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Cognitive impairment associated with lifetime major depressive disorder (MDD) is well-supported by meta-analytic studies, but population-based estimates remain scarce. Previous UK Biobank studies have only shown limited evidence of cognitive differences related to probable MDD. Using updated cognitive and clinical assessments in UK Biobank, this study investigated population-level differences in cognitive functioning associated with lifetime MDD.
Associations between lifetime MDD and cognition (performance on six tasks and general cognitive functioning [g-factor]) were investigated in UK Biobank (N-range 7,457–14,836, age 45–81 years, 52% female), adjusting for demographics, education, and lifestyle. Lifetime MDD classifications were based on the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Within the lifetime MDD group, we additionally investigated relationships between cognition and (a) recurrence, (b) current symptoms, (c) severity of psychosocial impairment (while symptomatic), and (d) concurrent psychotropic medication use.
Lifetime MDD was robustly associated with a lower g-factor (β = −0.10, PFDR = 4.7 × 10−5), with impairments in attention, processing speed, and executive functioning (β ≥ 0.06). Clinical characteristics revealed differential profiles of cognitive impairment among case individuals; those who reported severe psychosocial impairment and use of psychotropic medication performed worse on cognitive tests. Severe psychosocial impairment and reasoning showed the strongest association (β = −0.18, PFDR = 7.5 × 10−5).
Findings describe small but robust associations between lifetime MDD and lower cognitive performance within a population-based sample. Overall effects were of modest effect size, suggesting limited clinical relevance. However, deficits within specific cognitive domains were more pronounced in relation to clinical characteristics, particularly severe psychosocial impairment.
Substantial clinical heterogeneity of major depressive disorder (MDD) suggests it may group together individuals with diverse aetiologies. Identifying distinct subtypes should lead to more effective diagnosis and treatment, while providing more useful targets for further research. Genetic and clinical overlap between MDD and schizophrenia (SCZ) suggests an MDD subtype may share underlying mechanisms with SCZ.
The present study investigated whether a neurobiologically distinct subtype of MDD could be identified by SCZ polygenic risk score (PRS). We explored interactive effects between SCZ PRS and MDD case/control status on a range of cortical, subcortical and white matter metrics among 2370 male and 2574 female UK Biobank participants.
There was a significant SCZ PRS by MDD interaction for rostral anterior cingulate cortex (RACC) thickness (β = 0.191, q = 0.043). This was driven by a positive association between SCZ PRS and RACC thickness among MDD cases (β = 0.098, p = 0.026), compared to a negative association among controls (β = −0.087, p = 0.002). MDD cases with low SCZ PRS showed thinner RACC, although the opposite difference for high-SCZ-PRS cases was not significant. There were nominal interactions for other brain metrics, but none remained significant after correcting for multiple comparisons.
Our significant results indicate that MDD case-control differences in RACC thickness vary as a function of SCZ PRS. Although this was not the case for most other brain measures assessed, our specific findings still provide some further evidence that MDD in the presence of high genetic risk for SCZ is subtly neurobiologically distinct from MDD in general.
Recent evidence suggests that exercise plays a role in cognition and that the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) can be divided into dorsal and ventral subregions based on distinct connectivity patterns.
To examine the effect of physical activity and division of the PCC on brain functional connectivity measures in subjective memory complainers (SMC) carrying the epsilon 4 allele of apolipoprotein E (APOE 4) allele.
Participants were 22 SMC carrying the APOE ɛ4 allele (ɛ4+; mean age 72.18 years) and 58 SMC non-carriers (ɛ4–; mean age 72.79 years). Connectivity of four dorsal and ventral seeds was examined. Relationships between PCC connectivity and physical activity measures were explored.
ɛ4+ individuals showed increased connectivity between the dorsal PCC and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and the ventral PCC and supplementary motor area (SMA). Greater levels of physical activity correlated with the magnitude of ventral PCC–SMA connectivity.
The results provide the first evidence that ɛ4+ individuals at increased risk of cognitive decline show distinct alterations in dorsal and ventral PCC functional connectivity.
Plasmodium knowlesi has risen in importance as a zoonotic parasite that has been causing regular episodes of malaria throughout South East Asia. The P. knowlesi genome sequence generated in 2008 highlighted and confirmed many similarities and differences in Plasmodium species, including a global view of several multigene families, such as the large SICAvar multigene family encoding the variant antigens known as the schizont-infected cell agglutination proteins. However, repetitive DNA sequences are the bane of any genome project, and this and other Plasmodium genome projects have not been immune to the gaps, rearrangements and other pitfalls created by these genomic features. Today, long-read PacBio and chromatin conformation technologies are overcoming such obstacles. Here, based on the use of these technologies, we present a highly refined de novo P. knowlesi genome sequence of the Pk1(A+) clone. This sequence and annotation, referred to as the ‘MaHPIC Pk genome sequence’, includes manual annotation of the SICAvar gene family with 136 full-length members categorized as type I or II. This sequence provides a framework that will permit a better understanding of the SICAvar repertoire, selective pressures acting on this gene family and mechanisms of antigenic variation in this species and other pathogens.
Antigenic variation in malaria was discovered in Plasmodium knowlesi studies involving longitudinal infections of rhesus macaques (M. mulatta). The variant proteins, known as the P. knowlesi Schizont Infected Cell Agglutination (SICA) antigens and the P. falciparum Erythrocyte Membrane Protein 1 (PfEMP1) antigens, expressed by the SICAvar and var multigene families, respectively, have been studied for over 30 years. Expression of the SICA antigens in P. knowlesi requires a splenic component, and specific antibodies are necessary for variant antigen switch events in vivo. Outstanding questions revolve around the role of the spleen and the mechanisms by which the expression of these variant antigen families are regulated. Importantly, the longitudinal dynamics and molecular mechanisms that govern variant antigen expression can be studied with P. knowlesi infection of its mammalian and vector hosts. Synchronous infections can be initiated with established clones and studied at multi-omic levels, with the benefit of computational tools from systems biology that permit the integration of datasets and the design of explanatory, predictive mathematical models. Here we provide an historical account of this topic, while highlighting the potential for maximizing the use of P. knowlesi – macaque model systems and summarizing exciting new progress in this area of research.
Introduction: Point of care ultrasound (PoCUS) has become an established tool in the initial management of patients with undifferentiated hypotension in the emergency department (ED). Current established protocols (e.g. RUSH and ACES) were developed by expert user opinion, rather than objective, prospective data. Recently the SHoC Protocol was published, recommending 3 core scans; cardiac, lung, and IVC; plus other scans when indicated clinically. We report the abnormal ultrasound findings from our international multicenter randomized controlled trial, to assess if the recommended 3 core SHoC protocol scans were chosen appropriately for this population. Methods: Recruitment occurred at seven centres in North America (4) and South Africa (3). Screening at triage identified patients (SBP<100 or shock index>1) who were randomized to PoCUS or control (standard care with no PoCUS) groups. All scans were performed by PoCUS-trained physicians within one hour of arrival in the ED. Demographics, clinical details and study findings were collected prospectively. A threshold incidence for positive findings of 10% was established as significant for the purposes of assessing the appropriateness of the core recommendations. Results: 138 patients had a PoCUS screen completed. All patients had cardiac, lung, IVC, aorta, abdominal, and pelvic scans. Reported abnormal findings included hyperdynamic LV function (59; 43%); small collapsing IVC (46; 33%); pericardial effusion (24; 17%); pleural fluid (19; 14%); hypodynamic LV function (15; 11%); large poorly collapsing IVC (13; 9%); peritoneal fluid (13; 9%); and aortic aneurysm (5; 4%). Conclusion: The 3 core SHoC Protocol recommendations included appropriate scans to detect all pathologies recorded at a rate of greater than 10 percent. The 3 most frequent findings were cardiac and IVC abnormalities, followed by lung. It is noted that peritoneal fluid was seen at a rate of 9%. Aortic aneurysms were rare. This data from the first RCT to compare PoCUS to standard care for undifferentiated hypotensive ED patients, supports the use of the prioritized SHoC protocol, though a larger study is required to confirm these findings.
Introduction: Point of care ultrasound (PoCUS) is an established tool in the initial management of patients with undifferentiated hypotension in the emergency department (ED). While PoCUS protocols have been shown to improve early diagnostic accuracy, there is little published evidence for any mortality benefit. We report the findings from our international multicenter randomized controlled trial, assessing the impact of a PoCUS protocol on survival and key clinical outcomes. Methods: Recruitment occurred at 7 centres in North America (4) and South Africa (3). Scans were performed by PoCUS-trained physicians. Screening at triage identified patients (SBP<100 or shock index>1), randomized to PoCUS or control (standard care and no PoCUS) groups. Demographics, clinical details and study findings were collected prospectively. Initial and secondary diagnoses were recorded at 0 and 60 minutes, with ultrasound performed in the PoCUS group prior to secondary assessment. The primary outcome measure was 30-day/discharge mortality. Secondary outcome measures included diagnostic accuracy, changes in vital signs, acid-base status, and length of stay. Categorical data was analyzed using Fishers test, and continuous data by Student T test and multi-level log-regression testing. (GraphPad/SPSS) Final chart review was blinded to initial impressions and PoCUS findings. Results: 258 patients were enrolled with follow-up fully completed. Baseline comparisons confirmed effective randomization. There was no difference between groups for the primary outcome of mortality; PoCUS 32/129 (24.8%; 95% CI 14.3-35.3%) vs. Control 32/129 (24.8%; 95% CI 14.3-35.3%); RR 1.00 (95% CI 0.869 to 1.15; p=1.00). There were no differences in the secondary outcomes; ICU and total length of stay. Our sample size has a power of 0.80 (α:0.05) for a moderate effect size. Other secondary outcomes are reported separately. Conclusion: This is the first RCT to compare PoCUS to standard care for undifferentiated hypotensive ED patients. We did not find any mortality or length of stay benefits with the use of a PoCUS protocol, though a larger study is required to confirm these findings. While PoCUS may have diagnostic benefits, these may not translate into a survival benefit effect.
Introduction: In Ottawa, STEMI patients are transported directly to percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) by advanced care paramedics (ACPs), primary care paramedics (PCPs), or transferred from PCP to ACP crew (ACP-intercept). PCPs have a limited skill set to address complications during transport.The objective of this study was to determine what clinically important events (CIEs) occurred in STEMI patients transported for primary PCI via a PCP crew, and what proportion of such events could only be treated by ACP protocols. Methods: We conducted a health record review of STEMI patients transported for primary PCI from Jan 1, 2011-Dec 21, 2015. Ottawa has a single PCI center and its EMS system employs both PCP and ACP paramedics. We identified consecutive STEMI bypass patients transported by PCP-only and ACP-intercept using the dispatch database. A data extraction form was piloted and used to extract patient demographics, transport times, and primary outcomes: CIEs and interventions performed during transport, and secondary outcomes: hospital diagnosis, and mortality. CIEs were reviewed by two investigators to determine if they would be treated differently by ACP protocols. We present descriptive statistics. Results: We identified 967 STEMI bypass cases among which 214 (118 PCP-only and 96 ACP-intercept) met all inclusion criteria. Characteristics were: mean age 61.4 years, 78% male, 31.8% anterior and 44.4% inferior infarcts, mean response time 6 min, total paramedic contact time 29 min, and in cases of ACP-intercept 7 min of PCP-only contact time.A CIE occurred in 127 (59%) of cases: SBP<90 mmHg 26.2%, HR<60 30.4%, HR>100 20.6%, malignant arrhythmias 7.5%, altered mental status 6.5%, airway intervention 2.3%, 2 patients (0.9%) arrested, both survived. Of the CIE identified, 54 (42.5%) could be addressed differently by ACP vs PCP protocols (25.2% of total cases). The majority related to fluid boluses for hypotension (44 cases; 35% of CIE). ACP intervention for CIEs within the ACP intercept group was 51.6%. There were 6 in-hospital deaths (2.8%) with no difference in transport crew type. Conclusion: CIEs are common in STEMI bypass patients however a smaller proportion of such CIE would be addressed differently by ACP protocols compared to PCP protocols. The vast majority of CIE appeared to be transient and of limited clinical significance.
Introduction: Point of Care Ultrasound (PoCUS) protocols are commonly used to guide resuscitation for emergency department (ED) patients with undifferentiated non-traumatic hypotension. While PoCUS has been shown to improve early diagnosis, there is a minimal evidence for any outcome benefit. We completed an international multicenter randomized controlled trial (RCT) to assess the impact of a PoCUS protocol on key resuscitation markers in this group. We report diagnostic impact and mortality elsewhere. Methods: The SHoC-ED1 study compared the addition of PoCUS to standard care within the first hour in the treatment of adult patients presenting with undifferentiated hypotension (SBP<100 mmHg or a Shock Index >1.0) with a control group that did not receive PoCUS. Scans were performed by PoCUS-trained physicians. 4 North American, and 3 South African sites participated in the study. Resuscitation outcomes analyzed included volume of fluid administered in the ED, changes in shock index (SI), modified early warning score (MEWS), venous acid-base balance, and lactate, at one and four hours. Comparisons utilized a T-test as well as stratified binomial log-regression to assess for any significant improvement in resuscitation amount the outcomes. Our sample size was powered at 0.80 (α:0.05) for a moderate effect size. Results: 258 patients were enrolled with follow-up fully completed. Baseline comparisons confirmed effective randomization. There was no significant difference in mean total volume of fluid received between the control (1658 ml; 95%CI 1365-1950) and PoCUS groups (1609 ml; 1385-1832; p=0.79). Significant improvements were seen in SI, MEWS, lactate and bicarbonate with resuscitation in both the PoCUS and control groups, however there was no difference between groups. Conclusion: SHOC-ED1 is the first RCT to compare PoCUS to standard of care in hypotensive ED patients. No significant difference in fluid used, or markers of resuscitation was found when comparing the use of a PoCUS protocol to that of standard of care in the resuscitation of patients with undifferentiated hypotension.
Introduction: Point of care ultrasonography (PoCUS) is an established tool in the initial management of hypotensive patients in the emergency department (ED). It has been shown rule out certain shock etiologies, and improve diagnostic certainty, however evidence on benefit in the management of hypotensive patients is limited. We report the findings from our international multicenter RCT assessing the impact of a PoCUS protocol on diagnostic accuracy, as well as other key outcomes including mortality, which are reported elsewhere. Methods: Recruitment occurred at 4 North American and 3 Southern African sites. Screening at triage identified patients (SBP<100 mmHg or shock index >1) who were randomized to either PoCUS or control groups. Scans were performed by PoCUS-trained physicians. Demographics, clinical details and findings were collected prospectively. Initial and secondary diagnoses were recorded at 0 and 60 minutes, with ultrasound performed in the PoCUS group prior to secondary assessment. Final chart review was blinded to initial impressions and PoCUS findings. Categorical data was analyzed using Fishers two-tailed test. Our sample size was powered at 0.80 (α:0.05) for a moderate effect size. Results: 258 patients were enrolled with follow-up fully completed. Baseline comparisons confirmed effective randomization. The perceived shock category changed more frequently in the PoCUS group 20/127 (15.7%) vs. control 7/125 (5.6%); RR 2.81 (95% CI 1.23 to 6.42; p=0.0134). There was no significant difference in change of diagnostic impression between groups PoCUS 39/123 (31.7%) vs control 34/124 (27.4%); RR 1.16 (95% CI 0.786 to 1.70; p=0.4879). There was no significant difference in the rate of correct category of shock between PoCUS (118/127; 93%) and control (113/122; 93%); RR 1.00 (95% CI 0.936 to 1.08; p=1.00), or for correct diagnosis; PoCUS 90/127 (70%) vs control 86/122 (70%); RR 0.987 (95% CI 0.671 to 1.45; p=1.00). Conclusion: This is the first RCT to compare PoCUS to standard care for undifferentiated hypotensive ED patients. We found that the use of PoCUS did change physicians’ perceived shock category. PoCUS did not improve diagnostic accuracy for category of shock or diagnosis.
Early in the history of schistosomiasis research, children under 5 years of age were known to be infected. Although this problem was recognized over 100 years ago, insufficient action has been taken to address this issue. Under current policy, such infected children only receive their first antiparasitic treatment (praziquantel – PZQ) upon entry into primary school as current mass drug administration programmes typically target school-aged children. For many infected children, they will wait up to 6 years before receiving their first medication and significant schistosomiasis-related morbidity may have already established. This inequity would not be accepted for other diseases. To unveil some of the reasons behind this neglect, it is paramount to understand the intricate historical relationship between schistosomiasis and British Imperial medicine, to underline its lasting influence on today's public health priorities. This review presents a perspective on the historical neglect of paediatric schistosomiasis, focusing on important gaps that persist from the early days after discovery of this parasite. Looking to end this inequity, we address several issues that need to be overcome to move forward towards the lasting success of schistosomiasis control and elimination efforts.
The public health threat posed by zoonotic Plasmodium knowlesi appears to be growing: it is increasingly reported across South East Asia, and is the leading cause of malaria in Malaysian Borneo. Plasmodium knowlesi threatens progress towards malaria elimination as aspects of its transmission, such as spillover from wildlife reservoirs and reliance on outdoor-biting vectors, may limit the effectiveness of conventional methods of malaria control. The development of new quantitative approaches that address the ecological complexity of P. knowlesi, particularly through a focus on its primary reservoir hosts, will be required to control it. Here, we review what is known about P. knowlesi transmission, identify key knowledge gaps in the context of current approaches to transmission modelling, and discuss the integration of these approaches with clinical parasitology and geostatistical analysis. We highlight the need to incorporate the influences of fine-scale spatial variation, rapid changes to the landscape, and reservoir population and transmission dynamics. The proposed integrated approach would address the unique challenges posed by malaria as a zoonosis, aid the identification of transmission hotspots, provide insight into the mechanistic links between incidence and land use change and support the design of appropriate interventions.
Civilian suicide rates vary by occupation in ways related to occupational stress exposure. Comparable military research finds suicide rates elevated in combat arms occupations. However, no research has evaluated variation in this pattern by deployment history, the indicator of occupation stress widely considered responsible for the recent rise in the military suicide rate.
The joint associations of Army occupation and deployment history in predicting suicides were analysed in an administrative dataset for the 729 337 male enlisted Regular Army soldiers in the US Army between 2004 and 2009.
There were 496 suicides over the study period (22.4/100 000 person-years). Only two occupational categories, both in combat arms, had significantly elevated suicide rates: infantrymen (37.2/100 000 person-years) and combat engineers (38.2/100 000 person-years). However, the suicide rates in these two categories were significantly lower when currently deployed (30.6/100 000 person-years) than never deployed or previously deployed (41.2–39.1/100 000 person-years), whereas the suicide rate of other soldiers was significantly higher when currently deployed and previously deployed (20.2–22.4/100 000 person-years) than never deployed (14.5/100 000 person-years), resulting in the adjusted suicide rate of infantrymen and combat engineers being most elevated when never deployed [odds ratio (OR) 2.9, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.1–4.1], less so when previously deployed (OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.1–2.1), and not at all when currently deployed (OR 1.2, 95% CI 0.8–1.8). Adjustment for a differential ‘healthy warrior effect’ cannot explain this variation in the relative suicide rates of never-deployed infantrymen and combat engineers by deployment status.
Efforts are needed to elucidate the causal mechanisms underlying this interaction to guide preventive interventions for soldiers at high suicide risk.
Q fever patients are often reported to experience a long-term impaired health status, including fatigue, which can persist for many years. During the large Q fever epidemic in The Netherlands, many patients with a laboratory-confirmed Coxiella burnetii infection were not notified as acute Q fever because they did not fulfil the clinical criteria of the acute Q fever case definition (fever, pneumonia and/or hepatitis). Our study assessed and compared the long-term health status of notified and non-notified Q fever patients at 4 years after onset of illness, using the Nijmegen Clinical Screening Instrument (NCSI). The study included 448 notified and 193 non-notified Q fever patients. The most severely affected subdomain in both patient groups was ‘Fatigue’ (50·5% of the notified and 54·6% of the non-notified patients had severe fatigue). Long-term health status did not differ significantly between the notified and non-notified patient groups, and patients scored worse on all subdomains compared to a healthy reference group. Our findings suggest that the magnitude of the 2007–2009 Q fever outbreak in The Netherlands was underestimated when only notified patients according to the European Union case definition are considered.
The Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (Army STARRS) has found that the proportional elevation in the US Army enlisted soldier suicide rate during deployment (compared with the never-deployed or previously deployed) is significantly higher among women than men, raising the possibility of gender differences in the adverse psychological effects of deployment.
Person-month survival models based on a consolidated administrative database for active duty enlisted Regular Army soldiers in 2004–2009 (n = 975 057) were used to characterize the gender × deployment interaction predicting suicide. Four explanatory hypotheses were explored involving the proportion of females in each soldier's occupation, the proportion of same-gender soldiers in each soldier's unit, whether the soldier reported sexual assault victimization in the previous 12 months, and the soldier's pre-deployment history of treated mental/behavioral disorders.
The suicide rate of currently deployed women (14.0/100 000 person-years) was 3.1–3.5 times the rates of other (i.e. never-deployed/previously deployed) women. The suicide rate of currently deployed men (22.6/100 000 person-years) was 0.9–1.2 times the rates of other men. The adjusted (for time trends, sociodemographics, and Army career variables) female:male odds ratio comparing the suicide rates of currently deployed v. other women v. men was 2.8 (95% confidence interval 1.1–6.8), became 2.4 after excluding soldiers with Direct Combat Arms occupations, and remained elevated (in the range 1.9–2.8) after adjusting for the hypothesized explanatory variables.
These results are valuable in excluding otherwise plausible hypotheses for the elevated suicide rate of deployed women and point to the importance of expanding future research on the psychological challenges of deployment for women.
We describe the efficacy of enhanced infection control measures, including those recommended in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2012 carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) toolkit, to control concurrent outbreaks of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) and extensively drug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (XDR-AB).
Before-after intervention study.
Fifteen-bed surgical trauma intensive care unit (ICU).
We investigated the impact of enhanced infection control measures in response to clusters of CPE and XDR-AB infections in an ICU from April 2009 to March 2010. Polymerase chain reaction was used to detect the presence of blaKPC and resistance plasmids in CRE. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis was performed to assess XDR-AB clonality. Enhanced infection-control measures were implemented in response to ongoing transmission of CPE and a new outbreak of XDR-AB. Efficacy was evaluated by comparing the incidence rate (IR) of CPE and XDR-AB before and after the implementation of these measures.
The IR of CPE for the 12 months before the implementation of enhanced measures was 7.77 cases per 1,000 patient-days, whereas the IR of XDR-AB for the 3 months before implementation was 6.79 cases per 1,000 patient-days. All examined CPE shared endemic blaKPC resistance plasmids, and 6 of the 7 XDR-AB isolates were clonal. Following institution of enhanced infection control measures, the CPE IR decreased to 1.22 cases per 1,000 patient-days (P = .001), and no more cases of XDR-AB were identified.
Use of infection control measures described in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2012 CRE toolkit was associated with a reduction in the IR of CPE and an interruption in XDR-AB transmission.
Understanding the spatial distribution of disease is critical for effective disease control. Where formal address networks do not exist, tracking spatial patterns of clinical disease is difficult. Geolocation strategies were tested at rural health facilities in western Kenya. Methods included geocoding residence by head of compound, participatory mapping and recording the self-reported nearest landmark. Geocoding was able to locate 72·9% [95% confidence interval (CI) 67·7–77·6] of individuals to within 250 m of the true compound location. The participatory mapping exercise was able to correctly locate 82·0% of compounds (95% CI 78·9–84·8) to a 2 × 2·5 km area with a 500 m buffer. The self-reported nearest landmark was able to locate 78·1% (95% CI 73·8–82·1) of compounds to the correct catchment area. These strategies tested provide options for quickly obtaining spatial information on individuals presenting at health facilities.
The miconia (Miconia calvescens) invasion of the East Maui Watershed (EMW) started from a single introduction over 40 yr ago, establishing a nascent patch network spread across 20,000 ha. In 2012, an accelerated intervention strategy was implemented utilizing the Herbicide Ballistic Technology (HBT) platform in a Hughes 500D helicopter to reduce target densities of seven nascent patches in the EMW. In a 14-mo period, a total of 48 interventions eliminated 4,029 miconia targets, with an estimated 33% increase in operations and 168% increase in recorded targets relative to the adjusted means from 2005 to 2011 data (prior to HBT adoption). This sequence of interventions covered a total net area of 1,138 ha, creating a field mosaic of overlapping search coverage (saturation) for each patch (four to eight interventions per patch). Target density reduction for each patch fit exponential decay functions (R2 > 0.88, P < 0.05), with a majority of the target interventions spatially assigned to the highest saturation fields. The progressive decay in target density led to concomitant reductions in search efficiency (min ha−1) and herbicide use rate (grams ae ha−1) in subsequent interventions. Mean detection efficacy (± SE) between overlapping interventions (n = 41) was 0.62 ± 0.03, matching closely with the probability of detection for a random search operation and verifying imperfect (albeit precise) detection. The HBT platform increases the value of aerial surveillance operations with 98% efficacy in target elimination. Applying coverage saturation with an accelerated intervention schedule to known patch locations is an adaptive process for compensating imperfect detection and building intelligence with spatial and temporal relevance to the next operation.
We investigated whether straight-line distance from residential compounds to healthcare facilities influenced mortality, the incidence of pneumonia and vaccine efficacy against pneumonia in rural Gambia. Clinical surveillance for pneumonia was conducted on 6938 children living in the catchment areas of the two largest healthcare facilities. Deaths were monitored by three-monthly home visits. Children living >5 km from the two largest healthcare facilities had a 2·78 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1·74–4·43] times higher risk of all-cause mortality compared to children living within 2 km of these facilities. The observed rate of clinical and radiological pneumonia was lower in children living >5 km from these facilities compared to those living within 2 km [rate ratios 0·65 (95% CI 0·57–0·73) and 0·74 (95% CI 0·55–0·98), respectively]. There was no association between distance and estimated pneumococcal vaccine efficacy. Geographical access to healthcare services is an important determinant of survival and pneumonia in children in rural Gambia.