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Norovirus, a major cause of gastroenteritis in people of all ages worldwide, was first reported in South Korea in 1999. The most common causal agents of pediatric acute gastroenteritis are norovirus and rotavirus. While vaccination has reduced the pediatric rotavirus infection rate, norovirus vaccines have not been developed. Therefore, prediction and prevention of norovirus are very important. Norovirus is divided into genogroups GI–GVII, with GII.4 being the most prevalent. However, in 2012–2013, GII.17 showed a higher incidence than GII.4 and a novel variant, GII.P17-GII.17, appeared. In this study, 204 stool samples collected in 2013–2014 were screened by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction; 11 GI (5.39%) and 45 GII (22.06%) noroviruses were identified. GI.4, GI.5, GII.4, GII.6 and GII.17 were detected. The whole genomes of the three norovirus GII.17 were sequenced. The whole genome of GII.17 consists of three open reading frames of 5109, 1623 and 780 bp. Compared with 20 GII.17 strains isolated in other countries, we observed numerous changes in the protruding P2 domain of VP1 in the Korean GII.17 viruses. Our study provided genome information that might aid in epidemic prevention, epidemiology studies and vaccine development.
This study investigated patient characteristics in paediatric hospitalisations for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. We used Nationwide Inpatient Sample, which is the largest all-payer inpatient database in the United States, yielding nationally representative estimates, from 2001 to 2014. ICD-9-CM diagnostic codes identified hospitalisations for patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and <18 years. Outcomes included yearly rate of hospitalisation, death, admission via emergency department, and need for surgery. Predictors of interest were age groups (<1, 1–9, and ⩾10 y/o), sex, and race/ethnicity. Logistic regression modelled associations, adjusted by patient- and hospital-level variables. With 2302 weighted hospitalisations, hospitalisation rates were 0.22 per 100,000 children/year, with higher rates for <1 y/o (0.42) and ⩾10 y/o (0.31). Male-to-female ratios were more prominent in the oldest age group; 2.7:1 in ⩾10 y/o versus less than 1.7:1 for <10 y/o. In-hospital mortality was 1.5%, with highest mortality rates among the <1 y/o (6.3%). Children ⩾10 y/o had 5.59 times higher risk of admission from the emergency department than 1–9 y/o age group. Both ⩾10 and <1 y/o age groups had lower risk of surgical intervention compared to the 1–9 y/o group with odds ratio 0.56 and 0.26, respectively. Black children had higher risk of admission from the emergency department than White children with odds ratio 2.78. A relation between age group and sex was observed, with sex-based differences in prevalence and treatment of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy becoming more pronounced with age. Further studies are needed to clarify mechanisms behind age and racial disparity in hospitalisation, especially admission source.
We investigated the clinical predictors of methicillin-resistance and their impact on mortality in 371 patients with Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia identified from two prospective multi-centre studies. Methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA) accounted for 42.2% of community-onset and 74.5% of hospital-onset cases. No significant clinical difference was found between patients infected with MRSA vs. methicillin-sensitive S. aureus (MSSA), except that the former were more likely to have had hospital-onset bacteraemia and received antibiotics in the preceding 90 days. After stratifying according to the acquisition site, prior antibiotic use was the only independent predictor of having MRSA in both community-onset and hospital-onset cases. The frequency of inappropriate empirical antibiotic therapy was higher in patients with MRSA than in those with MSSA bacteraemia. However, methicillin resistance was not a predictor of mortality in patients and the clinical characteristics and outcomes of both MRSA and MSSA bacteraemia were similar. This study indicates that there are no definitive clinical or epidemiological risk factors which could distinguish MRSA from MSSA cases with the exception of the previous use of antibiotics for having MRSA bacteraemia, which emphasises the prudent use of glycopeptide treatment of patients at risk for invasive MRSA infections.
Human bocaviruses (HBoVs) have been detected in human gastrointestinal infections worldwide. In 2005, HBoV was also discovered in infants and children with infections of the lower respiratory tract. Recently, several genotypes of this parvovirus, including HBoV genotype 2 (HBoV2), genotype 3 (HBoV3) and genotype 4 (HBoV4), were discovered and found to be closely related to HBoV. HBoV2 was first detected in stool samples from children in Pakistan, followed by detection in other countries. HBoV3 was detected in Australia and HBoV4 was identified in stool samples from Nigeria, Tunisia and the USA. Recently, HBoV infection has been on the rise throughout the world, particularly in countries neighbouring South Korea; however, there have been very few studies on Korean strains. In this study, we characterised the whole genome and determined the phylogenetic position of CUK-BC20, a new clinical HBoV strain isolated in South Korea. The CUK-BC20 genome of 5184 nucleotides (nt) contains three open-reading frames (ORFs). The genotype of CUK-BC20 is HBoV2, and 98.77% of its nt sequence is identical with those of other HBoVs, namely Rus-Nsc10-N386. Especially, the ORF3 amino acid sequences from positions 212–213 and 454 corresponding to a variable region (VR)1 and VR5, respectively, showed genotype-specific substitutions that distinguished the four HBoV genotypes. As the first whole-genome sequence analysis of HBoV in South Korea, this information will provide a valuable reference for the detection of recombination, tracking of epidemics and development of diagnosis methods for HBoV.
Improving understanding of the pathogen-specific seasonality of enteric infections is critical to informing policy on the timing of preventive measures and to forecast trends in the burden of diarrhoeal disease. Data obtained from active surveillance of cohorts can capture the underlying infection status as transmission occurs in the community. The purpose of this study was to characterise rotavirus seasonality in eight different locations while adjusting for age, calendar time and within-subject clustering of episodes by applying an adapted Serfling model approach to data from a multi-site cohort study. In the Bangladesh and Peru sites, within-subject clustering was high, with more than half of infants who experienced one rotavirus infection going on to experience a second and more than 20% experiencing a third. In the five sites that are in countries that had not introduced the rotavirus vaccine, the model predicted a primary peak in prevalence during the dry season and, in three of these, a secondary peak during the rainy season. The patterns predicted by this approach are broadly congruent with several emerging hypotheses about rotavirus transmission and are consistent for both symptomatic and asymptomatic rotavirus episodes. These findings have practical implications for programme design, but caution should be exercised in deriving inferences about the underlying pathways driving these trends, particularly when extending the approach to other pathogens.
Little is known about the combined use of benzodiazepines and antidepressants in older psychiatric patients. This study examined the prescription pattern of concurrent benzodiazepines in older adults treated with antidepressants in Asia, and explored its demographic and clinical correlates.
The data of 955 older adults with any type of psychiatric disorders were extracted from the database of the Research on Asian Psychotropic Prescription Patterns for Antidepressants (REAP-AD) project. Demographic and clinical characteristics were recorded using a standardized protocol and data collection procedure. Both univariate and multiple logistic regression analyses were performed.
The proportion of benzodiazepine and antidepressant combination in this cohort was 44.3%. Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that higher doses of antidepressants, younger age (<65 years), inpatients, public hospital, major comorbid medical conditions, antidepressant types, and country/territory were significantly associated with more frequent co-prescription of benzodiazepines and antidepressants.
Nearly, half of the older adults treated with antidepressants in Asia are prescribed concurrent benzodiazepines. Given the potentially adverse effects of benzodiazepines, the rationale of benzodiazepines and antidepressants co-prescription needs to be revisited.
Radiocarbon (14C) is a radionuclide generated mainly through neutron-induced reactions in all types of nuclear reactors. Since most of the 14C released into the environment is in the form of gaseous emissions (CO2 and hydrocarbons), terrestrial plants are the primary indicators of increased 14C levels near nuclear power plants (NPPs). In 2013–2014, we collected samples of silver grasses (including common reed) and pine needles within 3 km of four South Korean NPP centers and measured 14C activities using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) at Seoul National University. The highest 14C activities were observed, respectively, in Wolsong>Hanul>Kori>Hanbit [220, 143, 127, and 123% modern carbon (pMC)].
Extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) production has been very rare in serotype K1 Klebsiella pneumoniae ST23 strains, which are well-known invasive community strains. Among 92 ESBL-producing strains identified in 218 isolates from nine Asian countries, serotype K1 K. pneumoniae strains were screened. Two ESBL-producing K. pneumoniae isolates from Singapore and Indonesia were determined to be serotype K1 and ST23. Their plasmids, which contain CTX-M-15 genes, are transferable rendering the effective transfer of ESBL resistance plasmids to other organisms.
The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of maternal protein or energy restriction on hormonal and metabolic status of pregnant goats during late gestation and their postnatal male kids. Forty-five pregnant goats were fed a control (CON), 40% protein-restricted (PR) or 40% energy-restricted (ER) diet from 90 days of gestation until parturition. Plasma of mothers (90, 125 and 145 days of gestation) and kids (6 weeks of age) were sampled to determine metabolites and hormones. Glucose concentration for pregnant goats subjected to PR or ER was less (P<0.001) than that of CON goats at 125 and 145 days of gestation. However, plasma nonesterified fatty acids concentration was greater (P<0.01) at 125 and 145 days for PR and ER than CON. Protein restriction increased (P<0.01) maternal cortisol concentration by 145 days of gestation, and ER decreased (P<0.01) maternal insulin concentration at 125 days of gestation. Moreover, maternal amino acid (AA) concentrations were affected by nutritional restriction, with greater (P<0.05) total AA (TAA) and nonessential AA (NEAA) for PR goats but less (P<0.05) TAA and NEAA for ER goats at 125 days of gestation. After 6 weeks of nutritional recovery, plasma concentrations of most metabolic and hormonal parameters in restricted kids were similar to CON kids, except for reduced (P<0.05) insulin concentration in ER, and reduced (P<0.05) Asp concentration in PR and ER kids. These results provide information on potential metabolic mechanisms responsible for fetal programming.
For the success of PAL-XFEL, two critical systems, namely a low emittance injector and a variable gap out-vacuum undulator, are under development. In order to realize the target emittance of the PAL-XFEL injector we carried out an optimization study of various parameters, such as the laser beam transverse profile, the laser pulse length, the laser phase, and the gun energy. The transverse emittance measured at the Injector Test Facility (ITF) is
. An undulator prototype based on the EU-XFEL design and modified for PAL-XFEL was built and tested. A local-
pole tuning procedure was developed and tested. A significant reduction (90%) of the local-
fluctuation was observed. The requirement of undulator field reproducibility better than
and the undulator gap setting accuracy below
were achieved for the prototype. The optical phase jitter after the pole height tuning at the tuning gap was calculated to be
rms, which satisfies the requirement of
Batch cultures of mixed rumen micro-organisms were used to evaluate varying enzyme products with high xylanase activity (EPX), four of which were recombinant single xylanase activity developmental enzyme products (EPX1–EPX4, products of xylanase genes derived from Trichoderma harzianum, Trichoderma reesei, Orpinomyces and Aspergillus oryzae, respectively), for their potential to improve in vitro ruminal fermentation of three forages [maize (Zea mays) stover (MS), rice (Oryza sativa) straw (RS) and Guimu No. 1 grass (Pennisetum americanum×Pennisetum purpureum, GM)]. The enzyme product EPX5, derived from Trichoderma longibrachiatum, was used as a positive control that could improve in vitro fermentation of forages. Enzymes were supplied at dose rates of 0 (control), 20 (low), 50 (medium) and 80 (high) enzymic units of xylanase/g of dry matter (DM). There were no interactions between EPX and dose for the fermentation characteristics evaluated. Increasing EPX dose linearly increased gas production (GP) kinetic characters [i.e. asymptotic GP (VF), half time when GP is half of the theoretical maximum GP (t0·5), and initial fractional rate of degradation (FRD0)] and methane (CH4) production from RS and GM at 24 h, and increased degradability of DM at 24 h for MS and RS. A linear increase in degradability of neutral detergent fibre (NDF) of the three forages at 24 h was observed with increasing dose of EPX, but at 48 h only NDF degradability of RS was increased. There were differences in the effects of EPX on degradability of DM and NDF from RS at 24 h, with EPX4 having the highest and EPX1 having the lowest. In addition, increasing EPX dose linearly increased acetate proportion at 24 h and total volatile fatty acids (TVFA) at 48 h in MS. Increasing EPX dose linearly increased TVFA at 24 h, and ammonia-nitrogen (NH3-N) concentration at 48 h in RS. For GM, linear or quadratic effects of dose on acetate and butyrate concentration were observed at 24 and 48 h. The present study indicates that applying EPX to low-quality forages has the potential to improve rumen degradability and utilization. Furthermore, EPX from different sources differed in their effects when applied at the same dose rate, with the responses being forage-specific. For RS, the EPX derived from A. oryzae showed the greatest positive effects on forage degradation; whereas for MS and GM, the source of micro-organism where EPX gene was derived did not affect the degradation, with little difference among the EPX evaluated.
Depression is common after acute coronary syndrome (ACS) with adverse effects on prognosis. There is little evidence on whether depression treatment improves quality of life (QoL) in ACS patients. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of co-morbid depression and its treatment on QoL in ACS.
In total, 1152 patients were recruited at baseline, 2–14 weeks after a confirmed ACS episode, and 828 were followed 1 year thereafter. Of 446 baseline participants with co-morbid depressive disorders, 300 were randomized to a 24-week double blind trial of escitalopram or placebo, while the remaining 146 received medical treatment only (MTO). QoL was measured by the World Health Organization Quality of Life –Abbreviated form (WHOQOL-BREF).
At baseline, QoL was significantly lower in patients with co-morbid depressive disorder than those without. QoL improvement was significantly greater in those receiving escitalopram than those receiving placebo over the 24-week treatment period. In the 1-year follow-up, the better outcomes associated with escitalopram remained evident against both placebo and MTO.
Depression was significantly associated with worse QoL even in patients with recently developed ACS. Depression treatment was associated with QoL improvement in ACS patients in the 24-week treatment period, the effects of which extended to 1 year.
We conducted a cross-sectional seroepidemiological study in 2012–2013 to determine the seroprevalence of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) in adolescents and adults living in Korea, where varicella vaccination has been recommended universally at age 12–15 months since 2005. Residual serum samples were collected from 1196 healthy adults and adolescents aged ⩾10 years between November 2012 and March 2013. The fluorescent antibody to membrane antigen (FAMA) test and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) were performed to determine the seroprevalence of VZV. The seroprevalences of VZV were compared between six age groups: 10–19, 20–29, 30–39, 40–49, 50–59, and ⩾60 years. The seroprevalence of VZV in the entire study cohort was 99·1% according to the FAMA test and 93·1% as determined by ELISA. The seroprevalences of the six age groups were as follows: 96·0%, 99·5%, 99·5%, 99·5%, 100%, and 100%, respectively, by the FAMA test, and 83·3%, 93·0%, 93·0%, 97·5%, 94·5%, and 97·5%, respectively, by ELISA. Seroprevalence increased significantly with age (P < 0·001); moreover, the seroprevalence in subjects aged 10–19 years was significantly lower than in other age groups (P < 0·001), as measured by both the FAMA test and ELISA. Thus, strategies to increase protective immunity against VZV in teenagers are necessary.
After an outbreak of pandemic influenza A/H1N1 (pH1N1) virus, we had previously reported the emergence of a recombinant canine influenza virus (CIV) between the pH1N1 virus and the classic H3N2 CIV. Our ongoing routine surveillance isolated another reassortant H3N2 CIV carrying the matrix gene of the pH1N1 virus from 2012. The infection dynamics of this H3N2 CIV variant (CIV/H3N2mv) were investigated in dogs and ferrets via experimental infection and transmission. The CIV/H3N2mv-infected dogs and ferrets produced typical symptoms of respiratory disease, virus shedding, seroconversion, and direct-contact transmissions. Although indirect exposure was not presented for ferrets, CIV/H3N2mv presented higher viral replication in MDCK cells and more efficient transmission was observed in ferrets compared to classic CIV H3N2. This study demonstrates the effect of reassortment of the M gene of pH1N1 in CIV H3N2.
Glutathione peroxidase (GPx; EC 126.96.36.199) is an important antioxidant enzyme that catalyses the reduction of organic and inorganic hydroperoxides to water in oxygen-consuming organisms, using glutathione as an electron donor. Here, we report the characterization of a GPx of Cryptosporidium parvum (CpGPx). CpGPx contained a standard UGU codon for cysteine instead of a UGA opal codon for seleno-cysteine (SeCys) at the active site, and no SeCys insertion sequence (SECIS) motif was identified within the 3′-untranslated region (UTR) of CpGPx, which suggested its selenium-independent nature. In silico and biochemical analyses indicated that CpGPx is a cytosolic protein with a monomeric structure. Recombinant CpGPx was active over a wide pH range and was stable under physiological conditions. It showed a substrate preference against organic hydroperoxides, such as cumene hydroperoxide and t-butyl hydroperoxide, but it also showed activity against inorganic hydroperoxide, hydrogen peroxide. Recombinant CpGPx was not inhibited by potassium cyanide or by sodium azide. The enzyme effectively protected DNA and protein from oxidative damage induced by hydrogen peroxide, and was functionally expressed in various developmental stages of C. parvum. These results collectively suggest the essential role of CpGPx for the parasite's antioxidant defence system.
The Arabidopsis gene AVP1 encodes a vacuolar H+-translocating inorganic pyrophosphatase (enzyme classification (EC) 188.8.131.52) that functions as an electronic proton pump in the vacuolar membrane and affects growth development and the stress response in plants. The current study was conducted to evaluate the molecular properties of the Arabidopsis thaliana vacuolar H+-pyrophosphatase (AVP1) gene in rice (Oryza sativa L.). Incorporation and expression of the transgene was confirmed by semi-quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and quantitative real-time PCR. Expression of the AVP1 gene in transgenic rice plants (TRP1 and TRP2) resulted in a significantly enhanced tolerance to 5·8 g/l NaCl under greenhouse conditions when compared with the control wild-type (WT) rice plants. Augmented AVP1 expression in the transgenic rice plants (TRP) also affected total biomass and improved ion homoeostasis through increased accumulation of Na+ ions in whole tissues when compared with control WT rice plants under high salinity conditions. The photochemical yield (Fv/Fm) values of TRP were higher than those of the WT rice plants, even though the values decreased over time in both the WT and transgenic (TRP1 to TRP8) rice plants. Furthermore, rice grain yield and biomass of the TRP were at least 15% higher based on culm and root weights, and panicle and spikelet numbers when compared with those of the WT rice plants during the 2010 and 2010 growing seasons in South Korea. Thus, these results suggest that ectopic AVP1 expression conferred tolerance and stress resistance to genetically modified transgenic crop plants by improving cellular ion homoeostasis in response to saline conditions, which enhanced rice yield and biomass under natural conditions in paddy fields.
Equine influenza virus (EIV) causes a highly contagious respiratory disease in equids, with confirmed outbreaks in Europe, America, North Africa, and Asia. Although China, Mongolia, and Japan have reported equine influenza outbreaks, Korea has not. Since 2011, we have conducted a routine surveillance programme to detect EIV at domestic stud farms, and isolated H3N8 EIV from horses showing respiratory disease symptoms. Here, we characterized the genetic and biological properties of this novel Korean H3N8 EIV isolate. This H3N8 EIV isolate belongs to the Florida sublineage clade 1 of the American H3N8 EIV lineage, and surprisingly, possessed a non-structural protein (NS) gene segment, where 23 bases of the NS1-encoding region were naturally truncated. Our preliminary biological data indicated that this truncation did not affect virus replication; its effect on biological and immunological properties of the virus will require further study.
A survey of the Milky Way disk and the Magellanic System at the wavelengths of the 21-cm atomic hydrogen (H i) line and three 18-cm lines of the OH molecule will be carried out with the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder telescope. The survey will study the distribution of H i emission and absorption with unprecedented angular and velocity resolution, as well as molecular line thermal emission, absorption, and maser lines. The area to be covered includes the Galactic plane (|b| < 10°) at all declinations south of δ = +40°, spanning longitudes 167° through 360°to 79° at b = 0°, plus the entire area of the Magellanic Stream and Clouds, a total of 13 020 deg2. The brightness temperature sensitivity will be very good, typically σT≃ 1 K at resolution 30 arcsec and 1 km s−1. The survey has a wide spectrum of scientific goals, from studies of galaxy evolution to star formation, with particular contributions to understanding stellar wind kinematics, the thermal phases of the interstellar medium, the interaction between gas in the disk and halo, and the dynamical and thermal states of gas at various positions along the Magellanic Stream.