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Sustaining the impact of hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination on incidence and prevalence of HBV infection requires increasing and maintaining the uptake of vaccine among those at risk. In recent years, the level of vaccine uptake among people who inject drugs (PWID) in the UK has levelled-off. Data (2015–2016) from the national unlinked-anonymous monitoring survey of PWID, an annual survey that collects data from PWID across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, were used to examine HBV vaccine uptake. Data from participants who had injected drugs during the previous year were used to investigate sources of hepatitis B vaccine doses as well as factors associated with vaccine uptake. Among the 3175 anti-HBc-negative participants, 3138 (99%) reported their vaccination status; 23% (714) reported no vaccine uptake. Among those not vaccinated, 447 (63%) reported being sexually active and 116 (16%) reported sharing needles and syringes. Majority of those not vaccinated reported accessing services in the previous year that could have provided hepatitis B vaccine doses. These missed opportunities for vaccinating of PWID indicate a need for additional targeted interventions.
Clostridium difficile infections (CDIs) affect patients in hospitals and in the community, but the relative importance of transmission in each setting is unknown. We developed a mathematical model of C. difficile transmission in a hospital and surrounding community that included infants, adults and transmission from animal reservoirs. We assessed the role of these transmission routes in maintaining disease and evaluated the recommended classification system for hospital- and community-acquired CDIs. The reproduction number in the hospital was <1 (range: 0.16–0.46) for all scenarios. Outside the hospital, the reproduction number was >1 for nearly all scenarios without transmission from animal reservoirs (range: 1.0–1.34). However, the reproduction number for the human population was <1 if a minority (>3.5–26.0%) of human exposures originated from animal reservoirs. Symptomatic adults accounted for <10% transmission in the community. Under conservative assumptions, infants accounted for 17% of community transmission. An estimated 33–40% of community-acquired cases were reported but 28–39% of these reported cases were misclassified as hospital-acquired by recommended definitions. Transmission could be plausibly sustained by asymptomatically colonised adults and infants in the community or exposure to animal reservoirs, but not hospital transmission alone. Under-reporting of community-onset cases and systematic misclassification underplays the role of community transmission.
Productivity in pigs can be improved by continued selection, however the impact of such selection on immune responses and resistance towards infectious challenges is not known. A risk is that this method may lead to a correlated reduction in the immune response and disease resistance. To estimate the effect of selection for performance traits upon immune responses, we compared levels of immune traits between divergent lines of Large White pigs selected for either lean growth under restricted feeding or feed intake.
Campylobacter sp. are a globally significant cause of gastroenteritis. Although rates of infection in Australia are among the highest in the industrialized world, studies describing campylobacteriosis incidence in Australia are lacking. Using national disease notification data between 1998 and 2013 we examined Campylobacter infections by gender, age group, season and state and territory. Negative binomial regression was used to estimate incidence rate ratios (IRRs), including trends by age group over time, with post-estimation commands used to obtain adjusted incidence rates. The incidence rate for males was significantly higher than for females [IRR 1·20, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·18–1·21], while a distinct seasonality was demonstrated with higher rates in both spring (IRR 1·18, 95% CI 1·16–1·20) and summer (IRR 1·17, 95% CI 1·16–1·19). Examination of trends in age-specific incidence over time showed declines in incidence in those aged <40 years combined with contemporaneous increases in older age groups, notably those aged 70–79 years (IRR 1998–2013: 1·75, 95% CI 1·63–1·88). While crude rates continue to be highest in children, our findings suggest the age structure for campylobacteriosis in Australia is changing, carrying significant public health implications for older Australians.
From a population-based birth cohort of 245 249 children born in Western Australia during 1996–2005, we used linkage of laboratory and birth record datasets to obtain data including all respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) detections during infancy from a subcohort of 87 981 singleton children born in the Perth metropolitan area from 2000 to 2004. Using log binomial regression, we found that the risk of infant RSV detection increases with the number of older siblings, with those having ⩾3 older siblings experiencing almost three times the risk (relative risk 2·83, 95% confidence interval 2·46–3·26) of firstborn children. We estimate that 45% of the RSV detections in our subcohort were attributable to infection from an older sibling. The sibling effect was significantly higher for those infants who were younger during the season of peak risk (winter) than those who were older. Although older siblings were present in our cohort, they had very few RSV detections which could be temporally linked to an infant's infection. We conclude that RSV infection in older children leads to less severe symptoms but is nevertheless an important source of infant infection. Our results lend support to a vaccination strategy which includes family members in order to provide maximum protection for newborn babies.
We present ground-based data of the BL Lac object PKS 2155-305 obtained during a large international campaign spanning the electro–magnetic spectrum from the radio waves to X-rays in November 1991. For the complete description of the observations and data analysis we refer to the paper by Courvoisier et al. 1993, and references therein. The ground-based data include radio, infrared JHKL and UBVRI fluxes as well as optical and near IR polarimetry.
The broad-band optical and near IR data from U to I exhibit the same behaviour in all bands: the flux nearly doubled over the well-covered period of 23 days. The cross-correlation function does not reveal any significant changes in the light-curves. Though significant variations in 24 hours have been recorded, the cumulated Fourier power spectrum drops to the noise level for periods shorter than 2.5 days. The spectral index remained constant.
The polarised flux varied by a larger factor than the total flux and did not follow the same pattern. The degree of polarisation and polarisation angle are nearly independent of the wavelength and are strongly correlated in all filters.
In the radio domain the spectral index increased from −0.1 on November 5 to +0.02 on 25-th.
The absence of the lag between the optical and infrared bands and the polarisation variations are consistent with a model in which the variability is caused by micro-lensing of the source (Stickel, Fried and Kühr 1988). One would, however, expect in this model that the variation in the polarisation and the total flux are tightly correlated contrary to what is observed.
The constant shape of the continuum spectral energy suggests that only the number of electrons whose emission is beamed towards the observer changes, rather than the arrival of fresh electrons that are being accelerated.
The variability of the polarisation may be explained by changes in the geometry of the magnetic field (dominant direction). This is consistent with the observed variations of the polarisation angle.
The work of Commission 25 covers a wide range of topics concerning the measurement of magnitude, colour and polarisation of astronomical objects. As such, the area of interest covers virtually every field of astrophysical research in the visual and infrared spectral domain. Our reports cover some aspects of photometry and polarimetry as a technique rather than being an account of research highlights over the last three years.
The current Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic in West Africa is unprecedented in scale, and Sierra Leone is the most severely affected country. The case fatality risk (CFR) and hospitalization fatality risk (HFR) were used to characterize the severity of infections in confirmed and probable EVD cases in Sierra Leone. Proportional hazards regression models were used to investigate factors associated with the risk of death in EVD cases. In total, there were 17 318 EVD cases reported in Sierra Leone from 23 May 2014 to 31 January 2015. Of the probable and confirmed EVD cases with a reported final outcome, a total of 2536 deaths and 886 recoveries were reported. CFR and HFR estimates were 74·2% [95% credibility interval (CrI) 72·6–75·5] and 68·9% (95% CrI 66·2–71·6), respectively. Risks of death were higher in the youngest (0–4 years) and oldest (⩾60 years) age groups, and in the calendar month of October 2014. Sex and occupational status did not significantly affect the mortality of EVD. The CFR and HFR estimates of EVD were very high in Sierra Leone.
Estimates of the proportion of illness transmitted by food for different enteric pathogens are essential for foodborne burden-of-disease studies. Owing to insufficient scientific data, a formal synthesis of expert opinion, an expert elicitation, is commonly used to produce such estimates. Eleven experts participated in an elicitation to estimate the proportion of illnesses due to food in Australia for nine pathogens over three rounds: first, based on their own knowledge alone; second, after being provided with systematic reviews of the literature and Australian data; and finally, at a workshop where experts reflected on the evidence. Estimates changed significantly across the three rounds (P = 0·002) as measured by analysis of variance. Following the workshop in round 3, estimates showed smoother distributions with significantly less variation for several pathogens. When estimates were combined to provide combined distributions for each pathogen, the width of these combined distributions reflected experts’ perceptions of the availability of evidence, with narrower intervals for pathogens for which evidence was judged to be strongest. Our findings show that the choice of expert elicitation process can significantly influence final estimates. Our structured process – and the workshop in particular – produced robust estimates and distributions appropriate for inclusion in burden-of-disease studies.
The formal commissioning of the IRWG occurred at the 1991 Buenos Aires General Assembly, following a Joint Commission meeting at the IAU GA in Baltimore in 1988 that identified the problems with ground-based infrared photometry. The meeting justification, papers, and conclusions, can be found in Milone (1989). In summary, the challenges involved how to explain the failure to achieve the milli-magnitude precision expected of infrared photometry and an apparent 3% limit on system transformability. The proposed solution was to redefine the broadband Johnson system, the passbands of which had proven so unsatisfactory that over time effectively different systems proliferated, although bearing the same “JHKLMNQ” designations; the new system needed to be better positioned and centered in the spectral windows of the Earth's atmosphere, and the variable water vapour content of the atmosphere needed to be measured in real time to better correct for atmospheric extinction.
More than 60% of newborns with severe congenital cardiac disease develop perioperative brain injuries. Known risk factors include: pre-operative hypoxemia, cardiopulmonary bypass characteristics, and post-operative hypotension. Infection is an established risk factor for white matter injury in premature newborns. In this study, we examined term infants with congenital cardiac disease requiring surgical repair to determine whether infection is associated with white matter injury. Acquired infection was specified by site – bloodstream, pneumonia, or surgical site infection – according to strict definitions. Infection was present in 23 of 127 infants. Pre- and post-operative imaging was evaluated for acquired injury by a paediatric neuroradiologist. Overall, there was no difference in newly acquired post-operative white matter injury in infants with infection (30%), compared to those without (31%). When stratified by anatomy, infants with transposition of the great arteries, and bloodstream infection had an estimated doubling of risk of white matter injury that was not significant, whereas those with single ventricle anatomy had no apparent added risk. When considering only infants without stroke, the estimated association was higher, and became significant after adjusting for duration of inotrope therapy. In this study, nosocomial infection was not associated with white matter injury. Nonetheless, when controlling for risk factors, there was an association between bloodstream infection and white matter injury in selected sub-populations. Infection prevention may have the potential to mitigate long-term neurologic impairment as a consequence of white matter injury, which underscores the importance of attention to infection control for these patients.
High purity β—SiC films have been epitaxially grown on Si (100) and off-axis Si (100) substrates. Conventional chemical vapor deposition at 1633K and 1 atm using SiH4 and C2H4 reactants in an H2 carrier gas was employed for this growth. Large differences in lattice parameter and thermal coefficients of expansion between the film and the substrate were partially compensated for by growing aninitial “conversion layer.” Plan view and cross—sectional transmission electron microscopy were utilized to study the conversion layer and the defects present in the films. A high density of stacking faults and dislocations were present in allthe films grown on Si, however, antiphase boundaries were eliminated when certain off—axis Si (100) substrates were employed. The effects of misorientation angle and substrate preannealing were investigated. The electrical properties of the β-SiC films were also studied using differential capacitance—voltage and Hall effect measurements as well as the I—V characteristics of Au—β—SiC Schottky diodes. It was found that the elimination of antiphase boundaries reduced leakage current but did not significantly effect carrier concentration or Hall electron mobility. Finally, the I—V characteristics of a Metal—Semiconductor—Field—Effect—Transistor (MESFET) have been evaluated for a β—SiC filmon an on—axis Si (100) substrate.
Thin diamond films were grown on low resistivity p-type Si wafers by microwave plasma assisted chemical vapor deposition. Using gold contacts, diode-like behavior was observed and forward bias current densities in excess of 5 A/cm2 were obtained. Reverse bias current densities were as low as 5 mA/cm2. Photocurrent was measured when photon energies larger than the Si bandgap were used to illuminate the heterojunction. The same photocurrent spectrum was measured even when the illumination spot was moved several centimeters away from the metal-diamond contact. Photovoltage. photocurrent and hot probe measurements have been used to infer the energy band diagram of the diamond-Si p-p heterojunction.
We report on radiation detectors fabricated from boron phosphide (BP) layers. These devices were fabricated by growing 1 to 10 μm thick layers of BP by chemical vapor deposition (CVD) on (100) oriented n-type silicon substrates. Ohmic contacts were applied to the Si (Au-Sb). Schottky barrier contacts (also Au-Sb) were applied to the BP layer. The devices were tested as radiation detectors and were found to be capable of detecting individual 5.5 MeV alpha particles. With some improvements we hope to fabricate neutron detectors from these devices, making use of the very high cross-section of boron for thermal neutrons.
We have investigated the challenging problem of doping diamonds, by co-implanting boron, nitrogen or phosphorus together with carbon into natural insulating type -a1 diamonds. All the implantations were done at liquid nitrogen temperature and then the samples were rapidly heated to 1100 °C. Unlike the previous attempts to dope diamond by room temperature or high temperature ion implantations, this method is expected to yield a higher doping efficiency for the implanted atoms. We have characterized the implanted diamonds with electrical and electron spin resonance (EPR) measurements. Boron doped samples showed low electrical resistivities and the EPR signal showed a strong dependence on the boron fluence, indicating a high substitutional fraction of boron atoms. The samples in which nitrogen and phosphorus were co-implanted with carbon showed lower resistivities compared with samples implanted with carbon only. Preliminary thermo-emf measurements indicated n-type conduction in these samples.
Thin carbon films were prepared by RF diode sputtering of a graphite target in a mixed nitrogen/argon plasma. A series of carbon films were deposited as a function of nitrogen partial pressure. We have observed a systematic variation of the properties of the carbon films with an increase of the nitrogen partial pressure. AES, XPS and energy gap studies showed that nitrogen will enhance the diamond sp3 bonding. Consistent with this the optical energy gap of our C:N films shows an increase from 1.1 eV to 1.4 eV using, respectively, 25 to 100 % nitrogen plasma. The mechanical properties also are shown to be enhanced for certain applications.
Diamond films have been deposited on silicon wafers by scanning an oxyacetylene flame against water-cooled silicon substrates. High quality diamond films about 20 um thick can be achieved by scanning the flame at a speed of about 0.2 mm per minute. The as-deposited films exhibit high electrical resistivity exceeding 1014Ωcm. Current voltage measurement shows the trap-dominated current conduction characteristics similar to that for dehydrogenated diamond films deposited by methane/hydrogen plasmas.
An electrochemical cell employing a YSZ electrolyte and two Au electrodes was utilized as a model system for investigating the mechanisms responsible for impedancemetric NOx (NO and NO2) sensing. The cell consists of two dense Au electrodes on top of a porous/dense YSZ bilayer structure (with the additional porous layer present only under the Au electrodes). Both electrodes were co-located on the same side of the cell, resulting in an in-plane geometry for the current path. The porous YSZ appears to extend the triple phase boundary and allows for enhanced NOx sensing performance, although the exact role of the porous layer is not completely understood. Impedance data were obtained over the frequency range of 0.1 Hz to 1 MHz, and over a range of oxygen (2 to 18.9%) and NOx (10 to 100 ppm) concentrations, and temperatures (600 to 700 °C). Data were fit with an equivalent circuit, and the values of the circuit elements were obtained for different concentrations and temperatures. Changes in a single low-frequency arc were found to correlate with concentration changes, and to be temperature dependent. In the absence of NOx, the effect of O2 on the low-frequency resistance could be described by a power law, and the temperature dependence described by a single apparent activation energy at all O2 concentrations. When both O2 and NOx were present, however, the power law exponent varied as a function of both temperature and concentration, and the apparent activation energy also showed dual dependence. Adsorption mechanisms are discussed as possibilities for the rate-limiting steps.
An impedancemetric technique for NOx sensing using a yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) electrochemical cell is reported. The cell consists of a dense YSZ substrate disk with two YSZ/metal-oxide electrodes deposited on the same side. The cell is completely exposed to the test gas (no air reference). The NOx and O2 response of the cell were evaluated during constant-frequency operation at frequencies in the range from 1 to 1000 Hz. At 10 Hz, the NOx response (as measured by phase angle shift) is shown to be linear with concentration over the range from 8-50 ppm, with comparable response to both NO and NO2. A method of operation is described which enables compensation for the O2 response at oxygen concentrations greater than approximately 4%. This mode of operation allows the sensor to provide sub-10 ppm detection of NOx irrespective of the O2 concentration. The sensor exhibits good stability during continuous operation for more than 150 hr. It was observed that the O2 response of the cell may be too slow to be of practical use, taking several minutes to equilibrate after changing the concentration by a few percent. However, data will be presented which demonstrate that this response is related to the metal oxide used for the electrode, and that more rapid response times can be achieved by modification of the electrode material.