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Flaviviruses include many viruses causing encephalitis, including West Nile encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, tick-borne encephalitis and Japanese encephalitis. Human pegivirus genotype-1 (HPgV-1) is a lesser known member of the Flaviviridae family and has been identified in human serum, cerebrospinal fluid and brain tissue. Here, we describe two adult patients with fatal HPgV-1-associated encephalitis. Neuroimaging revealed multifocal lesions, initially present in the periventricular and brain stem white matter, then one year later throughout the corona radiata bilaterally with marked involvement of the brainstem and cervical spinal cord. Phylogenetic analyses of HPgV-1 showed clustering of brain-derived sequences from both patients with other human pegiviruses. In both patients, a novel 87-nucleotide deletion in the viral NS2 gene was detected. The presence of positive and negative strand HPgV-1 RNA and viral antigens in both patients indicated viral persistence and replication in the CNS. Autopsy showed lymphocyte infiltration and gliosis predominantly in white matter of the brain and brain stem but, to a lesser extent, also in grey matter. Immunofluorescence revealed HPgV-1 NS5A antigen in lymphocytes as well as in astrocytes and oligodendrocytes. Thus, we hypothesize that the novel deletion in the NS2 coding region may have caused HPgV-1 neuroadaptation or might represent a yet unrecognized genotype of human pegivirus.
This presentation will enable the learner to:
1.Describe the clinical and neuropathological features of fatal human pegivirus-associated encephalitis
2.Recognize the importance of molecular analysis in encephalitis cases with unknown etiology
We provide an update on diagnostic methods for the detection of urogenital schistosomiasis (UGS) in men and highlight that satisfactory urine-antigen diagnostics for UGS lag much behind that for intestinal schistosomiasis, where application of a urine-based point-of-care strip assay, the circulating cathodic antigen (CCA) test, is now advocated. Making specific reference to male genital schistosomiasis (MGS), we place greater emphasis on parasitological detection methods and clinical assessment of internal genitalia with ultrasonography. Unlike the advances made in defining a clinical standard protocol for female genital schistosomiasis, MGS remains inadequately defined. Whilst urine filtration with microscopic examination for ova of Schistosoma haematobium is a convenient but error-prone proxy of MGS, we describe a novel low-cost sampling and direct visualization method for the enumeration of ova in semen. Using exemplar clinical cases of MGS from our longitudinal cohort study among fishermen along the shoreline of Lake Malawi, the portfolio of diagnostic needs is appraised including: the use of symptomatology questionnaires, urine analysis (egg count and CCA measurement), semen analysis (egg count, circulating anodic antigen measurement and real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis) alongside clinical assessment with portable ultrasonography.
Accumulating evidence shows that a propensity towards a pro-inflammatory status in the brain plays an important role in schizophrenia. Anti-inflammatory drugs might compensate this propensity. This study provides an update regarding the efficacy of agents with some anti-inflammatory actions for schizophrenia symptoms tested in randomized controlled trials (RCTs).
PubMed, Embase, the National Institutes of Health website (http://www.clinicaltrials.gov), and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews were systematically searched for RCTs that investigated clinical outcomes.
Our search yielded 56 studies that provided information on the efficacy of the following components on symptom severity: aspirin, bexarotene, celecoxib, davunetide, dextromethorphan, estrogens, fatty acids, melatonin, minocycline, N-acetylcysteine (NAC), pioglitazone, piracetam, pregnenolone, statins, varenicline, and withania somnifera extract. The results of aspirin [mean weighted effect size (ES): 0.30; n = 270; 95% CI (CI) 0.06–0.54], estrogens (ES: 0.78; n = 723; CI 0.36–1.19), minocycline (ES: 0.40; n = 946; CI 0.11–0.68), and NAC (ES: 1.00; n = 442; CI 0.60–1.41) were significant in meta-analysis of at least two studies. Subgroup analysis yielded larger positive effects for first-episode psychosis (FEP) or early-phase schizophrenia studies. Bexarotene, celecoxib, davunetide, dextromethorphan, fatty acids, pregnenolone, statins, and varenicline showed no significant effect.
Some, but not all agents with anti-inflammatory properties showed efficacy. Effective agents were aspirin, estrogens, minocycline, and NAC. We observed greater beneficial results on symptom severity in FEP or early-phase schizophrenia.
The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
Item 9 of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) queries about thoughts of death and self-harm, but not suicidality. Although it is sometimes used to assess suicide risk, most positive responses are not associated with suicidality. The PHQ-8, which omits Item 9, is thus increasingly used in research. We assessed equivalency of total score correlations and the diagnostic accuracy to detect major depression of the PHQ-8 and PHQ-9.
We conducted an individual patient data meta-analysis. We fit bivariate random-effects models to assess diagnostic accuracy.
16 742 participants (2097 major depression cases) from 54 studies were included. The correlation between PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 scores was 0.996 (95% confidence interval 0.996 to 0.996). The standard cutoff score of 10 for the PHQ-9 maximized sensitivity + specificity for the PHQ-8 among studies that used a semi-structured diagnostic interview reference standard (N = 27). At cutoff 10, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive by 0.02 (−0.06 to 0.00) and more specific by 0.01 (0.00 to 0.01) among those studies (N = 27), with similar results for studies that used other types of interviews (N = 27). For all 54 primary studies combined, across all cutoffs, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive than the PHQ-9 by 0.00 to 0.05 (0.03 at cutoff 10), and specificity was within 0.01 for all cutoffs (0.00 to 0.01).
PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 total scores were similar. Sensitivity may be minimally reduced with the PHQ-8, but specificity is similar.
The increasing attention for global warming is likely to contribute to the introduction of policies or other incentives to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions related to livestock production, including dairy. The dairy sector is an important contributor to GHG emissions. Clinical mastitis (CM), an intramammary infection, results in reduced milk production and fertility, increases culling and mortality of cows and, therefore, has a negative impact on the efficiency (output/input) of milk production. This may increase GHG emissions per unit of product. Our objective was to estimate the impact of CM in dairy cows on GHG emissions of milk production for the Dutch situation. A dynamic stochastic simulation model was developed to simulate the dynamics and losses of CM for individual lactations. Cows receive a parity (1 to 5+), a milk production and a calving interval (CI). Based on the parity, cows have a risk of CM, with a maximum of three cases in a lactation. Pathogens causing CM were classified as gram-positive bacteria, gram-negative bacteria, or other. Based on the parity and pathogen combinations, cows had a reduced milk production, discarded milk, prolonged CI and a risk of removal (culling and mortality) that reduce productivity of dairy cows and therefore increase GHG emissions per unit of product. Using life cycle assessment, emissions of GHGs were estimated from cradle to farm gate for processes along the milk production chain that are affected by CM. Processes included were feed production, enteric fermentation, and manure management. Emissions of GHGs were expressed as kg CO2 equivalents per ton of fat-and-protein-corrected milk (kg CO2e/t FPCM). Emissions of cows with CM increased on average by 57.5 (6.2%) kg CO2e/t FPCM compared with cows without CM. This increase was caused by removal (39%), discarded milk (38%), reduced milk production (17%) and prolonged CI (6%). The GHG emissions increased by 48 kg CO2e/t FPCM for cows with one case of CM, by 69 kg CO2e/t FPCM for cows with two cases of CM and by 92 kg CO2e/t FPCM for cows with three cases of CM compared with cows without CM. Preventing CM can be an effective strategy for farmers to reduce GHG emissions and can contribute to sustainable development of the dairy sector, because this also can improve the income of farmers and the welfare of cows. The impact of CM on GHG emissions, however, will vary between farms due to environmental conditions and management practices.
Background: Biallelic variants in POLR1C are associated with POLR3-related leukodystrophy (POLR3-HLD), or 4H leukodystrophy (Hypomyelination, Hypodontia, Hypogonadotropic Hypogonadism), and Treacher Collins syndrome (TCS). The clinical spectrum of POLR3-HLD caused by variants in this gene has not been described. Methods: A cross-sectional observational study involving 25 centers worldwide was conducted between 2016 and 2018. The clinical, radiologic and molecular features of 23 unreported and previously reported cases of POLR3-HLD caused by POLR1C variants were reviewed. Results: Most participants presented between birth and age 6 years with motor difficulties. Neurological deterioration was seen during childhood, suggesting a more severe phenotype than previously described. The dental, ocular and endocrine features often seen in POLR3-HLD were not invariably present. Five patients (22%) had a combination of hypomyelinating leukodystrophy and abnormal craniofacial development, including one individual with clear TCS features. Several cases did not exhibit all the typical radiologic characteristics of POLR3-HLD. A total of 29 different pathogenic variants in POLR1C were identified, including 13 new disease-causing variants. Conclusions: Based on the largest cohort of patients to date, these results suggest novel characteristics of POLR1C-related disorder, with a spectrum of clinical involvement characterized by hypomyelinating leukodystrophy with or without abnormal craniofacial development reminiscent of TCS.
The mechanical response of modern alloys results from a complex interplay between existing microstructure and its evolution with time under stress. To unravel these processes, in situ approaches intrinsically have a critical advantage to explore the basic mechanisms involving dislocations, grain boundaries (GBs), and their interactions in real time. In this article, we discuss recent findings using in situ nanomechanical testing techniques and refined crystallographic analysis tools. Advancements in in situ nanomechanics not only include multiaxial loading conditions, which bring us closer to real-world applications, but also high strain-rate testing, which is critical to compare experiments and simulations. In particular, unraveling the details of GB-based mechanisms and related microstructural changes will facilitate significant breakthroughs in our understanding of the behavior of materials on macroscopic length scales.
Children of parents with mood and psychotic disorders are at elevated risk for a range of behavioral and emotional problems. However, as the usual reporter of psychopathology in children is the parent, reports of early problems in children of parents with mood and psychotic disorders may be biased by the parents' own experience of mental illness and their mental state.
Independent observers rated psychopathology using the Test Observation Form in 378 children and youth between the ages of 4 and 24 (mean = 11.01, s.d. = 4.40) who had a parent with major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or no history of mood and psychotic disorders.
Observed attentional problems were elevated in offspring of parents with major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia (effect sizes ranging between 0.31 and 0.56). Oppositional behavior and language/thought problems showed variable degrees of elevation (effect sizes 0.17 to 0.57) across the three high-risk groups, with the greatest difficulties observed in offspring of parents with bipolar disorder. Observed anxiety was increased in offspring of parents with major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder (effect sizes 0.19 and 0.25 respectively) but not in offspring of parents with schizophrenia.
Our results suggest that externalizing problems and cognitive and language difficulties may represent a general manifestation of familial risk for mood and psychotic disorders, while anxiety may be a specific marker of liability for mood disorders. Observer assessment may improve early identification of risk and selection of youth who may benefit from targeted prevention.
While group housing (GH) is mandatory in the European Union for the greater part of pregnancy, single housing in farrowing crates (FCs) during lactation that restrict sows in most of their natural behaviour patterns is still practised on a large scale. Research is urgently needed to develop alternative farrowing systems that improve sows’ welfare. Therefore, sows in three different farrowing systems – pens with FC, loose housing (LH) pens and GH for six sows – were compared regarding the level of skin injuries and their active and resting behaviour. A skin injury score was assessed for 15 body parts of 102 sows in six batches on 3 days (days 1, 14 and 34). In total, the active and resting behaviour of 77 sows in six batches was examined on 3 days (days 18, 25 and 32) between 0700 h and 1900 h by means of a scan sampling method. The suckling behaviour and the level of cross-suckling were analysed in GH by means of direct observation in four batches during three 4-h sampling periods (days 17, 24 and 31). No significant differences were found in total skin injuries when the sows entered the systems (day 1), but GH sows showed significantly higher total skin injuries compared to FC and LH sows in the middle (day 14) and at the end (day 34) of the lactation period. A significant difference between FC and LH sows was never seen. Differences were found for the proportion of different body postures between the three systems. The odds for lying in lateral recumbency versus standing and sitting versus standing were significantly higher for FC and LH sows compared to GH sows. Additionally, sows were significantly more likely to be standing as opposed to lying in lateral recumbency as the lactation period progressed. Cross-suckling was a frequent behaviour in GH, seen in 35.0% of all successful suckling bouts. However, only an average of 0.56 piglets per successful suckling bout was observed cross-suckling, suggesting only a few piglets were engaged in cross-suckling. In conclusion, the skin injury score was only moderately increased in GH compared to FC and LH and comparable to pregnant group-housed sows, both free farrowing systems seemed to be an environmental enrichment for lactating sows and good management cannot prevent the occurrence of cross-suckling in a GH system, but can probably reduce it.
Childhood maltreatment (CM) plays an important role in the development of major depressive disorder (MDD). The aim of this study was to examine whether CM severity and type are associated with MDD-related brain alterations, and how they interact with sex and age.
Within the ENIGMA-MDD network, severity and subtypes of CM using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire were assessed and structural magnetic resonance imaging data from patients with MDD and healthy controls were analyzed in a mega-analysis comprising a total of 3872 participants aged between 13 and 89 years. Cortical thickness and surface area were extracted at each site using FreeSurfer.
CM severity was associated with reduced cortical thickness in the banks of the superior temporal sulcus and supramarginal gyrus as well as with reduced surface area of the middle temporal lobe. Participants reporting both childhood neglect and abuse had a lower cortical thickness in the inferior parietal lobe, middle temporal lobe, and precuneus compared to participants not exposed to CM. In males only, regardless of diagnosis, CM severity was associated with higher cortical thickness of the rostral anterior cingulate cortex. Finally, a significant interaction between CM and age in predicting thickness was seen across several prefrontal, temporal, and temporo-parietal regions.
Severity and type of CM may impact cortical thickness and surface area. Importantly, CM may influence age-dependent brain maturation, particularly in regions related to the default mode network, perception, and theory of mind.
Objectives: Research has shown that analyzing intrusion errors generated on verbal learning and memory measures is helpful for distinguishing between the memory disorders associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other neurological disorders, including Huntington’s disease (HD). Moreover, preliminary evidence suggests that certain clinical populations may be prone to exhibit different types of intrusion errors. Methods: We examined the prevalence of two new California Verbal Learning Test-3 (CVLT-3) intrusion subtypes – across-trial novel intrusions and across/within trial repeated intrusions – in individuals with AD or HD. We hypothesized that the encoding/storage impairment associated with medial-temporal involvement in AD would result in a greater number of novel intrusions on the delayed recall trials of the CVLT-3, whereas the executive dysfunction associated with subcortical-frontal involvement in HD would result in a greater number of repeated intrusions across trials. Results: The AD group generated significantly more across-trial novel intrusions than across/within trial repeated intrusions on the delayed cued-recall trials, whereas the HD group showed the opposite pattern on the delayed free-recall trials. Conclusions: These new intrusion subtypes, combined with traditional memory analyses (e.g., recall versus recognition performance), promise to enhance our ability to distinguish between the memory disorders associated with primarily medial-temporal versus subcortical-frontal involvement.
Determining infectious cross-transmission events in healthcare settings involves manual surveillance of case clusters by infection control personnel, followed by strain typing of clinical/environmental isolates suspected in said clusters. Recent advances in genomic sequencing and cloud computing now allow for the rapid molecular typing of infecting isolates.
To facilitate rapid recognition of transmission clusters, we aimed to assess infection control surveillance using whole-genome sequencing (WGS) of microbial pathogens to identify cross-transmission events for epidemiologic review.
Clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Klebsiella pneumoniae were obtained prospectively at an academic medical center, from September 1, 2016, to September 30, 2017. Isolate genomes were sequenced, followed by single-nucleotide variant analysis; a cloud-computing platform was used for whole-genome sequence analysis and cluster identification.
Most strains of the 4 studied pathogens were unrelated, and 34 potential transmission clusters were present. The characteristics of the potential clusters were complex and likely not identifiable by traditional surveillance alone. Notably, only 1 cluster had been suspected by routine manual surveillance.
Our work supports the assertion that integration of genomic and clinical epidemiologic data can augment infection control surveillance for both the identification of cross-transmission events and the inclusion of missed and exclusion of misidentified outbreaks (ie, false alarms). The integration of clinical data is essential to prioritize suspect clusters for investigation, and for existing infections, a timely review of both the clinical and WGS results can hold promise to reduce HAIs. A richer understanding of cross-transmission events within healthcare settings will require the expansion of current surveillance approaches.
Blood pressure (BP) tracks from childhood to adulthood, and early BP trajectories predict cardiovascular disease risk later in life. Excess postnatal weight gain is associated with vascular changes early in life. However, to what extent it is associated with children’s BP is largely unknown. In 853 healthy 5-year-old children of the Wheezing-Illnesses-Study-Leidsche-Rijn (WHISTLER) birth cohort, systolic (SBP) and diastolic BP (DBP) were measured, and z scores of individual weight gain rates adjusted for length gain rates were calculated using at least two weight and length measurements from birth until 3 months of age. Linear regression analyses were conducted to investigate the association between weight gain rates adjusted for length gain rates and BP adjusted for sex and ethnicity. Each standard deviation increase in weight gain rates adjusted for length gain rates was associated with 0.9 mmHg (95% CI 0.3, 1.5) higher sitting SBP after adjustment for confounders. Particularly in children in the lowest birth size decile, high excess weight gain was associated with higher sitting SBP values compared to children with low weight gain rates adjusted for length gain rates. BMI and visceral adipose tissue partly explained the association between excess weight gain and sitting SBP (β 0.5 mmHg, 95% CI −0.3, 1.3). Weight gain rates adjusted for length gain rates were not associated with supine SBP or DBP. Children with excess weight gain, properly adjusted for length gain, in the first three months of life, particularly those with a small birth size, showed higher sitting systolic BP at the age of 5 years.
With the recent discovery of a dozen dusty star-forming galaxies and around 30 quasars at z > 5 that are hyper-luminous in the infrared (μ LIR > 1013 L⊙, where μ is a lensing magnification factor), the possibility has opened up for SPICA, the proposed ESA M5 mid-/far-infrared mission, to extend its spectroscopic studies toward the epoch of reionisation and beyond. In this paper, we examine the feasibility and scientific potential of such observations with SPICA’s far-infrared spectrometer SAFARI, which will probe a spectral range (35–230 μm) that will be unexplored by ALMA and JWST. Our simulations show that SAFARI is capable of delivering good-quality spectra for hyper-luminous infrared galaxies at z = 5 − 10, allowing us to sample spectral features in the rest-frame mid-infrared and to investigate a host of key scientific issues, such as the relative importance of star formation versus AGN, the hardness of the radiation field, the level of chemical enrichment, and the properties of the molecular gas. From a broader perspective, SAFARI offers the potential to open up a new frontier in the study of the early Universe, providing access to uniquely powerful spectral features for probing first-generation objects, such as the key cooling lines of low-metallicity or metal-free forming galaxies (fine-structure and H2 lines) and emission features of solid compounds freshly synthesised by Population III supernovae. Ultimately, SAFARI’s ability to explore the high-redshift Universe will be determined by the availability of sufficiently bright targets (whether intrinsically luminous or gravitationally lensed). With its launch expected around 2030, SPICA is ideally positioned to take full advantage of upcoming wide-field surveys such as LSST, SKA, Euclid, and WFIRST, which are likely to provide extraordinary targets for SAFARI.
The low-frequency polarisation properties of radio sources are poorly studied, particularly in statistical samples. However, the new generation of low-frequency telescopes, such as the Murchison Widefield Array (the precursor for the low-frequency component of the Square Kilometre Array) offers an opportunity to probe the physics of radio sources at very low radio frequencies. In this paper, we present a catalogue of linearly polarised sources detected at 216 MHz, using data from the Galactic and Extragalactic All-sky Murchison Widefield Array survey. Our catalogue covers the Declination range –17° to –37° and 24 h in Right Ascension, at a resolution of around 3 arcminutes. We detect 81 sources (including both a known pulsar and a new pulsar candidate) with linearly polarised flux densities in excess of 18 mJy across a survey area of approximately 6 400 deg2, corresponding to a surface density of 1 source per 79 deg2. The level of Faraday rotation measured for our sources is broadly consistent with those recovered at higher frequencies, with typically more than an order of magnitude improvement in the uncertainty compared to higher-frequency measurements. However, our catalogue is likely incomplete at low Faraday rotation measures, due to our practice of excluding sources in the region where instrumental leakage appears. The majority of sources exhibit significant depolarisation compared to higher frequencies; however, a small sub-sample repolarise at 216 MHz. We also discuss the polarisation properties of four nearby, large-angular-scale radio galaxies, with a particular focus on the giant radio galaxy ESO 422–G028, in order to explain the striking differences in polarised morphology between 216 MHz and 1.4 GHz.
On-farm hatching systems for broiler chicks are increasingly used in practice. We studied whether or not performance, health and welfare aspects differed between commercial flocks hatched on-farm or in a hatchery (control). In two successive production cycles on seven farms, a total of 16 on-farm hatched flocks were paired to 16 control flocks, housed at the same farm. Paired flocks originated from the same batch of eggs and were subjected to similar on-farm management. On-farm hatched and control flocks only differed with respect to hatching conditions, with on-farm hatched flocks not being exposed to, for example, chick handling, post-hatch feed and water deprivation and transport, in contrast to control flocks that were subjected to standard hatchery procedures, subsequently transported and placed in the poultry house. Day-old chick quality (navel and hock scores), 1st week mortality, total mortality, BW at day (d) 0, d7 and at depopulation, and (total) feed conversion ratio were determined. Prevalence of footpad dermatitis, hock burn, breast discoloration/blisters and cleanliness, litter quality and gait score were determined at d21 of age and around depopulation (d39 on average). Gross pathology and gut morphology were examined at depopulation age in a sample of birds of five flocks per treatment. On-farm hatching resulted in a higher BW at d0 (Δ=5.4 g) and d7 (Δ=11.5 g) (P<0.001), but day-old chick quality as measured by navel (P=0.003) and hock (P=0.01) quality was worse for on-farm hatched compared to control birds. Body weight, 1st week and total mortality, and feed conversion ratio at slaughter age were similar for both on-farm hatched and control flocks. On-farm hatched flocks had less footpad dermatitis (P=0.05), which indicated a better welfare. This was likely related to a tendency for better litter quality in on-farm hatched flocks at 21 days of age in comparison to control flocks (P=0.08). No major differences in gross pathology or in intestinal morphology at depopulation age were found between treatments. In conclusion, on-farm hatching resulted in better 1st week broiler performance and better welfare compared to conventional hatching in a hatchery.
Due to differences in the circulation of influenza viruses, distribution and antigenic drift of A subtypes and B lineages, and susceptibility to infection in the population, the incidence of symptomatic influenza infection can vary widely between seasons and age-groups. Our goal was to estimate the symptomatic infection incidence in the Netherlands for the six seasons 2011/2012 through 2016/2017, using Bayesian evidence synthesis methodology to combine season-specific sentinel surveillance data on influenza-like illness (ILI), virus detections in sampled ILI cases and data on healthcare-seeking behaviour. Estimated age-aggregated incidence was 6.5 per 1000 persons (95% uncertainty interval (UI): 4.7–9.0) for season 2011/2012, 36.7 (95% UI: 31.2–42.8) for 2012/2013, 9.1 (95% UI: 6.3–12.9) for 2013/2014, 41.1 (95% UI: 35.0–47.7) for 2014/2015, 39.4 (95% UI: 33.4–46.1) for 2015/2016 and 27.8 (95% UI: 22.7–33.7) for season 2016/2017. Incidence varied substantially between age-groups (highest for the age-group <5 years: 23 to 47/1000, but relatively low for 65+ years: 2 to 34/1000 over the six seasons). Integration of all relevant data sources within an evidence synthesis framework has allowed the estimation – with appropriately quantified uncertainty – of the incidence of symptomatic influenza virus infection. These estimates provide valuable insight into the variation in influenza epidemics across seasons, by virus subtype and lineage, and between age-groups.
The transition period is the most critical period in the lactation cycle of dairy cows. Extended lactations reduce the frequency of transition periods, the number of calves and the related labour for farmers. This study aimed to assess the impact of 2 and 4 months extended lactations on milk yield and net partial cash flow (NPCF) at herd level, and on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per unit of fat- and protein-corrected milk (FPCM), using a stochastic simulation model. The model simulated individual lactations for 100 herds of 100 cows with a baseline lactation length (BL), and for 100 herds with lactations extended by 2 or 4 months for all cows (All+2 and All+4), or for heifers only (H+2 and H+4). Baseline lactation length herds produced 887 t (SD: 13) milk/year. The NPCF, based on revenues for milk, surplus calves and culled cows, and costs for feed, artificial insemination, calving management and rearing of youngstock, was k€174 (SD: 4)/BL herd per year. Extended lactations reduced milk yield of the herd by 4.1% for All+2, 6.9% for All+4, 1.1% for H+2 and 2.2% for H+4, and reduced the NPCF per herd per year by k€7 for All+2, k€12 for All+4, k€2 for H+2 and k€4 for H+4 compared with BL herds. Extended lactations increased GHG emissions in CO2-equivalents per t FPCM by 1.0% for All+2, by 1.7% for All+4, by 0.2% for H+2 and by 0.4% for H+4, but this could be compensated by an increase in lifespan of dairy cows. Subsequently, production level and lactation persistency were increased to assess the importance of these aspects for the impact of extended lactations. The increase in production level and lactation persistency increased milk production of BL herds by 30%. Moreover, reductions in milk yield for All+2 and All+4 compared with BL herds were only 0.7% and 1.1% per year, and milk yield in H+2 and H+4 herds was similar to BL herds. The resulting NPCF was equal to BL for All+2 and All+4 and increased by k€1 for H+2 and H+4 due to lower costs for insemination and calving management. Moreover, GHG emissions per t FPCM were equal to BL herds or reduced (0% to −0.3%) when lactations were extended. We concluded that, depending on lactation persistency, extending lactations of dairy cows can have a positive or negative impact on the NPCF and GHG emissions of milk production.