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Critical shortages of personal protective equipment especially N95 respirators during the COVID- 19 pandemic continues to be a source of concern. Novel methods of N95 filtering facepiece respirator decontamination that can be scaled-up for in-hospital use can help address this concern and keep HCWs safe.
A multidisciplinary pragmatic study was conducted to evaluate the use of an ultrasonic room high-level disinfection system (HLDS) that generates aerosolized peracetic acid (PAA) and hydrogen peroxide for decontamination of large numbers of N95 respirators. A cycle duration that consistently achieved disinfection of N95 respirators (defined as ≥6 log10 reductions in bacteriophage MS2 and Geobacillus stearothermophilus spores inoculated onto respirators) was identified. The treated masks were assessed for changes to their hydrophobicity, material structure, strap elasticity, and filtration efficiency (FE). PAA and hydrogen peroxide off-gassing from treated masks were also assessed.
The PAA room HLDS was effective for disinfection of bacteriophage MS2 and G. stearothermophilus spores on respirators in a 2447 cubic feet room with aerosol deploy and dwell times of 16 and 32 minutes, respectively. The total cycle time was 1 hour and 16 minutes. After 5 treatment cycles, no adverse effects were detected on filtration efficiency, structural integrity, or strap elasticity. There was no detectable off-gassing of PAA and hydrogen peroxide from the treated masks at 20 and 60 minutes after the disinfection cycle respectively.
The PAA room disinfection system provides a rapidly scalable solution for in-hospital decontamination of large numbers of N95 respirators during the COVID- 19 pandemic.
To slow down the transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), it is important to identify specific symptoms for effective screening. While anosmia/hyposmia and dysgeusia/ageusia have been identified as highly prevalent symptoms, there are wide geographic variations, necessitating the regional evaluation of the prevalence of the symptoms.
A cross-sectional study was performed to evaluate the self-reported symptoms among adults (over 18 years old) who underwent COVID-19 tests at an ambulatory assessment centre. We identified 1,345 patients (102 positive and 1,243 negative) who visited the assessment centre between March 16 and April 15, 2020. We randomly sampled negative patients in a 1:3 ratio. The primary outcome was the prevalence of self-reported anosmia/hyposmia and dysgeusia/ageusia. Logistic regression was performed to evaluate the association between COVID-19 positivity and loss of smell and taste.
Fifty-six of 102 (50%) positive patients and 72 of 306 (23.5%) negative patients completed the survey. Anosmia/hyposmia and dysgeusia/ageusia were more prevalent among COVID-19 positive patients (41.1% v. 4.2%, p < 0.001 for smell and 46.4% v. 5.6%, p < 0.001 for taste). Anosmia/hyposmia and dysgeusia/ageusia were independently highly associated with COVID-19 positivity (adjusted odds ratios 14.4 and 11.4 for smell and taste, respectively).
In this Canadian study, smell and taste loss may be key symptoms of COVID-19. This evidence can be helpful in the clinical diagnosis of COVID-19, particularly settings of limited testing capacity.
Neurocognitive impairments robustly predict functional outcome. However, heterogeneity in neurocognition is common within diagnostic groups, and data-driven analyses reveal homogeneous neurocognitive subgroups cutting across diagnostic boundaries.
To determine whether data-driven neurocognitive subgroups of young people with emerging mental disorders are associated with 3-year functional course.
Model-based cluster analysis was applied to neurocognitive test scores across nine domains from 629 young people accessing mental health clinics. Cluster groups were compared on demographic, clinical and substance-use measures. Mixed-effects models explored associations between cluster-group membership and socio-occupational functioning (using the Social and Occupational Functioning Assessment Scale) over 3 years, adjusted for gender, premorbid IQ, level of education, depressive, positive, negative and manic symptoms, and diagnosis of a primary psychotic disorder.
Cluster analysis of neurocognitive test scores derived three subgroups described as ‘normal range’ (n = 243, 38.6%), ‘intermediate impairment’ (n = 252, 40.1%), and ‘global impairment’ (n = 134, 21.3%). The major mental disorder categories (depressive, anxiety, bipolar, psychotic and other) were represented in each neurocognitive subgroup. The global impairment subgroup had lower functioning for 3 years of follow-up; however, neither the global impairment (B = 0.26, 95% CI −0.67 to 1.20; P = 0.581) or intermediate impairment (B = 0.46, 95% CI −0.26 to 1.19; P = 0.211) subgroups differed from the normal range subgroup in their rate of change in functioning over time.
Neurocognitive impairment may follow a continuum of severity across the major syndrome-based mental disorders, with data-driven neurocognitive subgroups predictive of functional course. Of note, the global impairment subgroup had longstanding functional impairment despite continuing engagement with clinical services.
UK Biobank is a well-characterised cohort of over 500 000 participants including genetics, environmental data and imaging. An online mental health questionnaire was designed for UK Biobank participants to expand its potential.
Describe the development, implementation and results of this questionnaire.
An expert working group designed the questionnaire, using established measures where possible, and consulting a patient group. Operational criteria were agreed for defining likely disorder and risk states, including lifetime depression, mania/hypomania, generalised anxiety disorder, unusual experiences and self-harm, and current post-traumatic stress and hazardous/harmful alcohol use.
A total of 157 366 completed online questionnaires were available by August 2017. Participants were aged 45–82 (53% were ≥65 years) and 57% women. Comparison of self-reported diagnosed mental disorder with a contemporary study shows a similar prevalence, despite respondents being of higher average socioeconomic status. Lifetime depression was a common finding, with 24% (37 434) of participants meeting criteria and current hazardous/harmful alcohol use criteria were met by 21% (32 602), whereas other criteria were met by less than 8% of the participants. There was extensive comorbidity among the syndromes. Mental disorders were associated with a high neuroticism score, adverse life events and long-term illness; addiction and bipolar affective disorder in particular were associated with measures of deprivation.
The UK Biobank questionnaire represents a very large mental health survey in itself, and the results presented here show high face validity, although caution is needed because of selection bias. Built into UK Biobank, these data intersect with other health data to offer unparalleled potential for crosscutting biomedical research involving mental health.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious mental disorder that develops in some individuals following exposure to severe psychological stressors. In this chapter, we provide an overview of the conceptual issues, specific methods, and practical considerations in evidence-based assessment of PTSD. First, we outline the conceptual issues and practical components of a comprehensive assessment of PTSD. Second, we provide an overview of the most widely used self-rated and clinician-rated measures of trauma exposure and PTSD, comorbid disorders, and response bias. Third, we discuss cultural considerations in assessing PTSD. Fourth, we offer practical guidelines for conducting a clinically sensitive assessment of PTSD, highlighting some of the unique considerations in engaging trauma survivors in the assessment process and optimizing the information obtained. Last, we briefly summarize conceptual considerations and specific measures for other trauma- and stressor-related disorders.
Prior evolutionary theory provided reason to suspect that measures of development and reproduction would be correlated with antisocial behaviours in human and non-human species. Behavioural genetics has revealed that most quantitative traits are heritable, suggesting that these phenotypic correlations may share genetic aetiologies. We use genome-wide association study data to estimate the genetic correlations between various measures of reproductive development (N = 52 776–318 863) and antisocial behaviour (N = 31 968). Our genetic correlation analyses demonstrate that alleles associated with higher reproductive output (number of children ever born, rg = 0.50, P = 0.0065) were positively correlated with alleles associated with antisocial behaviour, whereas alleles associated with more delayed reproductive onset (age at first birth, rg = −0.64, P = 0.0008) were negatively associated with alleles linked to antisocial behaviour. Ultimately, these findings coalesce with evolutionary theories suggesting that increased antisocial behaviours may partly represent a faster life history approach, which may be significantly calibrated by genes.
Due to concerns over increasing fluoroquinolone (FQ) resistance among gram-negative organisms, our stewardship program implemented a preauthorization use policy. The goal of this study was to assess the relationship between hospital FQ use and antibiotic resistance.
Large academic medical center.
We performed a retrospective analysis of FQ susceptibility of hospital isolates for 5 common gram-negative bacteria: Acinetobacter spp., Enterobacter cloacae, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Primary endpoint was the change of FQ susceptibility. A Poisson regression model was used to calculate the rate of change between the preintervention period (1998–2005) and the postimplementation period (2006–2016).
Large rates of decline of FQ susceptibility began in 1998, particularly among P. aeruginosa, Acinetobacter spp., and E. cloacae. Our FQ restriction policy improved FQ use from 173 days of therapy (DOT) per 1,000 patient days to <60 DOT per 1,000 patient days. Fluoroquinolone susceptibility increased for Acinetobacter spp. (rate ratio [RR], 1.038; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.005–1.072), E. cloacae (RR, 1.028; 95% CI, 1.013–1.044), and P. aeruginosa (RR, 1.013; 95% CI, 1.006–1.020). No significant change in susceptibility was detected for K. pneumoniae (RR, 1.002; 95% CI, 0.996–1.008), and the susceptibility for E. coli continued to decline, although the decline was not as steep (RR, 0.981; 95% CI, 0.975–0.987).
A stewardship-driven FQ restriction program stopped overall declining FQ susceptibility rates for all species except E. coli. For 3 species (ie, Acinetobacter spp, E. cloacae, and P. aeruginosa), susceptibility rates improved after implementation, and this improvement has been sustained over a 10-year period.
Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) infections remain highly prevalent. CT reinfection occurs frequently within months after treatment, likely contributing to sustaining the high CT infection prevalence. Sparse studies have suggested CT reinfection is associated with a lower organism load, but it is unclear whether CT load at the time of treatment influences CT reinfection risk. In this study, women presenting for treatment of a positive CT screening test were enrolled, treated and returned for 3- and 6-month follow-up visits. CT organism loads were quantified at each visit. We evaluated for an association of CT bacterial load at initial infection with reinfection risk and investigated factors influencing the CT load at baseline and follow-up in those with CT reinfection. We found no association of initial CT load with reinfection risk. We found a significant decrease in the median log10 CT load from baseline to follow-up in those with reinfection (5.6 CT/ml vs. 4.5 CT/ml; P = 0.015). Upon stratification of reinfected subjects based upon presence or absence of a history of CT infections prior to their infection at the baseline visit, we found a significant decline in the CT load from baseline to follow-up (5.7 CT/ml vs. 4.3 CT/ml; P = 0.021) exclusively in patients with a history of CT infections prior to our study. Our findings suggest repeated CT infections may lead to possible development of partial immunity against CT.
We evaluated the utility of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) surveillance by varying 2 parameters: admission versus weekly surveillance and perirectal swabbing versus stool sampling.
Prospective, patient-level surveillance program of incident VRE colonization.
Liver transplant surgical intensive care unit (SICU) of a tertiary-care referral medical center with a high prevalence of VRE.
All patients admitted to the SICU from June to August 2015.
We conducted a point-prevalence estimate followed by admission and weekly surveillance by perirectal swabbing and/or stool sampling. Incident colonization was defined as a negative screen followed by positive surveillance. VRE was detected by culture on Remel Spectra VRE chromogenic agar. Microbiologically-confirmed VRE bloodstream infections (BSIs) were tracked for 2 months. Statistical analyses were calculated using the McNemar test, the Fisher exact test, the t test, and the χ2 test.
In total, 91 patients underwent VRE surveillance testing. The point prevalence of VRE colonization was 60.9%; VRE prevalence on admission was 30.1%. Weekly surveillance identified an additional 7 of 28 patients (25.0%) with incident colonization. VRE BSIs were more common in VRE-colonized patients than in noncolonized patients (8 of 43 vs 2 of 48; P=.028). In a direct comparison, perirectal swabs were more sensitive than stool samples in detecting VRE (64 of 67 vs 56 of 67; P=.023). Compliance with perirectal swabbing was 89% (201 of 226) compared to 56% (127 of 226) for stool collection (P≤0.001).
We recommend weekly VRE surveillance over admission-only screening in high-burden units such as liver transplant SICUs. Perirectal swabs had greater collection compliance and sensitivity than stool samples, making them the preferred methodology. Further work may have implications for antimicrobial stewardship and infection control.
UK Biobank is a well-characterised cohort of over 500 000 participants that offers unique opportunities to investigate multiple diseases and risk factors.
An online mental health questionnaire completed by UK Biobank participants was expected to expand the potential for research into mental disorders.
An expert working group designed the questionnaire, using established measures where possible, and consulting with a patient group regarding acceptability. Case definitions were defined using operational criteria for lifetime depression, mania, anxiety disorder, psychotic-like experiences and self-harm, as well as current post-traumatic stress and alcohol use disorders.
157 366 completed online questionnaires were available by August 2017. Comparison of self-reported diagnosed mental disorder with a contemporary study shows a similar prevalence, despite respondents being of higher average socioeconomic status than the general population across a range of indicators. Thirty-five per cent (55 750) of participants had at least one defined syndrome, of which lifetime depression was the most common at 24% (37 434). There was extensive comorbidity among the syndromes. Mental disorders were associated with high neuroticism score, adverse life events and long-term illness; addiction and bipolar affective disorder in particular were associated with measures of deprivation.
The questionnaire represents a very large mental health survey in itself, and the results presented here show high face validity, although caution is needed owing to selection bias. Built into UK Biobank, these data intersect with other health data to offer unparalleled potential for crosscutting biomedical research involving mental health.
Declaration of interest
G.B. received grants from the National Institute for Health Research during the study; and support from Illumina Ltd. and the European Commission outside the submitted work. B.C. received grants from the Scottish Executive Chief Scientist Office and from The Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation during the study. C.S. received grants from the Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust during the study, and is the Chief Scientist for UK Biobank. M.H. received grants from the Innovative Medicines Initiative via the RADAR-CNS programme and personal fees as an expert witness outside the submitted work.
Long half-life biologically active fission products, such as technetium-99, present particular problems for the disposal of spent nuclear fuel (SNF). Technetium is present in relatively high concentrations in fuel (approx. 1kg tonne-1 SNF) and has very high mobility in oxidizing environments. Technetium is therefore generally removed from SNF either by solvent extraction and reduction, during the PUREX process, or by sorption via ion exchange processes. Historically technetium has been disposed of via dilution and dispersion in the sea but stringent regulations now mean that the preferred long term option is immobilization in a highly stable and durable matrix. In this contribution we have looked at the synthesis of fluorite derivative crystalline host phases based on the zirconolite structure. Samples have been characterised by X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDX), thermo-gravimetric analysis (TG), and mass spectroscopy (MS). We have used Mo as an inactive surrogate for Tc.
Administrative and surveillance data are used frequently in healthcare epidemiology and antimicrobial stewardship (HE&AS) research because of their wide availability and efficiency. However, data quality issues exist, requiring careful consideration and potential validation of data. This methods paper presents key considerations for using administrative and surveillance data in HE&AS, including types of data available and potential use, data limitations, and the importance of validation. After discussing these issues, we review examples of HE&AS research using administrative data with a focus on scenarios when their use may be advantageous. A checklist is provided to help aid study development in HE&AS using administrative data.