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It is important to understand the temporal trend of the paediatric severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) viral load to estimate the transmission potential of children in schools and communities. We determined the differences in SARS-CoV-2 viral load dynamics between nasopharyngeal samples of infected asymptomatic and symptomatic children. Serial cycle threshold values of SARS-CoV-2 from the nasopharynx of a cohort of infected children were collected for analysis. Among 17 infected children, 10 (58.8%) were symptomatic. Symptomatic children, when compared to asymptomatic children, had higher viral loads (mean cycle threshold on day 7 of illness 28.6 vs. 36.7, P = 0.02). Peak SARS-CoV-2 viral loads occurred around day 2 of illness in infected children. Although we were unable to directly demonstrate infectivity, the detection of significant amount of virus in the upper airway of asymptomatic children suggest that they have the potential to shed and transmit SARS-CoV-2. Our study highlights the importance of contact tracing and screening for SARS-CoV-2 in children with epidemiological risk factors regardless of their symptom status, in order to improve containment of the virus in the community, including educational settings.
Bipolar disorder is associated with premature mortality, but evidence is mostly derived from Western countries. There has been no research evaluating shortened lifespan in bipolar disorder using life-years lost (LYLs), which is a recently developed mortality metric taking into account illness onset for life expectancy estimation. The current study aimed to examine the extent of premature mortality in bipolar disorder patients relative to the general population in Hong Kong (HK) in terms of standardised mortality ratio (SMR) and excess LYLs, and changes of mortality rate over time.
This population-based cohort study investigated excess mortality in 12 556 bipolar disorder patients between 2008 and 2018, by estimating all-cause and cause-specific SMRs, and LYLs. Trends in annual SMRs over the 11-year study period were assessed. Study data were retrieved from a territory-wide medical-record database of HK public healthcare services.
Patients had higher all-cause [SMR: 2.60 (95% CI: 2.45–2.76)], natural-cause [SMR: 1.90 (95% CI: 1.76–2.05)] and unnatural-cause [SMR: 8.63 (95% CI: 7.34–10.03)] mortality rates than the general population. Respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases and cancers accounted for the majority of deaths. Men and women with bipolar disorder had 6.78 (95% CI: 6.00–7.84) years and 7.35 (95% CI: 6.75–8.06) years of excess LYLs, respectively. The overall mortality gap remained similar over time, albeit slightly improved in men with bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder is associated with increased premature mortality and substantially reduced lifespan in a predominantly Chinese population, with excess deaths mainly attributed to natural causes. Persistent mortality gap underscores an urgent need for targeted interventions to improve physical health of patients with bipolar disorder.
The epidemiological target of lockdowns is to drive down the effective reproduction number (Rt) to less than 1. A key unknown is the duration that lockdowns need to be in place to achieve this and which lockdown measures are effective. Daily number of laboratory confirmed community coronavirus 2019 cases were extracted from regular reports from the Ministry of Health Singapore from 20 March 2020 to 4 May 2020. We generated daily Rt to estimate the time needed for these public health lockdown measures to control the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 as demonstrated by Rt < 1. It took about 14 days of nationwide lockdown for the Rt trend to change and start falling. The upper limit of the 95% confidence interval for time to Rt < 1 was day 15 of lockdown. We have shown that it is possible to start ‘bending the Rt curve’ about 2 weeks after implementation of specific lockdown measures with strict compliance.
Ventricular enlargement is one of the most consistent brain changes associated with schizophrenia. However, there are only few cross-sectional studies in genetic at risk individuals, and no studies in individuals meeting ultra high risk (UHR) criteria of developing frank psychosis. This study investigates the timing of ventricular volume changes across the different stages of emerging psychotic disorders.
We measured ventricular volumes in 473 subjects comparing 135 UHR subjects (of whom 39 subsequently developed a psychotic illness), 162 first-episode psychosis (FEP) subjects, 89 chronic schizophrenia (CS) subjects with 87 normal controls (NC). 29 UHR, 25 FEP, 13 CS, and 24 HV had longitudinal follow up scans.
We found significant ventricular enlargement in FEP and CS, but not in UHR and NC. Longitudinal analysis confirmed ventricular enlargement in non-affective psychosis only. UHR patients had normal ventricular volumes regardless of whether they made transition to frank psychosis or not.
Our results are suggestive that ventricular enlargement is a consequence of transition and/or progression of illness rather than a risk marker in that it is apparent only after the onset of frank psychosis, with prominence in patients with schizophrenia-like psychoses. The results parallel our previous study in that hippocampal volumes were reduced in CS and normal in patients having non-schizophrenic psychoses as well in UHR individuals.
To describe the infection control preparedness measures undertaken for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) due to SARS-CoV-2 (previously known as 2019 novel coronavirus) in the first 42 days after announcement of a cluster of pneumonia in China, on December 31, 2019 (day 1) in Hong Kong.
A bundled approach of active and enhanced laboratory surveillance, early airborne infection isolation, rapid molecular diagnostic testing, and contact tracing for healthcare workers (HCWs) with unprotected exposure in the hospitals was implemented. Epidemiological characteristics of confirmed cases, environmental samples, and air samples were collected and analyzed.
From day 1 to day 42, 42 of 1,275 patients (3.3%) fulfilling active (n = 29) and enhanced laboratory surveillance (n = 13) were confirmed to have the SARS-CoV-2 infection. The number of locally acquired case significantly increased from 1 of 13 confirmed cases (7.7%, day 22 to day 32) to 27 of 29 confirmed cases (93.1%, day 33 to day 42; P < .001). Among them, 28 patients (66.6%) came from 8 family clusters. Of 413 HCWs caring for these confirmed cases, 11 (2.7%) had unprotected exposure requiring quarantine for 14 days. None of these was infected, and nosocomial transmission of SARS-CoV-2 was not observed. Environmental surveillance was performed in the room of a patient with viral load of 3.3 × 106 copies/mL (pooled nasopharyngeal and throat swabs) and 5.9 × 106 copies/mL (saliva), respectively. SARS-CoV-2 was identified in 1 of 13 environmental samples (7.7%) but not in 8 air samples collected at a distance of 10 cm from the patient’s chin with or without wearing a surgical mask.
Appropriate hospital infection control measures was able to prevent nosocomial transmission of SARS-CoV-2.
Seasonal influenza virus epidemics have a major impact on healthcare systems. Data on population susceptibility to emerging influenza virus strains during the interepidemic period can guide planning for resource allocation of an upcoming influenza season. This study sought to assess the population susceptibility to representative emerging influenza virus strains collected during the interepidemic period. The microneutralisation antibody titers (MN titers) of a human serum panel against representative emerging influenza strains collected during the interepidemic period before the 2018/2019 winter influenza season (H1N1-inter and H3N2-inter) were compared with those against influenza strains representative of previous epidemics (H1N1-pre and H3N2-pre). A multifaceted approach, incorporating both genetic and antigenic data, was used in selecting these representative influenza virus strains for the MN assay. A significantly higher proportion of individuals had a ⩾four-fold reduction in MN titers between H1N1-inter and H1N1-pre than that between H3N2-inter and H3N2-pre (28.5% (127/445) vs. 4.9% (22/445), P < 0.001). The geometric mean titer (GMT) of H1N1-inter was significantly lower than that of H1N1-pre (381 (95% CI 339–428) vs. 713 (95% CI 641–792), P < 0.001), while there was no significant difference in the GMT between H3N2-inter and H3N2-pre. Since A(H1N1) predominated the 2018–2019 winter influenza epidemic, our results corroborated the epidemic subtype.
Multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) are increasingly reported in residential care homes for the elderly (RCHEs). We assessed whether implementation of directly observed hand hygiene (DOHH) by hand hygiene ambassadors can reduce environmental contamination with MDROs.
From July to August 2017, a cluster-randomized controlled study was conducted at 10 RCHEs (5 intervention versus 5 nonintervention controls), where DOHH was performed at two-hourly intervals during daytime, before meals and medication rounds by a one trained nurse in each intervention RCHE. Environmental contamination by MRDOs, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter species (CRA), and extended-spectrum β-lactamse (ESBL)–producing Enterobacteriaceae, was evaluated using specimens collected from communal areas at baseline, then twice weekly. The volume of alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) consumed per resident per week was measured.
The overall environmental contamination of communal areas was culture-positive for MRSA in 33 of 100 specimens (33%), CRA in 26 of 100 specimens (26%), and ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae in 3 of 100 specimens (3%) in intervention and nonintervention RCHEs at baseline. Serial monitoring of environmental specimens revealed a significant reduction in MRSA (79 of 600 [13.2%] vs 197 of 600 [32.8%]; P<.001) and CRA (56 of 600 [9.3%] vs 94 of 600 [15.7%]; P=.001) contamination in the intervention arm compared with the nonintervention arm during the study period. The volume of ABHR consumed per resident per week was 3 times higher in the intervention arm compared with the baseline (59.3±12.9 mL vs 19.7±12.6 mL; P<.001) and was significantly higher than the nonintervention arm (59.3±12.9 mL vs 23.3±17.2 mL; P=.006).
The direct observation of hand hygiene of residents could reduce environmental contamination by MDROs in RCHEs.
We introduce the newly developed database of circumstellar maser sources. Until now, the compilations comprehensively including the three major maser species in evolved stars (i.e., SiO, H2O, OH) has been practically limited only to the Benson’s catalog (Benson et al. 1990), which was published more than a quarter of a century ago. For OH masers alone, there exists the University of Hamburg (UH) database, but there is no updated compilation work for H2O and SiO masers. In order to utilize the information of masers in actual studies, it is highly desirable to have a database containing all the three masers. We are currently constructing a database covering SiO, H2O and OH masers. This database consists of a web-service, which accesses compiled maser observations in available archives and combines them with the data we newly collected and IR databases. The archives currently used are the OH maser archive from Engels & Bunzel (2015), and H2O and SiO archives, which are currently under construction. So far, the information of about 27,000 observations (about 10,000 objects) has been implemented. We also have a plan to extend the database by including higher transitions and other types of objects, such as young stellar objects, in future. In this paper, we briefly summarize, (1) outline of the data collected, and (2) future development plans of the eDAMS system. The URL of the database is as follows: http://maserdb.ins.urfu.ru/
To study the association between gastrointestinal colonization of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs).
We analyzed 31,526 patients with prospective collection of fecal specimens for CPE screening: upon admission (targeted screening) and during hospitalization (opportunistic screening, safety net screening, and extensive contact tracing), in our healthcare network with 3,200 beds from July 1, 2011, through December 31, 2015. Specimens were collected at least once weekly during hospitalization for CPE carriers and subjected to broth enrichment culture and multiplex polymerase chain reaction.
Of 66,672 fecal specimens collected, 345 specimens (0.5%) from 100 patients (0.3%) had CPE. The number and prevalence (per 100,000 patient-days) of CPE increased from 2 (0.3) in 2012 to 63 (8.0) in 2015 (P<.001). Male sex (odds ratio, 1.91 [95% CI, 1.15–3.18], P=.013), presence of wound or drain (3.12 [1.70–5.71], P<.001), and use of cephalosporins (3.06 [1.42–6.59], P=.004), carbapenems (2.21 [1.10–4.48], P=.027), and PPIs (2.84 [1.72–4.71], P<.001) in the preceding 6 months were significant risk factors by multivariable analysis. Of 79 patients with serial fecal specimens, spontaneous clearance of CPE was noted in 57 (72.2%), with a median (range) of 30 (3–411) days. Comparing patients without use of antibiotics and PPIs, consumption of both antibiotics and PPIs after CPE identification was associated with later clearance of CPE (hazard ratio, 0.35 [95% CI, 0.17–0.73], P=.005).
Concomitant use of antibiotics and PPIs prolonged duration of gastrointestinal colonization by CPE.
The aims of this study were to develop and validate a prediction equation of fat-free mass (FFM) based on bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) and anthropometry using air-displacement plethysmography (ADP) as a reference in Asian neonates and to test the applicability of the prediction equations in an independent Western cohort. A total of 173 neonates at birth and 140 at two weeks of age were included. Multiple linear regression analysis was performed to develop the prediction equations in a two-third randomly selected subset and validated on the remaining one-third subset at each time point and in an independent Queensland cohort. FFM measured by ADP was the dependent variable, and anthropometric measures, sex and impedance quotient (L2/R50) were independent variables in the model. Accuracy of prediction equations was assessed using intra-class correlation and Bland–Altman analyses. L2/R50 was the significant predictor of FFM at week two but not at birth. Compared with the model using weight, sex and length, including L2/R50 slightly improved the prediction with a bias of 0·01 kg with 2 sd limits of agreement (LOA) (0·18, −0·20). Prediction explained 88·9 % of variation but not beyond that of anthropometry. Applying these equations to the Queensland cohort provided similar performance at the appropriate age. However, when the Queensland equations were applied to our cohort, the bias increased slightly but with similar LOA. BIA appears to have limited use in predicting FFM in the first few weeks of life compared with simple anthropometry in Asian populations. There is a need for population- and age-appropriate FFM prediction equations.
The response of Grapholita molesta (Busck) males to three-component sex pheromone blends containing a 100% ratio of the major sex pheromone component, (Z)-8-dodecenyl acetate and a 10% ratio of (Z)-8-dodecenol, but with varying ratios of (E)-8-dodecenyl acetate (0.4, 5.4, 10.4, 30.4, and 100.1% E-blends) was tested with populations in eight stone and pome fruit orchards in Europe, Asia, and North and South America. Traps baited with the 5.4% E-blend caught significantly more males than traps with any other blend with all populations. Significantly more males were caught in traps baited with the 10.4% E-blend than in traps with the remaining blends, except with the 0.4% E-blend in Turkey. Significant differences in male moth catches occurred between the other blends with the 0.4>30.4% E-blend, and the 30.4>100.1% E-blend. Male moth catches with the 100.1% E-blend only differed from the hexane control in Chile. No apparent differences were noted to these blends in populations collected from pome or stone fruits. Flight tunnel assays to synthetic blends with a subset of populations were similar to the field results, but the breadth of the most attractive E-blends was wider. Flight tunnel assays also demonstrated a high level of male–female cross-attraction among field-collected populations. Female gland extracts from field-collected populations did not show any significant variation in their three-component blends. The only exceptions in these assays were that long-term laboratory populations were less responsive and attractive, and produced different blend ratios of the two minor components than recently collected field populations.
From the Surface Velocity Program (SVP) drifter current data, a detailed and complete track of strong ocean currents in the north-western Pacific is provided using the bin average method. The focus of this study is on the Kuroshio, the strong western boundary current of the North Pacific flowing northward along the east coast of Taiwan and then turning eastward off southern Japan. With its average flow speed of about 2 knots, the Kuroshio can significantly increase the ship's speed for a “super-slow-steaming” container ship travelling at speeds of 12 knots between the ports of Southeast Asia and Japan. By properly utilizing knowledge of strong ocean currents to follow the Kuroshio on the northbound runs and avoid it on the return trip, considerable fuel can be saved and the transit time can be reduced. In the future, the detailed Kuroshio saving-energy route could be built into electronic chart systems for all navigators and shipping routers.
Grey matter volume and cortical thickness represent two complementary aspects of brain structure. Several studies have described reductions in grey matter volume in people at ultra-high risk (UHR) of psychosis; however, little is known about cortical thickness in this group. The aim of the present study was to investigate cortical thickness alterations in UHR subjects and compare individuals who subsequently did and did not develop psychosis.
We examined magnetic resonance imaging data collected at four different scanning sites. The UHR subjects were followed up for at least 2 years. Subsequent to scanning, 50 UHR subjects developed psychosis and 117 did not. Cortical thickness was examined in regions previously identified as sites of neuroanatomical alterations in UHR subjects, using voxel-based cortical thickness.
At baseline UHR subjects, compared with controls, showed reduced cortical thickness in the right parahippocampal gyrus (p < 0.05, familywise error corrected). There were no significant differences in cortical thickness between the UHR subjects who later developed psychosis and those who did not.
These data suggest that UHR symptomatology is characterized by alterations in the thickness of the medial temporal cortex. We did not find evidence that the later progression to psychosis was linked to additional alterations in cortical thickness, although we cannot exclude the possibility that the study lacked sufficient power to detect such differences.
Individuals at ultra-high risk (UHR) for psychosis show reduced neurocognitive performance across domains but it is unclear which reductions are associated with transition to frank psychosis. The aim of this study was to investigate differences in baseline neurocognitive performance between UHR participants with (UHR-P) and without transition to psychosis (UHR-NP) and a healthy control (HC) group and examine neurocognitive predictors of transition over the medium to long term.
A sample of 325 UHR participants recruited consecutively from the Personal Assessment and Crisis Evaluation (PACE) Clinic in Melbourne and 66 HCs completed a neurocognitive assessment at baseline. The UHR group was followed up between 2.39 and 14.86 (median = 6.45) years later. Cox regression was used to investigate candidate neurocognitive predictors of psychosis onset.
The UHR group performed more poorly than the HC group across a range of neurocognitive domains but only performance on digit symbol coding and picture completion differed between the groups. The risk of transition was only significantly associated with poorer performance on visual reproduction [hazard ratio (HR) 0.919, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.876–0.965, p = 0.001] and matrix reasoning (HR 0.938, 95% CI 0.883–0.996, p = 0.037). These remained significant even after controlling for psychopathology at baseline.
This study is the longest follow-up of an UHR sample to date. UHR status was associated with poorer neurocognitive performance compared to HCs on some tasks. Cognition at identification as UHR was not a strong predictor of risk for transition to psychosis. The results suggests the need to include more experimental paradigms that isolate discrete cognitive processes to better understand neurocognition at this early stage of illness.
At present, bulk liquid water on the surface and near-subsurface of Mars does not exist due to the scarcity of condensed- and gas-phase water, pressure and temperature constraints. Given that the nuclei of soil and ice, that is, the soil solid and ice lattice, respectively, are coated with adsorbed and/or thin liquid films of water well below 273 K and the availability of water limits biological activity, we quantify lower and upper limits for the thickness of such adsorbed/water films on the surface of the Martian regolith and for subsurface ice. These limits were calculated based on experimental and theoretical data for pure water ice and water ice containing impurities, where water ice containing impurities exhibit thin liquid film enhancements, ranging from 3 to 90. Close to the cold limit of water stability (i.e. 273 K), thin liquid film thicknesses at the surface of the Martian regolith is 0.06 nm (pure water ice) and ranges from 0.2 to 5 nm (water ice with impurities). An adsorbed water layer of 0.06 nm implies a dessicated surface as the thickness of one monolayer of water is 0.3 nm but represents 0.001–0.02% of the Martian atmospheric water vapour inventory. Taking into account the specific surface area (SSA) of surface-soil (i.e. top 1 mm of regolith and 0.06 nm adsorbed water layer), shows Martian surface-soil may contain interfacial water that represents 6–66% of the upper- and lower-limit atmospheric water vapour inventory and almost four times and 33%, the lower- and upper-limit Martian atmospheric water vapour inventory. Similarly, taking the SSA of Martian soil, the top 1 mm or regolith at 5 nm thin liquid water thickness, yields 1.10×1013 and 6.50×1013 litres of waters, respectively, 55–325 times larger than Mars’ atmospheric water vapour inventory. Film thicknesses of 0.2 and 5 nm represent 2.3×104–1.5×106 litres of water, which is 6.0×10−7–4.0×10−4%, respectively, of a 10 pr μm water vapour column, and 3.0×10−6–4.0×10−4% and 6.0×10−6–8.0×10−4%, respectively, of the Martian atmospheric water vapour inventory. Thin liquid film thicknesses on/in subsurface ice were investigated via two scenarios: (i) under the idealistic case where it is assumed that the diurnal thermal wave is equal to the temperature of ice tens of centimetres below the surface, allowing for such ice to experience temperatures close to 273 K and (ii) under the, likely, realistic scenario where the diurnal thermal wave allows for the maximum subsurface ice temperature of 235 K at 1 m depth between 30°N and 30°S. Scenario 1 yields thin liquid film thicknesses ranging from 11 to 90 nm; these amounts represent 4×106–3.0×107 litres of water. For pure water ice, Scenario 2 reveals that the thickness of thin liquid films contained on/within Martian subsurface is less than 1.2 nm, several molecular layers thick. Conversely, via the effect of impurities at 235 K allows for a thin liquid film thickness on/within subsurface ice of 0.5 nm, corresponding to 6.0×104 litres of water. The existence of thin films on Mars is supported by data from the Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs) Spirit and Opportunity's Alpha Proton X-ray Spectrometer instrumentation, which have detected increased levels of bromine beneath the immediate surface, suggestive of the mobilization of soluble salts by thin films of liquid water towards local cold traps. These findings show that biological activity on the Martian surface and subsurface is not limited by nanometre dimensions of available water.