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Pathogen spillover from wildlife to humans or domestic animals requires a series of conditions to align with space and time. Comparing these conditions between times and locations where spillover does and does not occur presents opportunities to understand the factors that shape spillover risk. Bovine rabies transmitted by vampire bats was first confirmed in 1911 and has since been detected across the distribution of vampire bats. However, Uruguay is an exception. Uruguay was free of bovine rabies until 2007, despite high-cattle densities, the presence of vampire bats and a strong surveillance system. To explore why Uruguay was free of bovine rabies until recently, we review the historic literature and reconstruct the conditions that would allow rabies invasion into Uruguay. We used available historical records on the abundance of livestock and wildlife, the vampire bat distribution and occurrence of rabies outbreaks, as well as environmental modifications, to propose four alternative hypotheses to explain rabies virus emergence and spillover: bat movement, viral invasion, surveillance failure and environmental changes. While future statistical modelling efforts will be required to disentangle these hypotheses, we here show how a detailed historical analysis can be used to generate testable predictions for the conditions leading to pathogen spillover.
Thalénite-(Y), ideally Y3Si3O10F, is a heavy-rare-earth-rich silicate phase occurring in granite pegmatites that may help to illustrate rare-earth element (REE) chemistry and behaviour in natural systems. The crystal structure and mineral chemistry of thalénite-(Y) were analysed by electron microprobe analysis, X-ray diffraction and micro-Raman spectroscopy from a new locality in the peralkaline granite of the Golden Horn batholith, Okanogan County, Washington State, USA, in comparison with new analyses from the White Cloud pegmatite in the Pikes Peak batholith, Colorado, USA. The Golden Horn thalénite-(Y) occurs as late-stage sub-millimetre euhedral bladed transparent crystals in small miarolitic cavities in an arfvedsonite-bearing biotite granite. It exhibits growth zoning with distinct heavy-rare-earth element (HREE) vs. light-rare-earth element (LREE) enriched zones. The White Cloud thalénite-(Y) occurs in two distinct anhedral and botryoidal crystal habits of mostly homogenous composition. In addition, minor secondary thalénite-(Y) is recognized by its distinct Yb-rich composition (up to 0.8 atoms per formula unit (apfu) Yb). Single-crystal X-ray diffraction analysis and structure refinement reveals Y-site ordering with preferential HREE occupation of Y2 vs. Y1 and Y3 REE sites. Chondrite normalization shows continuous enrichment of HREE in White Cloud thalénite-(Y), in contrast to Golden Horn thalénite-(Y) with a slight depletion of the heaviest REE (Tm, Yb and Lu). The results suggest a hydrothermal origin of the Golden Horn miarolitic thalénite-(Y), compared to a combination of both primary magmatic followed by hydrothermal processes responsible for the multiple generations over a range of spatial scales in White Cloud thalénite-(Y).
The main goal of this work consisted in cloning, purifying and characterizing a protein phosphatase 2C (PP2C) from promastigotes of Leishmania major. The gene was cloned and amplified by PCR using specific oligonucleotides and the recombinant protein was purified by affinity chromatography. The peak with maximal protein concentration was analysed by sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and revealed a protein of 44·9 kDa with PP2C activity. This activity was dependent on divalent cations (Mg+2 and Mn+2) and was optimal at pH of 8·5, using phosphothreonine as the substrate. Sanguinarine inhibited the activity of the recombinant LmPP2C, while protein tyrosine phosphatase inhibitors had no effect. The recombinant LmPP2C was used to generate polyclonal antibodies. These antibodies recognized a protein of 44·9 kDa in different Leishmania species; the LmPP2C was localized in the flagellar pocket and the flagellum of promastigotes.
Bats (Order: Chiroptera) have been widely studied as reservoir hosts for viruses of concern for human and animal health. However, whether bats are equally competent hosts of non-viral pathogens such as bacteria remains an important open question. Here, we surveyed blood and saliva samples of vampire bats from Peru and Belize for hemotropic Mycoplasma spp. (hemoplasmas), bacteria that can cause inapparent infection or anemia in hosts. 16S rRNA gene amplification of blood showed 67% (150/223) of common vampire bats (Desmodus rotundus) were infected by hemoplasmas. Sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene amplicons revealed three novel genotypes that were phylogenetically related but not identical to hemoplasmas described from other (non-vampire) bat species, rodents, humans, and non-human primates. Hemoplasma prevalence in vampire bats was highest in non-reproductive and young individuals, did not differ by country, and was relatively stable over time (i.e., endemic). Metagenomics from pooled D. rotundus saliva from Peru detected non-hemotropic Mycoplasma species and hemoplasma genotypes phylogenetically similar to those identified in blood, providing indirect evidence for potential direct transmission of hemoplasmas through biting or social contacts. This study demonstrates vampire bats host several novel hemoplasmas and sheds light on risk factors for infection and basic transmission routes. Given the high frequency of direct contacts that arise when vampire bats feed on humans, domestic animals, and wildlife, the potential of these bacteria to be transmitted between species should be investigated in future work.
Serious gaming is the use of games for purposes beyond entertainment. In this paper, we investigate the use of serious gaming as a tool for research into decision-making in engineering systems design. Serious gaming provides a fully controllable environment in which to study the decision-making behavior of engineers in simulated design scenarios. However, given the nature of games and their inherent association with entertainment, it is possible that gaming environments themselves induce unexpected, or unrepresentative behavior. We present two experiments in which we investigate serious gaming as a research tool. Both experiments deal with design decisions in the presence of sunk costs and compare two approaches for communicating the decision-making scenario: (1) an interactive game and (2) a written narrative. The written narrative approach for communicating decision-making scenarios is a widely used and accepted technique for decision-making research. We find that behavior observed in the game variants did not significantly differ from behavior observed in their written narrative equivalents. This result builds confidence for the use of game-based research approaches. However, the results in this paper suggest that response distributions collected from a game have more noise than those from an equivalent written narrative.
Accurate weed emergence models are valuable tools for scheduling planting, cultivation, and herbicide applications. Multiple models predicting giant ragweed emergence have been developed, but none have been validated in diverse crop rotation and tillage systems, which have the potential to influence weed emergence patterns. This study evaluated the performance of published giant ragweed emergence models across various crop rotations and spring tillage dates in southern Minnesota. Across experiments, the most robust model was a mixed-effects Weibull (flexible sigmoidal function) model predicting emergence in relation to hydrothermal time accumulation with a base temperature of 4.4 C, a base soil matric potential of −2.5 MPa, and two random effects determined by overwinter growing degree days (GDD) (10 C) and precipitation accumulated during seedling recruitment. The deviations in emergence between individual plots and the fixed-effects model were distinguished by the positive association between the lower horizontal asymptote (Drop) and maximum daily soil temperature during seedling recruitment. This finding indicates that crops and management practices that increase soil temperature will have a shorter lag phase at the start of giant ragweed emergence compared with practices promoting cool soil temperatures. Thus, crops with early-season crop canopies such as perennial crops and crops planted in early spring and in narrow rows will likely have a slower progression of giant ragweed emergence. This research provides a valuable assessment of published giant ragweed emergence models and illustrates that accurate emergence models can be used to time field operations and improve giant ragweed control across diverse cropping systems.
Using in situ data from 2011 and 2013, we evaluate the ability of CryoSat-2 (CS-2) to retrieve sea-ice freeboard over fast ice in McMurdo Sound. This provides the first systematic validation of CS-2 in the coastal Antarctic and offers insight into the assumptions currently used to process CS-2 data. European Space Agency Level 2 (ESAL2) data are compared with results of a Waveform Fitting (WfF) procedure and a Threshold-First-Maximum-Retracker-Algorithm employed at 40% (TFMRA40). A supervised freeboard retrieval procedure is used to reduce errors associated with sea surface height identification and radar velocity in snow. We find ESAL2 freeboards located between the ice and snow freeboard rather than the frequently assumed snow/ice interface. WfF is within 0.04 m of the ice freeboard but is influenced by variable snow conditions causing increased radar backscatter from the air/snow interface. Given such snow conditions and additional uncertainties in sea surface height identification, a positive bias of 0.14 m away from the ice freeboard is observed. TFMRA40 freeboards are within 0.03 m of the snow freeboard. The separation of freeboard estimates is primarily driven by the different assumptions of each retracker, although waveform alteration by variations in snow properties and surface roughness is evident. Techniques are amended where necessary, and automatic freeboard retrieval procedures for ESAL2, WfF and TFMRA40 are presented. CS-2 detects annual fast-ice freeboard trends using all three automatic procedures that are in line with known sea-ice growth rates in the region.
Engagement and training of educators in student mental health holds promise for promoting access to care as a task sharing strategy but has not been well-studied in low-income regions.
We used a prospective and convergent mixed methods design to evaluate a customized school mental health 2½ day training for teachers in rural Haiti (n = 22) as the initial component of formative research developing a school-based intervention to promote student mental health. Training prepared teachers to respond to student mental health needs by providing psychoeducational and practical support to facilitate access to care. We examined level of participation and evaluated feasibility, acceptability, and perceived effectiveness by calculating mean scores on self-report Likert-style items eliciting participant experience. We examined effectiveness of the training on improving mental health knowledge and attitudes by comparing mean scores on an assessment administered pre- and post-training. Finally, we examined self-report written open-ended responses and focus group discussion (FGD) interview data bearing on perceived feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness to contextualize participant ratings of training and to identify recommendations for enhancing the utility of mental health training locally for educators.
Mean scores of knowledge and attitudes significantly improved between the pre-test and post-tests; e.g., knowledge improved from 58% correct at baseline to 68% correct on the second post-test (p = 0.039). Mean ratings of the training were favorable across all categories and FGD data demonstrated widespread participant endorsement of training acceptability and effectiveness; participants recommended extending the duration and number of training sessions.
Findings support feasibility, acceptability, and a limited scope of effectiveness of brief mental health training for secondary school teachers in Haiti. Further development of approaches to engage teachers in promoting school mental health through training is warranted.
This paper briefly describes the principle of operation and science goals of the AMANDA high energy neutrino telescope located at the South Pole, Antarctica. Results from an earlier phase of the telescope, called AMANDA-BIO, demonstrate both reliable operation and the broad astrophysical reach of this device, which includes searches for a variety of sources of ultrahigh energy neutrinos: generic point sources, Gamma-Ray Bursts and diffuse sources. The predicted sensitivity and angular resolution of the telescope were confirmed by studies of atmospheric muon and neutrino backgrounds. We also report on the status of the analysis from AMANDA-II, a larger version with far greater capabilities. At this stage of analysis, details of the ice properties and other systematic uncertainties of the AMANDA-II telescope are under study, but we have made progress toward critical science objectives. In particular, we present the first preliminary flux limits from AMANDA-II on the search for continuous emission from astrophysical point sources, and report on the search for correlated neutrino emission from Gamma Ray Bursts detected by BATSE before decommissioning in May 2000. During the next two years, we expect to exploit the full potential of AMANDA-II with the installation of a new data acquisition system that records full waveforms from the in-ice optical sensors.
Real-time detection of microlensing has moved from proof of concept in 1994 (Udalski et al. 1994a, Alcock et al. 1994) to a steady stream of events this year. Global dissemination of these events by the MACHO and OGLE collaborations has made possible intensive photometric and spectroscopic follow up from widely dispersed sites confirming the microlensing hypothesis (Benetti 1995). Improved photometry and increased temporal resolution from follow up observations greatly increases the possibility of detecting deviations from the standard point-source, point-lens, inertial motion microlensing model. These deviations are crucial in understanding individual lensing systems by breaking the degeneracy between lens mass, position and velocity. We report here on GMAN (Global Microlensing Alert Network), the coordinated follow up of MACHO alerts.
Gravitational microlensing is the most straightforward interpretation of the stellar brightenings that have been observed by our team and other experiments. These data have provided some of the most stringent limits to date on the nature of the Galaxy's dark matter halo. The number of events seen towards the LMC indicate that our Galaxy is not surrounded by a “standard” halo of MACHOs in the mass range of 10–6 to 0.3 solar masses. The observed optical depth towards the Galactic Center is an important constraint on the distribution of mass in the plane of the Galaxy.
The MACHO microlensing experiment's time-sampled photometry database contains blue and red lightcurves for nearly 9 million stars in the central bar region of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). We have identified known LMC Planetary Nebulae (PN) in the database and find one, Jacoby 5, to be variable. We additionally present data on the “parent populations” of LMC PN, and discuss the star formation history of the LMC bar.
We positionally match sources observed by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS), and the Faint Images of the Radio Sky at Twenty-cm (FIRST) survey. Practically all 2MASS sources are matched to an SDSS source within 2 arcsec; ~11% of them are optically resolved galaxies and the rest are dominated by stars. About 1/3 of FIRST sources are matched to an SDSS source within 2 arcsec; ~80% of these are galaxies and the rest are dominated by quasars. Based on these results, we project that by the completion of these surveys the matched samples will include about 107 stars and 106 galaxies observed by both SDSS and 2MASS, and about 250,000 galaxies and 50,000 quasars observed by both SDSS and FIRST. Here we present a preliminary analysis of the optical, infrared and radio properties for the extragalactic sources from the matched samples. In particular, we find that the fraction of quasars with stellar colors missed by the SDSS spectroscopic survey is probably not larger than ~10%, and that the optical colors of radio-loud quasars are ~0.05 mag. redder (with 4σ significance) than the colors of radio-quiet quasars.
A review of the properties of Type II Cepheids and RV Tauri stars in the Magellanic Clouds is presented. In the behaviour of their light and colour curves, the RV Tauri stars appear to be a direct extension of the Type II Cepheids to longer periods. A single P – L – C relationship describes both the Type II Cepheids and RV Tauri stars in the LMC. The derived high intrinsic magnitudes for the RV Tauri variables supports the proposition that these objects are luminous stars evolving off the AGB. Preliminary analysis of the long time-series MACHO photometry indicates one star (MACHO*05:37:45.0–69:54:16) has an obvious ‘period-quadrupled’ periodicity, which is supporting evidence for a period-doubling bifurcation transition to chaotic pulsations.
We present the first results of the analysis of 22 Blazhko stars. We find: 1) Blazhko RRab stars that are nearly pure amplitude modulators; 2) Blazhko RRab stars that have both amplitude and phase modulation; 3) A Blazhko RRab star that has an abrupt period change; 4) Proof of the Blazhko effect in RRc stars. Our data show the character of the amplitude and phase modulations of the light curves over the Blazhko cycles far better than has been previously possible.
We present the first massive frequency analysis of the 1200 first overtone RR Lyrae stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud observed in the first 4.3 yr of the MACHO project. Besides the many new double-mode variables, we also discovered stars with closely spaced frequencies. These variables are most probably nonradial pulsators.
Several studies in the last decade have explored dramatic instances of refractive fringing in dynamic spectra. We draw attention to a subtler but more widespread refractive effect: wisp-like structures extending (either linearly or with curvature) outward from the origin in the secondary spectrum plane. We have employed a simple pinhole screen simulation to investigate this phenomenon. It appears that the presence of one or more wisps in a secondary spectrum indicates a clump of scattering material that is significantly offset from the optical axis. Unlike the dramatic fringing events that have been investigated in the past, however, the interference that gives rise to a wisp is interference between rays within a scattering clump rather than between two major ray bundles. Furthermore, the scattering clump must be significantly elongated along the direction of pulsar motion. The range of fringe spacings that this produces, all with a similar slope in the secondary spectrum, gives rise to the linear extent of the wisp in the secondary spectrum.
We present the largest homogeneous survey of redshift > 4.4 damped Lyα systems (DLAs) using the spectra of 163 quasars that comprise the Giant Gemini GMOS (GGG) survey. With this survey we make the most precise high-redshift measurement of the cosmological mass density of neutral hydrogen, ΩHI. After correcting for systematic effects using a combination of mock and higher-resolution spectra, we find ΩHI= 0.98+0.20-0.18 × 10−3 at 〈z〉 = 4.9, assuming a 20% contribution from lower column density systems below the DLA threshold. By comparing to literature measurements at lower redshifts, we show that ΩHI can be described by the functional form ΩHI(z) ∝ (1 + z)0.4. This gradual decrease from z = 5 to 0 suggests that in the galaxies which dominate the cosmic star formation rate, Hi is a transitory gas phase fuelling star formation which must be continually replenished by more highly-ionized gas from the intergalactic medium, and from recycled galactic winds.
Estimates of the proportion of illness transmitted by food for different enteric pathogens are essential for foodborne burden-of-disease studies. Owing to insufficient scientific data, a formal synthesis of expert opinion, an expert elicitation, is commonly used to produce such estimates. Eleven experts participated in an elicitation to estimate the proportion of illnesses due to food in Australia for nine pathogens over three rounds: first, based on their own knowledge alone; second, after being provided with systematic reviews of the literature and Australian data; and finally, at a workshop where experts reflected on the evidence. Estimates changed significantly across the three rounds (P = 0·002) as measured by analysis of variance. Following the workshop in round 3, estimates showed smoother distributions with significantly less variation for several pathogens. When estimates were combined to provide combined distributions for each pathogen, the width of these combined distributions reflected experts’ perceptions of the availability of evidence, with narrower intervals for pathogens for which evidence was judged to be strongest. Our findings show that the choice of expert elicitation process can significantly influence final estimates. Our structured process – and the workshop in particular – produced robust estimates and distributions appropriate for inclusion in burden-of-disease studies.