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To investigate a Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) outbreak event involving multiple healthcare facilities in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; to characterize transmission; and to explore infection control implications.
Cases presented in 4 healthcare facilities in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: a tertiary-care hospital, a specialty pulmonary hospital, an outpatient clinic, and an outpatient dialysis unit.
Contact tracing and testing were performed following reports of cases at 2 hospitals. Laboratory results were confirmed by real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) and/or genome sequencing. We assessed exposures and determined seropositivity among available healthcare personnel (HCP) cases and HCP contacts of cases.
In total, 48 cases were identified, involving patients, HCP, and family members across 2 hospitals, an outpatient clinic, and a dialysis clinic. At each hospital, transmission was linked to a unique index case. Moreover, 4 cases were associated with superspreading events (any interaction where a case patient transmitted to ≥5 subsequent case patients). All 4 of these patients were severely ill, were initially not recognized as MERS-CoV cases, and subsequently died. Genomic sequences clustered separately, suggesting 2 distinct outbreaks. Overall, 4 (24%) of 17 HCP cases and 3 (3%) of 114 HCP contacts of cases were seropositive.
We describe 2 distinct healthcare-associated outbreaks, each initiated by a unique index case and characterized by multiple superspreading events. Delays in recognition and in subsequent implementation of control measures contributed to secondary transmission. Prompt contact tracing, repeated testing, HCP furloughing, and implementation of recommended transmission-based precautions for suspected cases ultimately halted transmission.
We explore the transformation of a site into a place of remembrance by evaluating the life history of an urnfield at Cerro de Trincheras, Sonora, Mexico. Prehispanic inhabitants used this cemetery as a cremation burial ground ca. AD 1300–1450. Memory of the cemetery persisted into historical times among inhabitants of the area, but its use changed. We argue that critical and contextualized approaches to cemeteries are needed to understand the complexity of how burial spaces are used through time.
The Taipan galaxy survey (hereafter simply ‘Taipan’) is a multi-object spectroscopic survey starting in 2017 that will cover 2π steradians over the southern sky (δ ≲ 10°, |b| ≳ 10°), and obtain optical spectra for about two million galaxies out to z < 0.4. Taipan will use the newly refurbished 1.2-m UK Schmidt Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory with the new TAIPAN instrument, which includes an innovative ‘Starbugs’ positioning system capable of rapidly and simultaneously deploying up to 150 spectroscopic fibres (and up to 300 with a proposed upgrade) over the 6° diameter focal plane, and a purpose-built spectrograph operating in the range from 370 to 870 nm with resolving power R ≳ 2000. The main scientific goals of Taipan are (i) to measure the distance scale of the Universe (primarily governed by the local expansion rate, H0) to 1% precision, and the growth rate of structure to 5%; (ii) to make the most extensive map yet constructed of the total mass distribution and motions in the local Universe, using peculiar velocities based on improved Fundamental Plane distances, which will enable sensitive tests of gravitational physics; and (iii) to deliver a legacy sample of low-redshift galaxies as a unique laboratory for studying galaxy evolution as a function of dark matter halo and stellar mass and environment. The final survey, which will be completed within 5 yrs, will consist of a complete magnitude-limited sample (i ⩽ 17) of about 1.2 × 106 galaxies supplemented by an extension to higher redshifts and fainter magnitudes (i ⩽ 18.1) of a luminous red galaxy sample of about 0.8 × 106 galaxies. Observations and data processing will be carried out remotely and in a fully automated way, using a purpose-built automated ‘virtual observer’ software and an automated data reduction pipeline. The Taipan survey is deliberately designed to maximise its legacy value by complementing and enhancing current and planned surveys of the southern sky at wavelengths from the optical to the radio; it will become the primary redshift and optical spectroscopic reference catalogue for the local extragalactic Universe in the southern sky for the coming decade.
Attentional impairment is a core cognitive feature of major depressive disorder (MDD) and bipolar disorder (BD). However, little is known of the characteristics of response time (RT) distributions from attentional tasks. This is crucial to furthering our understanding of the profile and extent of cognitive intra-individual variability (IIV) in mood disorders.
A computerized sustained attention task was administered to 138 healthy controls and 158 patients with a mood disorder: 86 euthymic BD, 33 depressed BD and 39 medication-free MDD patients. Measures of IIV, including individual standard deviation (iSD) and coefficient of variation (CoV), were derived for each participant. Ex-Gaussian (and Vincentile) analyses were used to characterize the RT distributions into three components: mu and sigma (mean and standard deviation of the Gaussian portion of the distribution) and tau (the ‘slow tail’ of the distribution).
Compared with healthy controls, iSD was increased significantly in all patient samples. Due to minimal changes in average RT, CoV was only increased significantly in BD depressed patients. Ex-Gaussian modelling indicated a significant increase in tau in euthymic BD [Cohen's d = 0.39, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.09–0.69, p = 0.011], and both sigma (d = 0.57, 95% CI 0.07–1.05, p = 0.025) and tau (d = 1.14, 95% CI 0.60–1.64, p < 0.0001) in depressed BD. The mu parameter did not differ from controls.
Increased cognitive variability may be a core feature of mood disorders. This is the first demonstration of differences in attentional RT distribution parameters between MDD and BD, and BD depression and euthymia. These data highlight the utility of applying measures of IIV to characterize neurocognitive variability and the great potential for future application.
We discuss the universality and self-similarity of void density profiles, for voids in realistic mock luminous red galaxy (LRG) catalogues from the Jubilee simulation, as well as in void catalogues constructed from the SDSS LRG and Main Galaxy samples. Voids are identified using a modified version of the ZOBOV watershed transform algorithm, with additional selection cuts. We find that voids in simulation are self-similar, meaning that their average rescaled profile does not depend on the void size, or – within the range of the simulated catalogue – on the redshift. Comparison of the profiles obtained from simulated and real voids shows an excellent match. The profiles of real voids also show a universal behaviour over a wide range of galaxy luminosities, number densities and redshifts. This points to a fundamental property of the voids found by the watershed algorithm, which can be exploited in future studies of voids.
Several studies demonstrating that central line–associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) are preventable prompted a national initiative to reduce the incidence of these infections.
We conducted a collaborative cohort study to evaluate the impact of the national “On the CUSP: Stop BSI” program on CLABSI rates among participating adult intensive care units (ICUs). The program goal was to achieve a unit-level mean CLABSI rate of less than 1 case per 1,000 catheter-days using standardized definitions from the National Healthcare Safety Network. Multilevel Poisson regression modeling compared infection rates before, during, and up to 18 months after the intervention was implemented.
A total of 1,071 ICUs from 44 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, reporting 27,153 ICU-months and 4,454,324 catheter-days of data, were included in the analysis. The overall mean CLABSI rate significantly decreased from 1.96 cases per 1,000 catheter-days at baseline to 1.15 at 16–18 months after implementation. CLABSI rates decreased during all observation periods compared with baseline, with adjusted incidence rate ratios steadily decreasing to 0.57 (95% confidence intervals, 0.50–0.65) at 16–18 months after implementation.
Coincident with the implementation of the national “On the CUSP: Stop BSI” program was a significant and sustained decrease in CLABSIs among a large and diverse cohort of ICUs, demonstrating an overall 43% decrease and suggesting the majority of ICUs in the United States can achieve additional reductions in CLABSI rates.
The XMM-Newton spectral-fit database is an ongoing ESA funded project aimed to construct a catalogue of spectral-fitting results for all the sources within the XMM-Newton serendipitous source catalogue for which spectral data products have been pipeline-extracted (≳ 120,000 X-ray source detections). The fundamental goal of this project is to provide the astronomical community with a tool to construct large and representative samples of X-ray sources by allowing source selection according to spectral properties.
Previous studies of neurocognitive performance in bipolar disorder (BD) have focused predominantly on euthymia. In this study we aimed to compare the neurocognitive profile of BD patients when depressed with healthy controls and explore the component structure of neurocognitive processes in these populations.
Cognitive tests of attention and executive function, immediate memory, verbal and visuospatial learning and memory and psychomotor speed were administered to 53 patients with a SCID-verified diagnosis of BD depression and 47 healthy controls. Test performance was assessed in terms of statistical significance, effect size and percentile standing. Principal component analysis (PCA) was used to explore underlying cognitive factor structure.
Multivariate analysis revealed an overall group effect, depressed BD patients performing significantly worse than controls. Patients performed significantly worse on 18/26 measures examined, with large effect sizes (d > 0.8) on tests of speed of processing, verbal learning and specific executive/working memory processes. Almost all tests produced at least one outcome measure on which ∼25–50% of the BD sample performed at more than 1 standard deviation (s.d.) below the control mean. Between 20% and 34% of patients performed at or below the fifth percentile of the control group in working memory, verbal learning and memory, and psychomotor/processing speed. PCA highlighted overall differences between groups, with fewer extracted components and less specificity in patients.
Overall, neurocognitive test performance is significantly reduced in BD patients when depressed. The use of different methods of analysing cognitive performance is highlighted, along with the relationship between processes, indicating important directions for future research.
We performed a thorough investigation of mid-infrared heavy-to-light hole intersubband absorption in the valence band of p-doped GaAs quantum wells with AlAs barriers. For the p-type doping a high-purity solid carbon source was used. The experimental results are compared with theoretical simulations. The inclusion of layer inter-diffusion well reproduces the transition energies. We estimate a 6-10 Å inter-diffusion length that is consistent with electron microscopy measurements. A careful analysis of our results provides valuable information for further design of emitters and detectors based on hole intersubband transitions in the valence band.
A primary challenge to the industrial uptake of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSC) is the ability to improve manufacturing efficiency. New thinking is required in terms of lowering cost, improving the process steps and increasing throughput. The typical manufacture of a DSC contains a number of long process steps; the sintering and dyeing of the TiO2 are prime examples. The current solution is to batch process on rigid substrates or use long energy intensive convection ovens for flexible metal substrates. Here we present a method for reducing some of the bottlenecks in the manufacturing process using near infra red radiation to speed up the thermal treatment of TiO2 and silver inks reducing their processing times to 12 and 2 seconds from normal process times of 30 and 10 minutes respectively.
Thin films of SnO2 were prepared via wet chemical method and deposited by dip-coating on glass substrate. The annealing temperatures of the samples were 300, 400, 500 and 600o C, respectively. Water vapor sensor responses were measured and the experimental results are tested using the Freundlich model. The better water vapor sensitivities were obtained for annealing temperatures of 500 and 600oC, respectively. The samples were characterized morphological and structurally by SEM, XRD, Mössbauer spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy. The fringes features in the ultraviolet-visible region indicate films thickness around 370 nm. The results are discussed in terms of the fine grain size of the samples.
Laryngopharyngeal reflux is a controversial but increasingly made diagnosis used in patients with a collection of often non-specific laryngeal symptoms. It is a clinical diagnosis, and its pathophysiology is currently poorly understood.
Previous reflux research has focused on injurious agents, acid, pepsin and biomarker expression. Failure of intrinsic defences in the larynx may cause changes in laryngeal epithelia, particularly alterations in carbonic anhydrases and E-cadherin. Carbonic anhydrase III levels vary in the larynx in response to laryngopharyngeal reflux, depending on location. Expression of E-cadherin, a known tumour suppressor, is reduced in the presence of reflux. Mucin expression also varies according to the severity of reflux.
Further research is required to define the clinical entity of laryngopharyngeal reflux, and to identify a definitive mechanism for mucosal injury. Understanding this mechanism should allow the development of a comprehensive model, which would enable future diagnostic and therapeutic interventions to be developed.
The UK was one of few European countries to document a substantial wave of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 influenza in summer 2009. The First Few Hundred (FF100) project ran from April–June 2009 gathering information on early laboratory-confirmed cases across the UK. In total, 392 confirmed cases were followed up. Children were predominantly affected (median age 15 years, IQR 10–27). Symptoms were mild and similar to seasonal influenza, with the exception of diarrhoea, which was reported by 27%. Eleven per cent of all cases had an underlying medical condition, similar to the general population. The majority (92%) were treated with antiviral drugs with 12% reporting adverse effects, mainly nausea and other gastrointestinal complaints. Duration of illness was significantly shorter when antivirals were given within 48 h of onset (median 5 vs. 9 days, P=0·01). No patients died, although 14 were hospitalized, of whom three required mechanical ventilation. The FF100 identified key clinical and epidemiological characteristics of infection with this novel virus in near real-time.
The numbers and serotypes of Clostridium perfringens present in the faeces of three groups of hospital patients and young healthy laboratory workers were examined in studies lasting between 10 and 13 weeks.
In one hospital some long-stay geriatric patients carried relatively high numbers of C. perfringens (> 107/g) most of the time and it was not unusual in any one week for the majority of these patients to carry the same serotype(s). However, the numbers of C. perfringens in the faeces of young long-stay patients in the same hospital were in the range of 103–104/g and carriage of common serotypes was not observed. These results were similar to the findings with the young laboratory workers.
This investigation indicates that two of the laboratory criteria often used in the investigation of C. perfringens food poisoning, i.e. faecal counts of ≥ 105C. perfringens/g and patients carrying the same serological type need to be interpreted with caution with suspected outbreaks involving some groups of geriatric long-stay hospital patients.
The purpose of this study was to compare the occurrence of tuberculosis (TB) and the outcome of treatment between TB patients living in urban and rural areas. Cases of TB reported from 2001 to 2003 in England and Wales were assigned to a rural or urban area classification. The outcome of interest, non-completion of treatment, was investigated to determine the odds ratio for urban vs. rural residence. The effects of age, sex, ethnicity, place of birth, time since arrival in the United Kingdom, disease site, isoniazid resistance and previous diagnosis were adjusted for by multivariable logistic regression. Crude odds ratios showed a significantly higher level of treatment non-completion in rural areas. These results became non-significant (OR 1·02, 95% CI 0·83–1·26, P=0·82) after adjusting for the confounding effects of ethnic group and age. In England and Wales residence in a rural location is not an independent determinant of TB treatment outcome failure.