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Influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are common causes of respiratory tract infections and place a burden on health services each winter. Systems to describe the timing and intensity of such activity will improve the public health response and deployment of interventions to these pressures. Here we develop early warning and activity intensity thresholds for monitoring influenza and RSV using two novel data sources: general practitioner out-of-hours consultations (GP OOH) and telehealth calls (NHS 111). Moving Epidemic Method (MEM) thresholds were developed for winter 2017–2018. The NHS 111 cold/flu threshold was breached several weeks in advance of other systems. The NHS 111 RSV epidemic threshold was breached in week 41, in advance of RSV laboratory reporting. Combining the use of MEM thresholds with daily monitoring of NHS 111 and GP OOH syndromic surveillance systems provides the potential to alert to threshold breaches in real-time. An advantage of using thresholds across different health systems is the ability to capture a range of healthcare-seeking behaviour, which may reflect differences in disease severity. This study also provides a quantifiable measure of seasonal RSV activity, which contributes to our understanding of RSV activity in advance of the potential introduction of new RSV vaccines.
A proper subgraph of a connected linear graph is said to disconnect the graph if removing it leaves a disconnected graph. In this paper we characterize, in the following sense, the disconnecting subgraphs of a fixed connected graph. We define two distinct types of disconnecting subgraphs (isthmuses and articulators) which are minimal in the sense that no proper subgraph of either type can disconnect the graph. We then show that any disconnecting subgraph must contain either an isthmus or an articulator. We also define a set of subgraphs (called dense) which form a lattice. We show that the union of the minimal dense subgraphs contains all isthmuses and articulators. In terms of these subgraphs we investigate some of the consequences of assuming that a disconnecting subgraph must contain at least m points.
Legionnaires’ disease (LD) incidence in the USA has quadrupled since 2000. Health departments must detect LD outbreaks quickly to identify and remediate sources. We tested the performance of a system to prospectively detect simulated LD outbreaks in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA. We generated three simulated LD outbreaks based on published outbreaks. After verifying no significant clusters existed in surveillance data during 2014–2016, we embedded simulated outbreak-associated cases into 2016, assigning simulated residences and report dates. We mimicked daily analyses in 2016 using the prospective space-time permutation scan statistic to detect clusters of ⩽30 and ⩽180 days using 365-day and 730-day baseline periods, respectively. We used recurrence interval (RI) thresholds of ⩾20, ⩾100 and ⩾365 days to define significant signals. We calculated sensitivity, specificity and positive and negative predictive values for daily analyses, separately for each embedded outbreak. Two large, simulated cooling tower-associated outbreaks were detected. As the RI threshold was increased, sensitivity and negative predictive value decreased, while positive predictive value and specificity increased. A small, simulated potable water-associated outbreak was not detected. Use of a RI threshold of ⩾100 days minimised time-to-detection while maximizing positive predictive value. Health departments should consider using this system to detect community-acquired LD outbreaks.
A cluster of Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+) infections with indistinguishable pulsed-field gel electrophoresis patterns was detected in October 2015. Interviews initially identified nut butters, kale, kombucha, chia seeds and nutrition bars as common exposures. Epidemiologic, environmental and traceback investigations were conducted. Thirteen ill people infected with the outbreak strain were identified in 10 states with illness onset during 18 July–22 November 2015. Eight of 10 (80%) ill people reported eating Brand A raw sprouted nut butters. Brand A conducted a voluntary recall. Raw sprouted nut butters are a novel outbreak vehicle, though contaminated raw nuts, nut butters and sprouted seeds have all caused outbreaks previously. Firms producing raw sprouted products, including nut butters, should consider a kill step to reduce the risk of contamination. People at greater risk for foodborne illness may wish to consider avoiding raw products containing raw sprouted ingredients.
To integrate electronic clinical decision support tools into clinical practice and to evaluate the impact on indwelling urinary catheter (IUC) use and catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs).
Design, Setting, and Participants
This 4-phase observational study included all inpatients at a multicampus, academic medical center between 2011 and 2015.
Phase 1 comprised best practices training and standardization of electronic documentation. Phase 2 comprised real-time electronic tracking of IUC duration. In phase 3, a triggered alert reminded clinicians of IUC duration. In phase 4, a new IUC order (1) introduced automated order expiration and (2) required consideration of alternatives and selection of an appropriate indication.
Overall, 2,121 CAUTIs, 179,070 new catheters, 643,055 catheter days, and 2,186 reinsertions occurred in 3·85 million hospitalized patient days during the study period. The CAUTI rate per 10,000 patient days decreased incrementally in each phase from 9·06 in phase 1 to 1·65 in phase 4 (relative risk [RR], 0·182; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0·153–0·216; P<·001). New catheters per 1,000 patient days declined from 53·4 in phase 1 to 39·5 in phase 4 (RR, 0·740; 95% CI, 0·730; P<·001), and catheter days per 1,000 patient days decreased from 194·5 in phase 1 to 140·7 in phase 4 (RR, 0·723; 95% CI, 0·719–0·728; P<·001). The reinsertion rate declined from 3·66% in phase 1 to 3·25% in phase 4 (RR, 0·894; 95% CI, 0·834–0·959; P=·0017).
The phased introduction of decision support tools was associated with progressive declines in new catheters, total catheter days, and CAUTIs. Clinical decision support tools offer a viable and scalable intervention to target hospital-wide IUC use and hold promise for other quality improvement initiatives.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
The increased use of the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery (MCCB) to investigate cognitive dysfunctions in schizophrenia fostered interest in its sensitivity in the context of family studies. As various measures of the same cognitive domains may have different power to distinguish between unaffected relatives of patients and controls, the relative sensitivity of MCCB tests for relative–control differences has to be established. We compared MCCB scores of 852 outpatients with schizophrenia (SCZ) with those of 342 unaffected relatives (REL) and a normative Italian sample of 774 healthy subjects (HCS). We examined familial aggregation of cognitive impairment by investigating within-family prediction of MCCB scores based on probands’ scores.
Multivariate analysis of variance was used to analyze group differences in adjusted MCCB scores. Weighted least-squares analysis was used to investigate whether probands’ MCCB scores predicted REL neurocognitive performance.
SCZ were significantly impaired on all MCCB domains. REL had intermediate scores between SCZ and HCS, showing a similar pattern of impairment, except for social cognition. Proband's scores significantly predicted REL MCCB scores on all domains except for visual learning.
In a large sample of stable patients with schizophrenia, living in the community, and in their unaffected relatives, MCCB demonstrated sensitivity to cognitive deficits in both groups. Our findings of significant within-family prediction of MCCB scores might reflect disease-related genetic or environmental factors.
In our attempt to investigate the basic active galactic nucleus (AGN) paradigm requiring a centrally located supermassive black hole (SMBH), a close to Keplerian accretion disk and a jet perpendicular to its plane, we have searched for radio continuum in galaxies with H2O megamasers in their disks. We observed 18 such galaxies with the Very Large Baseline Array in C band (5 GHz, ~2 mas resolution) and we detected 5 galaxies at 8 σ or higher levels. For those sources for which the maser data is available, the positions of masers and those of the 5 GHz radio continuum sources coincide within the uncertainties, and the radio continuum is perpendicular to the maser disk’s orientation within the position angle uncertainties.
Six radio telescopes were operated as the first southern hemisphere VLBI array in April and May 1982. Observations were made at 2.3 and 8.4 Ghz. This array produced VLBI images of 28 southern hemisphere radio sources, high accuracy VLBI geodesy between southern hemisphere sites, and subarcsecond radio astrometry of celestial sources south of declination −45 degrees. This paper discusses only the astrophysical aspects of the experiment.
Mycobacterium marinum, a bacterium found in freshwater and saltwater, can infect persons with direct exposure to fish or aquariums. During December 2013, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene learned of four suspected or confirmed M. marinum skin or soft tissue infections (SSTIs) among persons who purchased whole fish from Chinese markets. Ninety-eight case-patients with non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) SSTIs were identified with onset June 2013–March 2014. Of these, 77 (79%) were female. The median age was 62 years (range 30–91). Whole genome sequencing of clinical isolates revealed two main clusters and marked genetic diversity. Environmental samples from distributors yielded NTM though not M. marinum. We compared 56 case-patients with 185 control subjects who shopped in Chinese markets, frequency-matched by age group and sex. Risk factors for infection included skin injury to the finger or hand (odds ratio [OR]: 15·5; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 6·9–37·3), hand injury while preparing fish or seafood (OR 8·3; 95% CI 3·8–19·1), and purchasing tilapia (OR 3·6; 95% CI 1·1–13·9) or whiting (OR 2·7; 95% CI 1·1–6·6). A definitive environmental outbreak source was not identified.
Historical outbreaks can be an important source of information in the understanding of norovirus evolution and epidemiology. Here, we revisit an outbreak of undiagnosed gastroenteritis that occurred in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania in 1972. Nearly 5000 people fell ill over the course of 10 days. Symptoms included diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and fever, lasting for a median of 24 h. Using current techniques, including next-generation sequencing of full-length viral genomic amplicons, we identified an unusual norovirus recombinant (GII.Pg/GII.3) in nine of 15 available stool samples from the outbreak. This particular recombinant virus has not been reported in recent decades, although GII.3 and GII.Pg genotypes have been detected individually in current epidemic strains. The consensus nucleotide sequences were nearly identical among the four viral genomes analysed, although each strain had three to seven positions in the genome with heterogenous non-synonymous nucleotide subpopulations. Two of these resulting amino acid polymorphisms were conserved in frequency among all four cases, consistent with common source exposure and successful transmission of a mixed viral population. Continued investigation of variant nucleotide populations and recombination events among ancestral norovirus strains such as the Shippensburg virus may provide unique insight into the origin of contemporary strains.
Toxigenic strains of Vibrio cholerae serogroups O1 and O139 have caused cholera epidemics, but other serogroups – such as O75 or O141 – can also produce cholera toxin and cause severe watery diarrhoea similar to cholera. We describe 31 years of surveillance for toxigenic non-O1, non-O139 infections in the United States and map these infections to the state where the exposure probably originated. While serogroups O75 and O141 are closely related pathogens, they differ in how and where they infect people. Oysters were the main vehicle for O75 infection. The vehicles for O141 infection include oysters, clams, and freshwater in lakes and rivers. The patients infected with serogroup O75 who had food traceback information available ate raw oysters from Florida. Patients infected with O141 ate oysters from Florida and clams from New Jersey, and those who only reported being exposed to freshwater were exposed in Arizona, Michigan, Missouri, and Texas. Improving the safety of oysters, specifically, should help prevent future illnesses from these toxigenic strains and similar pathogenic Vibrio species. Post-harvest processing of raw oysters, such as individual quick freezing, heat-cool pasteurization, and high hydrostatic pressurization, should be considered.
Although mental disorders are significant predictors of educational attainment throughout the entire educational career, most research on mental disorders among students has focused on the primary and secondary school years.
The World Health Organization World Mental Health Surveys were used to examine the associations of mental disorders with college entry and attrition by comparing college students (n = 1572) and non-students in the same age range (18–22 years; n = 4178), including non-students who recently left college without graduating (n = 702) based on surveys in 21 countries (four low/lower-middle income, five upper-middle-income, one lower-middle or upper-middle at the times of two different surveys, and 11 high income). Lifetime and 12-month prevalence and age-of-onset of DSM-IV anxiety, mood, behavioral and substance disorders were assessed with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI).
One-fifth (20.3%) of college students had 12-month DSM-IV/CIDI disorders; 83.1% of these cases had pre-matriculation onsets. Disorders with pre-matriculation onsets were more important than those with post-matriculation onsets in predicting subsequent college attrition, with substance disorders and, among women, major depression the most important such disorders. Only 16.4% of students with 12-month disorders received any 12-month healthcare treatment for their mental disorders.
Mental disorders are common among college students, have onsets that mostly occur prior to college entry, in the case of pre-matriculation disorders are associated with college attrition, and are typically untreated. Detection and effective treatment of these disorders early in the college career might reduce attrition and improve educational and psychosocial functioning.
This study examined subjective and objective cognitive functioning in 26 female breast cancer survivors (BCS) who received chemotherapy treatment that finished .5 to 5 years prior to testing and compared their results to 25 demographically matched women with no history of cancer. Participants were assessed on prospective memory (PM) tasks; neuropsychological tests of processing speed, attentional flexibility with greater cognitive load, executive function, and verbal memory; self-report measures of cognitive dysfunction and PM failures; and distress. The BCS group showed significantly slower speed of processing and reduced attentional flexibility, and reported significantly more cognitive complaints and PM failures than the control group on five of six self-report measures. The groups did not differ on other PM or neuropsychological measures or on a measure of distress. Subjective cognition correlated with some neuropsychological tests and with a virtual reality PM task. Objective cognitive impairments were associated with reduced quality of life in the BCS group. The results provide some evidence of both self-reported impairment and objective cognitive dysfunction following chemotherapy treatment.
We summarise the first year of operation of the Medium Deep Survey - a key project of the HST. Two fields in the LMC are discussed and some preliminary scientific results presented. We also comment on image deconvolution for the extragalactic fields observed as part of the Medium Deep Survey.
With HST and WFPC2, galaxies in the Medium Deep Survey can be reliably classified to magnitudes I814 ≲ 22.0 in the F814W band, at a mean redshift . The main result is the relatively high proportion (~40%) of objects which are in some way irregular or anomalous, and which are of relevance in understanding the origin of the familiar excess population of faint galaxies. These diverse objects include compact galaxies, apparently interacting pairs, galaxies with superluminous starforming regions and diffuse low surface brightness galaxies of various forms. The ‘irregulars’ and ‘peculiar’ galaxies contribute most of the excess counts in the I-band at our limiting magnitude, and may explain the ‘faint blue galaxy’ problem.
Throughout the triennium, Commission 6 has interacted with the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams (CBAT), most ably headed by Brian Marsden. As will be seen from his report below, the use by scientists of the Circulars for rapid dissemination of astronomical and related news continues unabated.
The committee of the Carte du Ciel in 1910 adopted the following convention : That for Ao stars between magnitudes 5·5 and 6·5 the mean photographic magnitude should equal the mean Harvard visual magnitude. As a corollary, the colour index of Ao stars would then be zero.
The zero point of the photographic magnitudes of the International Polar Sequence was fixed as nearly as possible in accordance with this definition; but it was by no means certain that the magnitudes thus adopted for the few stars of the Sequence represented the zero point defined by all the Ao stars specified.