is influenced by beliefs of how individuals in their reference group perceive them. However, few studies examine how gender- and violence-related social norms affect self-esteem among refugee populations. This paper explores relationships between gender inequitable and victim-blaming social norms, personal attitudes, and self-esteem among adolescent girls participating in a life skills program in three Ethiopian refugee camps.
Ordinary least squares multivariable regression analysis was used to assess the associations between attitudes and social norms, and self-esteem. Key independent variables of interest included a scale measuring personal attitudes toward gender inequitable norms, a measure of perceived injunctive norms capturing how a girl believed her family and community would react if she was raped, and a peer-group measure of collective descriptive norms surrounding gender inequity. The key outcome variable, self-esteem, was measured using the Rosenberg self-esteem scale.
Girl's personal attitudes toward gender inequitable norms were not significantly predictive of self-esteem at endline, when adjusting for other covariates. Collective peer norms surrounding the same gender inequitable statements were significantly predictive of self-esteem at endline (ß = −0.130; p = 0.024). Additionally, perceived injunctive norms surrounding family and community-based sanctions for victims of forced sex were associated with a decline in self-esteem at endline (ß = −0.103; p = 0.014). Significant findings for collective descriptive norms and injunctive norms remained when controlling for all three constructs simultaneously.
Findings suggest shifting collective norms around gender inequity, particularly at the community and peer levels, may sustainably support the safety and well-being of adolescent girls in refugee settings.
Animal health surveillance enables the detection and control of animal diseases including zoonoses. Under the EU-FP7 project RISKSUR, a survey was conducted in 11 EU Member States and Switzerland to describe active surveillance components in 2011 managed by the public or private sector and identify gaps and opportunities. Information was collected about hazard, target population, geographical focus, legal obligation, management, surveillance design, risk-based sampling, and multi-hazard surveillance. Two countries were excluded due to incompleteness of data. Most of the 664 components targeted cattle (26·7%), pigs (17·5%) or poultry (16·0%). The most common surveillance objectives were demonstrating freedom from disease (43·8%) and case detection (26·8%). Over half of components applied risk-based sampling (57·1%), but mainly focused on a single population stratum (targeted risk-based) rather than differentiating between risk levels of different strata (stratified risk-based). About a third of components were multi-hazard (37·3%). Both risk-based sampling and multi-hazard surveillance were used more frequently in privately funded components. The study identified several gaps (e.g. lack of systematic documentation, inconsistent application of terminology) and opportunities (e.g. stratified risk-based sampling). The greater flexibility provided by the new EU Animal Health Law means that systematic evaluation of surveillance alternatives will be required to optimize cost-effectiveness.
Human salmonellosis linked to contact with live poultry is an increasing public health concern. In 2012, eight unrelated outbreaks of human salmonellosis linked to live poultry contact resulted in 517 illnesses. In July 2012, PulseNet, a national molecular surveillance network, reported a multistate cluster of a rare strain of Salmonella Braenderup infections which we investigated. We defined a case as infection with the outbreak strain, determined by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, with illness onset from 25 July 2012–27 February 2013. Ill persons and mail-order hatchery (MOH) owners were interviewed using standardized questionnaires. Traceback and environmental investigations were conducted. We identified 48 cases in 24 states. Twenty-six (81%) of 32 ill persons reported live poultry contact in the week before illness; case-patients named 12 different MOHs from eight states. The investigation identified hatchery D as the ultimate poultry source. Sampling at hatchery D yielded the outbreak strain. Hatchery D improved sanitation procedures and pest control; subsequent sampling failed to yield Salmonella. This outbreak highlights the interconnectedness of humans, animals, and the environment and the importance of industry knowledge and involvement in solving complex outbreaks. Preventing these infections requires a ‘One Health’ approach that leverages expertise in human, animal, and environmental health.
Avian influenza virus (AIV) is an important zoonotic pathogen, resulting in global human morbidity and mortality and substantial economic losses to the poultry industry. Poultry and wild birds have transmitted AIV to humans, most frequently subtypes H5 and H7, but also different strains and subtypes of H6, H9, and H10. Determining which birds are AIV reservoirs can help identify human populations that have a high risk of infection with these viruses due to occupational or recreational exposure to the reservoir species. To assess the prevalence of AIV in tropical birds, from 2010 to 2014, we sampled 40 099 birds at 32 sites in Central Africa (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo-Brazzaville, Gabon) and West Africa (Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Togo). In Central Africa, detection rates by real-time RT–PCR were 16·6% in songbirds (eight passerine families, n = 1257), 16·4% in kingfishers (family Alcedinidae, n = 73), 8·2% in ducks (family Anatidae, n = 564), and 3·65% in chickens (family Phasianidae, n = 1042). Public health authorities should educate human cohorts that have high exposure to these bird populations about AIV and assess their adherence to biosecurity practices, including Cameroonian farmers who raise small backyard flocks.
Balamuthia mandrillaris is an emerging cause of encephalitis in humans. The transmission dynamics are poorly understood due to the high fatality rate and the sporadic nature of cases. Seventy-two soil samples were collected from beaches and the banks of lagoons, rivers, ponds, mineral springs and streams from across Jamaica and assayed for the presence of B. mandrillaris. Seventy-nine sites were sampled and the mitochondrial 16S rDNA gene of B. mandrillaris was amplified and sequenced to confirm the presence of the amoeba. One isolate of B. mandrillaris was recovered from soil from mineral spring which hosts an informal therapeutic mud bath business. Although B. mandrillaris is less frequently isolated from soil than other free-living amoebae, rubbing mud containing the organism onto the skin increases the likelihood of exposure and infection. This first report on the isolation of B. mandrillaris in the Caribbean and its presence in soil where human contact is likely warrants further investigation using serological methods to elucidate exposure patterns.
A survey of national animal influenza surveillance programmes was conducted to assess the current capacity to detect influenza viruses with zoonotic potential in animals (i.e. those influenza viruses that can be naturally transmitted between animals and humans) at regional and global levels. Information on 587 animal influenza surveillance system components was collected for 99 countries from Chief Veterinary Officers (CVOs) (n = 94) and published literature. Less than 1% (n = 4) of these components were specifically aimed at detecting influenza viruses with pandemic potential in animals (i.e. those influenza viruses that are capable of causing epidemic spread in human populations over large geographical regions or worldwide), which would have zoonotic potential as a prerequisite. Those countries that sought to detect influenza viruses with pandemic potential searched for such viruses exclusively in domestic pigs. This work shows the global need for increasing surveillance that targets potentially zoonotic influenza viruses in relevant animal species.
In this globalized world, the spread of new, exotic and re-emerging diseases has become one of the most important threats to animal production and public health. This systematic review analyses conventional and novel early detection methods applied to surveillance. In all, 125 scientific documents were considered for this study. Exotic (n = 49) and re-emerging (n = 27) diseases constituted the most frequently represented health threats. In addition, the majority of studies were related to zoonoses (n = 66). The approaches found in the review could be divided in surveillance modalities, both active (n = 23) and passive (n = 5); and tools and methodologies that support surveillance activities (n = 57). Combinations of surveillance modalities and tools (n = 40) were also found. Risk-based approaches were very common (n = 60), especially in the papers describing tools and methodologies (n = 50). The main applications, benefits and limitations of each approach were extracted from the papers. This information will be very useful for informing the development of tools to facilitate the design of cost-effective surveillance strategies. Thus, the current literature review provides key information about the advantages, disadvantages, limitations and potential application of methodologies for the early detection of new, exotic and re-emerging diseases.
The management of sediment and water contamination from legacy waste is a significant problem in Antarctica. Although several reports have noted that there are contaminated sites at the abandoned Wilkes Station, a systematic attempt to assess the spatial scale of the problem has not been made, making development of clean-up or preservation programmes difficult. A contaminated site assessment for the old Wilkes Station and surrounds is presented in this paper. The Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC) sediment and water quality guidelines and background concentration levels (BCL) were used to assess the extent of contamination across Clark Peninsula. Of 67 sediment sites sampled, 72% were contaminated with at least one metal or metalloid, with values exceeding the ANZECC ISQG-High or 2 x BCL. Moreover, 19% were contaminated with four or more metals/metalloids. Of the 93 water samples collected, all but one was contaminated with at least one metal/metalloid concentration exceeding the guidelines, and 96% were contaminated with two or more metals/metalloids. For hydrocarbons in sediment and water, most samples were below quantitation limits. There is a complex pattern of contamination across Clark Peninsula that needs to be considered in future waste treatment, containment or removal operations, and for protection of heritage items.
Charged dust grains in the atmospheres of exoplanets may play a key role in the formation of prebiotic molecules, necessary to the origin of life. Dust grains submerged in an atmospheric plasma become negatively charged and attract a flux of ions that are accelerated from the plasma. The energy of the ions upon reaching the grain surface may be sufficient to overcome the activation energy of particular chemical reactions that would be unattainable via ion and neutral bombardment from classical, thermal excitation. As a result, prebiotic molecules or their precursors could be synthesized on the surface of dust grains that form clouds in exoplanetary atmospheres. This paper investigates the energization of the plasma ions, and the dependence on the plasma electron temperature, in the atmospheres of substellar objects such as gas giant planets. Calculations show that modest electron temperatures of ≈1 eV (≈104 K) are enough to accelerate ions to sufficient energies that exceed the activation energies required for the formation of formaldehyde, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide and the amino acid glycine.
The Slc26 family proteins, with one possible exception, transport anions across membranes in a wide variety of tissues in vertebrates, invertebrates, and plants. Mutations in human members of the family are a significant cause of disease. Slc26 family proteins are thought to be oligomers, but their stoichiometry of association is in dispute. A recent study, using sequential bleaching of single fluorophore-coupled molecules in membrane fragments, demonstrated that mammalian Slc26a5 (prestin) is a tetramer. In this article, the stoichiometry of two nonmammalian prestins and three human SLC26 proteins has been analyzed by the same method, including the evolutionarily-distant SLC26A11. The analysis showed that tetramerization is common and likely to be ubiquitous among Slc26 proteins, at least in vertebrates. The implication of the findings is that tetramerization is present for functional reasons.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis is primarily a pathogen of humans. Infections have been reported in animal species and it is emerging as a significant disease of elephants in the care of humans. With the close association between humans and animals, transmission can occur. In November 2010, a clinically healthy Asian elephant in an Australian zoo was found to be shedding M. tuberculosis; in September 2011, a sick chimpanzee at the same zoo was diagnosed with tuberculosis caused by an indistinguishable strain of M. tuberculosis. Investigations included staff and animal screening. Four staff had tuberculin skin test conversions associated with spending at least 10 hours within the elephant enclosure; none had disease. Six chimpanzees had suspected infection. A pathway of transmission between the animals could not be confirmed. Tuberculosis in an elephant can be transmissible to people in close contact and to other animals more remotely. The mechanism for transmission from elephants requires further investigation.
A cross-sectional study was conducted from 10 January to 9 April 2012, to determine the seroprevalence of tuberculosis (TB) of all captive Asian elephants and their handlers in six locations in Peninsular Malaysia. In addition, trunk-wash samples were examined for tubercle bacillus by culture and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). For 63 elephants and 149 elephant handlers, TB seroprevalence was estimated at 20·4% and 24·8%, respectively. From 151 trunk-wash samples, 24 acid-fast isolates were obtained, 23 of which were identified by hsp65-based sequencing as non-tuberculous mycobacteria. The Mycobacterium tuberculosis-specific PCR was positive in the trunk-wash samples from three elephants which were also seropositive. Conversely, the trunk wash from seven seropositive elephants were PCR negative. Hence, there was evidence of active and latent TB in the elephants and the high seroprevalence in the elephants and their handlers suggests frequent, close contact, two-way transmission between animals and humans within confined workplaces.
Surveying and declaring disease freedom in wildlife is difficult because information on population size and spatial distribution is often inadequate. We describe and demonstrate a novel spatial model of wildlife disease-surveillance data for predicting the probability of freedom of bovine tuberculosis (caused by Mycobacterium bovis) in New Zealand, in which the introduced brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) is the primary wildlife reservoir. Using parameters governing home-range size, probability of capture, probability of infection and spatial relative risks of infection we employed survey data on reservoir hosts and spillover sentinels to make inference on the probability of eradication. Our analysis revealed high sensitivity of model predictions to parameter values, which demonstrated important differences in the information contained in survey data of host-reservoir and spillover-sentinel species. The modelling can increase cost efficiency by reducing the likelihood of prematurely declaring success due to insufficient control, and avoiding unnecessary costs due to excessive control and monitoring.
An anonymous survey of Australian Fellows of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists was conducted with the aim of understanding current practice and attitudes toward population-based carrier screening for inherited conditions in the setting of routine pregnancy care. Of 1,121 Fellows invited to complete the online questionnaire by e-mail, 237 (21%) responded, and of these 156 were practicing obstetricians and completed the whole survey. Of the respondents, 83% expressed support for population-based carrier screening for at least some conditions, with 97% supporting carrier screening for β-thalassaemia, and 83% supporting carrier screening for cystic fibrosis (CF). A small proportion of obstetricians reported offering carrier screening as part of routine pregnancy care (20% for β-thalassaemia, 8% for CF, 5% for fragile X syndrome, and 2% for spinal muscular atrophy). The main practical barriers identified for screening were cost, time constraints, and availability of supporting services. Addressing these issues is crucial for the successful implementation of population-based carrier screening programs in Australia and internationally.
Entrepreneurial groups face a twin challenge: recognizing new ideas and implementing them. Recent research suggests that connectivity reaching outside the group channels new ideas, while closure makes it possible to act on them. By contrast, we argue that entrepreneurship is not about importing ideas but about generating new knowledge by recombining resources. In contrast to the brokerage-plus- closure perspective, we develop a concept of structural folding and identify a distinctive network position, structural fold, at the overlap of cohesive group structures. Actors at the structural fold are multiple insiders, participating in dense cohesive ties that provide close familiarity with the operations of both groups. Structural folding provides familiar access to diverse resources. Firstly, we test whether structural folding contributes to higher group performance. Secondly, because entrepreneurship is a process of generative disruption, we test structural folding's contribution to group instability. Thirdly, we move from dynamic methods to historical network analysis and demonstrate that coherence is a property of interwoven lineages of cohesion that are built up through an ongoing pattern of separation and reunification. Business groups use this pattern of interweaving to manage instability while benefiting from structural folding. To study the evolution of business groups, we construct a dataset that records personnel ties among the largest 1,696 Hungarian enterprises from 1987-2001.