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We report two cases of respiratory toxigenic Corynebacterium diphtheriae infection in fully vaccinated UK born adults following travel to Tunisia in October 2019. Both patients were successfully treated with antibiotics and neither received diphtheria antitoxin. Contact tracing was performed following a risk assessment but no additional cases were identified. This report highlights the importance of maintaining a high index of suspicion for re-emerging infections in patients with a history of travel to high-risk areas outside Europe.
The human microbiome is one of the most exciting areas of microbiology. From a starting point of tens of papers annually a couple of decades ago, there are now thousands of papers published every year on the microbiome. Huge strides have been made in terms of defining the individual members of complex human microbiomes from different body sites. The individuality and diversity of the human microbiome almost surpasses our ability to comprehend it. Advances in metagenomics and computational sciences have increased the complexity of the field, while at the same time we have moved from regarding the human microbiome as a benign passenger to a situation where it has been linked to almost every chronic disease, including obesity, cancer and infectious disease. The microbiome tantalizes us with the promise of novel therapeutic molecules and modalities for a range of intractable diseases. And yet, very few microbiome-based therapies have made it to the clinic or the pharmacy and we still cannot really define a healthy microbiome. We are entering the most exciting phase of microbiome research, as we develop effective, evidence-based interventions to preserve and restore human health. But we need rigour and numeracy if we are to realize this vision.
T-Tauri stars (TTS) are late-type pre-main-sequence (PMS) stars that are gravitationally contracting towards the MS. Those that possess a massive accretion disc are known as classical T-Tauri stars (cTTSs), and those that have exhausted the gas in their inner discs are known as weak-line T-Tauri stars (wTTSs). Magnetic fields largely dictate the angular momentum evolution of TTS and can affect the formation and migration of planets. Thus, characterizing their magnetic fields is critical for testing and developing stellar dynamo models, and trialling scenarios currently invoked to explain low-mass star and planet formation. The MaTYSSE programme (Magnetic Topologies of Young Stars and the Survival of close-in Exoplanets) aims to determine the magnetic topologies of ~30 wTTSs and monitor the long-term topology variability of ~5 cTTSs. We present several wTTSs that have been magnetically mapped thus far (using Zeeman Doppler Imaging), where we find a much wider range of field topologies compared to cTTSs and MS dwarfs with similar internal structures.
Interacting binaries provide unique parameter regimes, both rapid rotation and tidal distortion, in which to test stellar dynamo theories and study the resulting magnetic activity. Close binaries such as cataclysmic variables (CVs) have been found to differentially rotate, and so can provide testbeds for tidal dissipation efficiency in stellar convective envelopes, with implications for both CV and planet-star evolution. Furthermore, CVs show evidence of preferential emergence of magnetic flux tubes towards the companion star, as well as large, long-lived prominences that form preferentially within the binary geometry. Moreover, RS CVn binaries also show clear magnetic interactions between the two components in the form of coronal X-ray emission. Here, we review several examples of magnetic interactions in different types of close binaries.
Sensitive, high resolution observations of Galactic neutral hydrogen (Hi) reveal an intricate network of slender linear features, much as sensitive surveys of dust in Galactic molecular clouds reveal ubiquitous filamentary structure. Across the high Galactic latitude sky, diffuse Histructures are aligned with the interstellar magnetic field, as revealed by background starlight polarization (Clark, Peek, & Putman 2014) and by Planck 353 GHz polarized dust emission (Clark et al. 2015). These discoveries were enabled by the Rolling Hough Transform, a recently developed, open source machine vision algorithm.
The antimalarial drug artemisinin (ART) is commercially extracted from the medicinal plant Artemisia annua L. Here, we report the screening of 70 A. annua plants representing 14 diverse germplasm accessions sourced from around the world, and identify lines containing >2% ART. These extremely high-yielding individuals have been maintained as vegetative clones, and they represent promising germplasm resources for future A. annua breeding programmes.
Faecal moisture content can determine whether faeces appear soft or firm, and faecal character can influence whether owners are satisfied with a dog food. In a previous study, dogs appeared to produce softer faeces after noon. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether time of defecation affected canine faecal water content. A total of eight hound dogs were fed one of four canned diets as a single meal each morning for 1 week per diet in a Latin square design. All four diets contained approximately 77 % moisture and, on a DM basis, 24 MJ/kg gross energy, 23 % crude protein, 32 % crude fat, 31 % N-free extract and 1 % crude fibre. The proportion of dietary protein from soya-derived texturised vegetable protein (TVP):beef was 0:100, 14:86, 29:71 and 57:43, respectively. Soya carbohydrate partially replaced maize starch as TVP increased. Faeces were collected by direct catch during the sixth morning and afternoon of each diet period. Mean faecal moisture content was greater in the afternoon than in the morning (79 v. 71 %; P = 0·01) and increased with dietary TVP (P ≤ 0·0001), and there was an interaction between time of day and percentage TVP (P = 0·003). Faecal moisture content differed from morning to afternoon only with TVP in the diet. Faecal wet weight was similar from morning to afternoon. This suggests that time of day and presence of TVP from soya should be taken into account when evaluating the effect of a diet on faecal form and moisture content in dogs fed once daily.
The purpose of the present review is to highlight some of the challenges and issues in developing nutritional guidelines for companion animals, and to provide some insights that may influence their future direction. For this purpose, we have chosen to provide a brief historical review of the development of dog and cat nutrient guidelines, and an analysis of current recommendations and of key institutions and bodies (notably the National Research Council) that are influential in defining nutrient guidelines for companion animals. In addition, we have also included a review of current approaches for defining nutritional guidelines for humans and farm animal livestock, as they provide differing perspectives and insights that may be instructive for the future development of nutritional guidelines for companion animals.
On most dairy farms teat dips are applied to the teats of cows either before or after milking in order to prevent pathogens from gaining access to the mammary gland via the teat canal. In the present experiments, a natural teat dip was developed using a fermentate containing the live bacterium Lactococcus lactis DPC 3251. This bacterium produces lacticin 3147, a two-component lantibiotic which was previously shown to effectively kill Gram-positive mastitis pathogens. Lacticin 3147 activity in the fermentate was retained at 53% of its original level following storage for 3 weeks at 4°C. In the initial experiments in vitro, 105 colony-forming units/ml (cfu/ml) of either Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus dysgalactiae or Streptococcus uberis were introduced into the lacticin-containing fermentate. Neither Staph. aureus nor Str. dysgalactiae could be detected after 30 min or 15 min, respectively, while Str. uberis was reduced approximately 100-fold after 15 min. Following these trials, preliminary experiments were performed in vivo on teats of lactating dairy cows. In these experiments, teats were coated with each of the challenge organisms and then dipped with the lacticin-containing fermented teat dip. Following a dip contact time of 10 min, staphylococci were reduced by 80% when compared with the undipped control teat. Streptococcal challenges were reduced by 97% for Str. dysgalactiae and by 90% for Str. uberis. These trials showed that the teat dip is able to reduce mastitis pathogens on the teats of lactating cows.
This chapter explores the vulnerability of two areas, located in central and eastern Massachusetts (Figures 11.1 and 11.4), to the effects of drought. Consistent with the dominant trend in the climate change and global environmental change literatures, we define vulnerability in terms of three principal dimensions: exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity (Turner et al.,2003; Parry et al. 2007). This chapter explores the exposure and sensitivity of the region by referencing the local climate, social and biophysical landscapes, and human drivers of landscape change. Adaptive capacity is discussed in terms of the factors associated with, on the one hand, groups of people and elements of the social power structure (e.g., government), and, on the other hand, individual people and small groups of individuals. These two sets of factors are termed, respectively, structure and agency. Understanding structure and agency is important for understanding the vulnerability of different places, or of a given place over a period of time.
This chapter consists of a vulnerability assessment of the Central Massachusetts study site, completed in 2004, and of the Eastern Massachusetts study site, completed in 2005. The later research builds on the earlier research. Each case study starts with a description of local changes in land- and water-use patterns, and ends with a description of exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity (i.e., vulnerability), with a special focus on the relative roles of structure and agency.
Mastitis is one of the most costly diseases to the dairy farming industry. Conventional antibiotic therapy is often unsatisfactory for successful treatment of mastitis and alternative treatments are continually under investigation. We have previously demonstrated, in two separate field trials, that a probiotic culture, Lactococcus lactis DPC 3147, was comparable to antibiotic therapy to treat bovine mastitis. To understand the mode of action of this therapeutic, we looked at the detailed immune response of the host to delivery of this live strain directly into the mammary gland of six healthy dairy cows. All animals elicited signs of udder inflammation 7 h post infusion. At this time, clots were visible in the milk of all animals in the investigation. The most pronounced increase in immune gene expression was observed in Interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-8, with highest expression corresponding to peaks in somatic cell count. Infusion with a live culture of a Lc. lactis leads to a rapid and considerable innate immune response.
A treatment containing a live food-grade organism, Lactococcus lactis DPC3147, was compared with conventional antibiotic therapy for its potential to treat bovine chronic subclinical or clinical mastitis in two separate field trials. Effects on disease symptoms and bacteriology were monitored in response to infusion with the culture in each trial. In the first trial, the live culture treatment was compared with an intramammary antibiotic (n=11 quarters for each treatment). Results from this small trial demonstrated that the live culture had potential to be as effective at eliminating chronic subclinical infections as an antibiotic treatment. By day 12, 7 of the 11 quarters treated with the live culture were pathogen-free compared with 5 of the 11 antibiotic-treated infected quarters. Somatic cell counts (SCC) remained relatively unchanged regardless of treatment: average log SCC pre- and post-treatment in the lactococci-treated group were 6·33±0·41 (day 0) and 6·27±0·43 cells/ml (day 12) and average log SCC pre- and post-treatment in the antibiotic-treated group were 6·34±0·37 and 6·22±0·46 cells/ml on day 0 and on day 12, respectively. In the second trial, the live culture was compared with an intramammary antibiotic for the treatment of naturally occurring clinical mastitis cases (n=25 quarters for each treatment). Following a 14-d experimental period, similar bacteriological responses were observed in 7 out of 25 live culture treated quarters and 9 out of 25 antibiotic-treated quarters. Additionally, 15 of 25 cases treated with the culture and 18 of 25 cases treated with the antibiotic did not exhibit clinical signs of the disease following treatment. The results of these trials suggest that live culture treatment with Lc. lactis DPC3147 may be as efficacious as common antibiotic treatments in some instances.
In the accompanying article, we demonstrated that a live culture of Lactococcus lactis compares favourably with antibiotics for treatment of bovine mastitis in two initial field trials. In an effort to explain the mechanism involved, this study investigated the effect of culture administration on the local immune response. In this respect we initially observed that infusion of the live culture Lactococcus lactis stimulated substantial recruitment of polymorphonucleocytes (PMN) and lymphocytes to the udder. For instance, in one assay, quarters infused with the probiotic experienced a dramatic increase (~20 000-fold) in neutrophils over the first 48-h period from an average value of 83·6 cells/ml pre-treatment to 1·78×106 cells/ml 48 h post-infusion. Levels of the acute phase proteins haptaglobin and milk amyloid A were also elevated significantly in comparison with controls following infusion of the culture. The results of flow cytometric assays also demonstrated that while infusion of a live lactococcal culture led to an enhanced recruitment of PMN to the udder (from 1·85×104 cells/ml pre-infusion to 1·45×106 cells/ml 24 h post-infusion) cell-free supernatant from the same culture was not able to do so, indicating that live Lc. lactis can specifically trigger the mammary immune response to elicit PMN accumulation. These results suggest that the mechanism responsible for this probiotic treatment of mastitis is associated with stimulation of the host intramammary immune system.
Despite recent concerns about the high prevalence of sub-clinical vitamin D deficiency in adolescents, relatively few studies have investigated the underlying reasons. The objective of the present study was to investigate the prevalence and predictors of vitamin D inadequacy among a large representative sample of adolescents living in Northern Ireland (54–55°N). Serum concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) were analysed by enzyme-immunoassay in a subgroup of 1015 of the Northern Ireland Young Hearts 2000 cohort; a cross-sectional study of 12 and 15 year-old boys and girls. Overall mean 25(OH)D concentration throughout the year was 64·3 (range 5–174) nmol/l; 56·7 and 78·1 nmol/l during winter and summer, respectively. Reported intakes of vitamin D were very low (median 1·7 μg/d). Of those adolescents studied, 3 % and 36 % were vitamin D deficient and inadequate respectively, as defined by serum 25(OH)D concentrations < 25 and < 50 nmol/l. Of the subjects, 46 % and 17 % had vitamin D inadequacy during winter and summer respectively. Gender differences were also evident with 38 % and 55 % of boys and girls respectively classified as vitamin D inadequate during winter (P < 0·001). Predictors of vitamin D inadequacy during winter were vitamin D intake and gender. In conclusion, there is a high prevalence of vitamin D inadequacy in white-skinned adolescents in Northern Ireland, particularly during wintertime and most evident in girls. There is a clear need for dietary recommendations for vitamin D in this age group and for creative strategies to increase overall vitamin D status in the population.
Researchers from across the social sciences have found consistent deviations from the predictions of the canonical model of self-interest in hundreds of experiments from around the world. This research, however, cannot determine whether the uniformity results from universal patterns of human behavior or from the limited cultural variation available among the university students used in virtually all prior experimental work. To address this, we undertook a cross-cultural study of behavior in ultimatum, public goods, and dictator games in a range of small-scale societies exhibiting a wide variety of economic and cultural conditions. We found, first, that the canonical model – based on self-interest – fails in all of the societies studied. Second, our data reveal substantially more behavioral variability across social groups than has been found in previous research. Third, group-level differences in economic organization and the structure of social interactions explain a substantial portion of the behavioral variation across societies: the higher the degree of market integration and the higher the payoffs to cooperation in everyday life, the greater the level of prosociality expressed in experimental games. Fourth, the available individual-level economic and demographic variables do not consistently explain game behavior, either within or across groups. Fifth, in many cases experimental play appears to reflect the common interactional patterns of everyday life.
We would like to thank the commentators for their generous comments, valuable insights and helpful suggestions. We begin this response by discussing the selfishness axiom and the importance of the preferences, beliefs, and constraints framework as a way of modeling some of the proximate influences on human behavior. Next, we broaden the discussion to ultimate-level (that is evolutionary) explanations, where we review and clarify gene-culture coevolutionary theory, and then tackle the possibility that evolutionary approaches that exclude culture might be sufficient to explain the data. Finally, we consider various methodological and epistemological concerns expressed by our commentators.
The global population of the Critically Endangered Raso Lark Alauda razae was estimated in January 2003 at 93–103 birds and in November 2003 at 76–87 birds. Of these, only 25–35% were females. Counts were based on observations of individually colour-ringed and measured birds. Birds were not breeding during the January visit, and were concentrated in two small areas at opposite ends of the island of Raso. This distribution differed substantially from that recorded previously during the breeding season. Three different feeding strategies were apparent: flocking, aggregating around key resources and feeding singly or in pairs. Birds moving to new feeding areas immediately adopted the feeding strategy of other birds present. Birds were seen drinking seawater on several occasions. In November 2003, birds were breeding but nest survival was extremely low due to high rates of egg predation. No evidence was detected of introduced predators on Raso. However, a population of feral cats was found on nearby Santa Luzia, prohibiting natural colonization or deliberate introduction of Raso Lark to the island, despite much apparently suitable habitat there. Faecal analyses showed that these cats feed largely on skinks. Increased tourism development on neighbouring islands is identified as a potential threat to the species.