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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.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for major depression is an effective treatment, but outcomes for complex cases, with co-occurring biological, psychological and social factors, are variable. Complexity factors can cause treatment to become diffuse, disorganized and over-complicated. At Step 3, disorder-specific protocols should be provided with therapy kept as simple as possible and delivered responsively, e.g. barriers to treatment should be tackled, ensure the client is well-prepared and seek to form a strong therapeutic alliance. At Step 4, if disorder-specific protocols have been ineffective, the priority is to formulate how complexity factors are interacting with the client's depression. An individualized formulation is used to carefully target these interactions. The treatment is still evidence-based and simple at the point of delivery, but there is greater emphasis on case-level interactions that are unique to each individual. Case examples are used to illustrate both approaches.
Human salmonellosis linked to contact with live poultry is an increasing public health concern. In 2012, eight unrelated outbreaks of human salmonellosis linked to live poultry contact resulted in 517 illnesses. In July 2012, PulseNet, a national molecular surveillance network, reported a multistate cluster of a rare strain of Salmonella Braenderup infections which we investigated. We defined a case as infection with the outbreak strain, determined by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, with illness onset from 25 July 2012–27 February 2013. Ill persons and mail-order hatchery (MOH) owners were interviewed using standardized questionnaires. Traceback and environmental investigations were conducted. We identified 48 cases in 24 states. Twenty-six (81%) of 32 ill persons reported live poultry contact in the week before illness; case-patients named 12 different MOHs from eight states. The investigation identified hatchery D as the ultimate poultry source. Sampling at hatchery D yielded the outbreak strain. Hatchery D improved sanitation procedures and pest control; subsequent sampling failed to yield Salmonella. This outbreak highlights the interconnectedness of humans, animals, and the environment and the importance of industry knowledge and involvement in solving complex outbreaks. Preventing these infections requires a ‘One Health’ approach that leverages expertise in human, animal, and environmental health.
This paper will discuss the structure-property model developed that correlates the tensile modulus to the elastic properties and angular distribution of constituent graphitic layers for carbon fiber derived from a polyethylene precursor. In addition, a high-temperature fiber tensile device was built to enable heating of carbon fiber bundles at a variable rate from 25 °C to greater than ∼2300 °C, while simultaneously applying a tensile stress. This capability combined with synchrotron wide-angle x-ray diffraction (WAXD), enabled observation in situ and in real time of the microstructural transformation from different carbon fiber precursors to high-modulus carbon fiber. Experiments conducted using PAN- and PE-derived fiber precursors reveal stark differences in their carbonization and high-temperature graphitization behavior.
We examined multistate outbreaks attributed to raw tomatoes in the United States from 1990 to 2010. We summarized the demographic and epidemiological characteristics of 15 outbreaks resulting in 1959 illnesses, 384 hospitalizations, and three deaths. Most (80%) outbreaks were reported during 2000–2010; 73% occurred May–September. Outbreaks commonly affected adult (median age 34 years) women (median 58% of outbreak cases). All outbreaks were caused by Salmonella [serotypes Newport (n = 6 outbreaks), Braenderup (n = 2), Baildon, Enteritidis, Javiana, Montevideo, Thompson, Typhimurium (n = 1 each); multiple serotypes (n = 1)]. Red, round (69% of outbreaks), Roma (23%), and grape (8%) tomatoes were implicated. Most (93%) outbreaks were associated with tomatoes served predominantly in restaurants. However, traceback investigations suggested that contamination occurred on farms, at packinghouses, or at fresh-cut processing facilities. Government agencies, academia, trade associations, and the fresh tomato industry should consider further efforts to identify interventions to reduce contamination of tomatoes during production and processing.
Significant new opportunities for astrophysics and cosmology have been identified at low radio frequencies. The Murchison Widefield Array is the first telescope in the southern hemisphere designed specifically to explore the low-frequency astronomical sky between 80 and 300 MHz with arcminute angular resolution and high survey efficiency. The telescope will enable new advances along four key science themes, including searching for redshifted 21-cm emission from the EoR in the early Universe; Galactic and extragalactic all-sky southern hemisphere surveys; time-domain astrophysics; and solar, heliospheric, and ionospheric science and space weather. The Murchison Widefield Array is located in Western Australia at the site of the planned Square Kilometre Array (SKA) low-band telescope and is the only low-frequency SKA precursor facility. In this paper, we review the performance properties of the Murchison Widefield Array and describe its primary scientific objectives.
In November 2009, we initiated a multistate investigation of Salmonella Montevideo infections with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis pattern JIXX01.0011. We identified 272 cases in 44 states with illness onset dates ranging from 1 July 2009 to 14 April 2010. To help generate hypotheses, warehouse store membership card information was collected to identify products consumed by cases. These records identified 19 ill persons who purchased company A salami products before onset of illness. A case-control study was conducted. Ready-to-eat salami consumption was significantly associated with illness (matched odds ratio 8·5, 95% confidence interval 2·1–75·9). The outbreak strain was isolated from company A salami products from an environmental sample from one manufacturing plant, and sealed containers of black and red pepper at the facility. This outbreak illustrates the importance of using membership card information to assist in identifying suspect vehicles, the potential for spices to contaminate ready-to-eat products, and preventing raw ingredient contamination of these products.
Multiple salmonellosis outbreaks have been linked to contaminated tomatoes. We investigated a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium infections among 190 cases. For hypothesis generation, review of patients' food histories from four restaurant-associated clusters in four states revealed that large tomatoes were the only common food consumed by patients. Two case-control studies were conducted to identify food exposures associated with infections. In a study conducted in nine states illness was significantly associated with eating raw, large, round tomatoes in a restaurant [matched odds ratio (mOR) 3·1, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·3–7·3]. In a Minnesota study, illness was associated with tomatoes eaten at a restaurant (OR 6·3, mid-P 95% CI 1·05–50·4, P=0·046). State, local and federal regulatory officials traced the source of tomatoes to Ohio tomato fields, a growing area not previously identified in past tomato-associated outbreaks. Because tomatoes are commonly eaten raw, prevention of tomato contamination should include interventions on the farm, during packing, and at restaurants.