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Unlike for many other respiratory infections, the seasonality of pertussis is not well understood. While evidence of seasonal fluctuations in pertussis incidence has been noted in some countries, there have been conflicting findings including in the context of Australia. We investigated this issue by analysing the seasonality of pertussis notifications in Australia using monthly data from January 1991 to December 2016. Data were made available for all states and territories in Australia except for the Australian Capital Territory and were stratified into age groups. Using a time-series decomposition approach, we formulated a generalised additive model where seasonality is expressed using cosinor terms to estimate the amplitude and peak timing of pertussis notifications in Australia. We also compared these characteristics across different jurisdictions and age groups. We found evidence that pertussis notifications exhibit seasonality, with peaks observed during the spring and summer months (November–January) in Australia and across different states and territories. During peak months, notifications are expected to increase by about 15% compared with the yearly average. Peak notifications for children <5 years occurred 1–2 months later than the general population, which provides support to the theory that older household members remain an important source of pertussis infection for younger children. In addition, our results provide a more comprehensive spatial picture of seasonality in Australia, a feature lacking in previous studies. Finally, our findings suggest that seasonal forcing may be useful to consider in future population transmission models of pertussis.
Over the past 25 years, numerous studies of polymers utilizing both X-ray diffraction (XRD) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) have been reported in the literature. These studies have suffered because the two techniques must be performed on separate samples and under conditions that are often dissimilar. By combining the two techniques into one instrument, typical problems encountered with variations in sample preparation and thermal and atmospheric environment are eliminated. This is quite important in the study of polymers since one must match not only temperatures between the two techniques, but also heating rates as well. Matched thermal conditions are necessary because polymer properties such as crystallinity and crystallite size depend on both the temperature and thermal history of the sample under study.
Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) results in substantial numbers of hospitalisations and deaths in older adults. There are known lifestyle and medical risk factors for pneumococcal disease but the magnitude of the additional risk is not well quantified in Australia. We used a large population-based prospective cohort study of older adults in the state of New South Wales (45 and Up Study) linked to cause-specific hospitalisations, disease notifications and death registrations from 2006 to 2015. We estimated the age-specific incidence of CAP hospitalisation (ICD-10 J12-18), invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) notification and presumptive non-invasive pneumococcal CAP hospitalisation (J13 + J18.1, excluding IPD), comparing those with at least one risk factor to those with no risk factors. The hospitalised case-fatality rate (CFR) included deaths in a 30-day window after hospitalisation. Among 266 951 participants followed for 1 850 000 person-years there were 8747 first hospitalisations for CAP, 157 IPD notifications and 305 non-invasive pneumococcal CAP hospitalisations. In persons 65–84 years, 54.7% had at least one identified risk factor, increasing to 57.0% in those ⩾85 years. The incidence of CAP hospitalisation in those ⩾65 years with at least one risk factor was twofold higher than in those without risk factors, 1091/100 000 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1060–1122) compared with 522/100 000 (95% CI 501–545) and IPD in equivalent groups was almost threefold higher (18.40/100 000 (95% CI 14.61–22.87) vs. 6.82/100 000 (95% CI 4.56–9.79)). The CFR increased with age but there were limited difference by risk status, except in those aged 45 to 64 years. Adults ⩾65 years with at least one risk factor have much higher rates of CAP and IPD suggesting that additional risk factor-based vaccination strategies may be cost-effective.
During the summer of 2016, the Hawaii Department of Health responded to the second-largest domestic foodborne hepatitis A virus (HAV) outbreak in the post-vaccine era. The epidemiological investigation included case finding and investigation, sequencing of RNA positive clinical specimens, product trace-back and virologic testing and sequencing of HAV RNA from the product. Additionally, an online survey open to all Hawaii residents was conducted to estimate baseline commercial food consumption. We identified 292 confirmed HAV cases, of whom 11 (4%) were possible secondary cases. Seventy-four (25%) were hospitalised and there were two deaths. Among all cases, 94% reported eating at Oahu or Kauai Island branches of Restaurant Chain A, with 86% of those cases reporting raw scallop consumption. In contrast, a food consumption survey conducted during the outbreak indicated 25% of Oahu residents patronised Restaurant Chain A in the 7 weeks before the survey. Product trace-back revealed a single distributor that supplied scallops imported from the Philippines to Restaurant Chain A. Recovery, amplification and sequence comparison of HAV recovered from scallops revealed viral sequences matching those from case-patients. Removal of product from implicated restaurants and vaccination of those potentially exposed led to the cessation of the outbreak. This outbreak further highlights the need for improved imported food safety.
The role that vitamin D plays in pulmonary function remains uncertain. Epidemiological studies reported mixed findings for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D)–pulmonary function association. We conducted the largest cross-sectional meta-analysis of the 25(OH)D–pulmonary function association to date, based on nine European ancestry (EA) cohorts (n 22 838) and five African ancestry (AA) cohorts (n 4290) in the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology Consortium. Data were analysed using linear models by cohort and ancestry. Effect modification by smoking status (current/former/never) was tested. Results were combined using fixed-effects meta-analysis. Mean serum 25(OH)D was 68 (sd 29) nmol/l for EA and 49 (sd 21) nmol/l for AA. For each 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, forced expiratory volume in the 1st second (FEV1) was higher by 1·1 ml in EA (95 % CI 0·9, 1·3; P<0·0001) and 1·8 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·5; P<0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·06), and forced vital capacity (FVC) was higher by 1·3 ml in EA (95 % CI 1·0, 1·6; P<0·0001) and 1·5 ml (95 % CI 0·8, 2·3; P=0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·56). Among EA, the 25(OH)D–FVC association was stronger in smokers: per 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, FVC was higher by 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·3) for current smokers and 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·2, 2·1) for former smokers, compared with 0·8 ml (95 % CI 0·4, 1·2) for never smokers. In summary, the 25(OH)D associations with FEV1 and FVC were positive in both ancestries. In EA, a stronger association was observed for smokers compared with never smokers, which supports the importance of vitamin D in vulnerable populations.
Objectives: Agenesis of the corpus callosum (AgCC), characterized by developmental absence of the corpus callosum, is one of the most common congenital brain malformations. To date, there are limited data on the neuropsychological consequences of AgCC and factors that modulate different outcomes, especially in children. This study aimed to describe general intellectual, academic, executive, social and behavioral functioning in a cohort of school-aged children presenting for clinical services to a hospital and diagnosed with AgCC. The influences of age, social risk and neurological factors were examined. Methods: Twenty-eight school-aged children (8 to 17 years) diagnosed with AgCC completed tests of general intelligence (IQ) and academic functioning. Executive, social and behavioral functioning in daily life, and social risk, were estimated from parent and teacher rated questionnaires. MRI findings reviewed by a pediatric neurologist confirmed diagnosis and identified brain characteristics. Clinical details including the presence of epilepsy and diagnosed genetic condition were obtained from medical records. Results: In our cohort, ~50% of children experienced general intellectual, academic, executive, social and/or behavioral difficulties and ~20% were functioning at a level comparable to typically developing children. Social risk was important for understanding variability in neuropsychological outcomes. Brain anomalies and complete AgCC were associated with lower mathematics performance and poorer executive functioning. Conclusions: This is the first comprehensive report of general intellectual, academic, executive social and behavioral consequences of AgCC in school-aged children. The findings have important clinical implications, suggesting that support to families and targeted intervention could promote positive neuropsychological functioning in children with AgCC who come to clinical attention. (JINS, 2018, 24, 445–455)
Current commercial poultry production in the UK faces many challenges which make it difficult to confidently predict the future. Changing legislation, responding largely to welfare pressures, is one such challenge. Additionally, consumer demands are widening. Eggs and meat from stock which is organically produced, or fed on rations containing no genetically modified ingredients, or free range produced, or corn fed are some of the assurances sought by the purchaser and consumer. Although the market place already offers such produce it is difficult to predict the extent to which they will penetrate a market which developed largely through the use of intensive production systems. The alternatives to intensively produced eggs and meat are more expensive to produce and therefore purchase and consequently are susceptible to changes in standards of living and the affluence of the consumer.
This paper briefly describes current commercial practices and some of the specific challenges arising from new legislation.
A description of some specific requirements of birds highlights areas where improvements, in terms of performance, production efficiency, and welfare might be gained. Since the overwhelming majority of eggs and meat is produced in intensive, highly automated systems, there is an obvious need for an integrated approach featuring engineers and the poultry industry to refine and further develop technology which better serves the birds, and ultimately, the consumer.
It is concluded that the UK cannot compete in production costs with some other areas of the world and as retailers increasingly source their goods worldwide, the UK poultry producer may have to resort to the production of products which satisfy niche demands.
Scientists have long known that certain pesticides, industrial chemicals and heavy metals have a detrimental impact on the reproductive health of a wide range of species (including humans) by disrupting the endocrine system. As exposure to, and the effects of, ‘endocrine disrupters’ are likely to be more pronounced in wild species with a short gestation period and life-cycle we have chosen to develop non-invasive tools based upon faecal steroid analysis to monitor the reproductive status of the short-tailed field vole (Microtus agrestis). This approach is hoped to eventually provide a sensitive means of detecting environmental disturbances that could adversely affect humans, livestock and wildlife by establishing the the field vole as a terrestrial biomarker. Faecal steroid hormone analysis has already been demonstrated as being a convenient and reliable means of diagnosing reproductive state in a large range of mammalian species (including gazelle, rhino, macaque and mice), however, as of yet little is known regarding the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy in M. agrestis.
Reliable and affordable technology for collecting and managing livestock production process information is being developed. The advances in data measurement, collection and transfer technology enable us to retrieve information from one or more remote sites to be processed and managed centrally. This opens up the opportunity to advance from open loop, prescriptive production to closed loop systems where factors influencing the actual performance of animals are used to modify and improve their production parameters (feed, environment, medication). We strive from producing animals by predicting what is needed using outdated data, to measuring what is actually happening as they grow, processing this information and acting to optimise animal performance by modifying production parameters in real time.
This paper describes commercially available systems that make possible the retrieval, collection, processing and distribution of near real time production information. Various aspects of production management using this technology are discussed, and examples of how it can be applied to monitor water usage, how it relates to pig performance and how energy usage can be influenced, are considered.
In ewe lambs, acceleration of growth and accumulation of both muscle and fat leads to earlier sexual maturity and better reproductive performance. The next stage in the development of this theme is to test whether these aspects of growth in young ewes affect milk production in their first lactation and the growth of their first progeny. We studied 75 young Merino ewes that had known phenotypic values for depth of eye muscle (EMD) and fat (FAT), and known Australian Sheep Breeding Values for post-weaning weight (PWT) and depths of eye muscle (PEMD) and fat (PFAT). They lambed for the first time at 1 year of age. Their lambs were weighed weekly from birth to weaning at 10 weeks to determine live weight gain and weaning weight. Progeny birth weight was positively associated with live weight gain and weaning weight (P<0.001). The PWT of the mothers was positively associated with birth weight (P<0.01), live weight gain and weaning weight of the progeny (P<0.05); however, these progeny traits were not influenced by EMD, FAT, PEMD, PFAT of the mothers (P>0.05). The PWT of the sire was positively associated with live weight gain (P<0.05) and weaning weight of the progeny (P<0.01). At around day 20 postpartum, we measured milk production and milk composition (fat, protein, lactose, total solids). Milk production was influenced positively by birth type (single or twin; P<0.05) and negatively by birth weight (P<0.05), but not by mother phenotype or genotype, sire genotype of the mother or the sex of the progeny (P>0.05). The concentrations of fat, protein, lactose and total solids in the milk were not affected by the phenotype or genotype of the mothers or of the sires of the mothers, or by the sex of the progeny (P>0.05). We conclude that selection of young Merino ewes for better growth, and more rapid accumulation of muscle and fat, will lead to progeny that are heavier at birth, grow faster and are heavier at weaning. Moreover, milk production and composition do not seem to be affected by the genetic merit of the mother for post-weaning live weight or PEMD or PFAT. Therefore, Merino ewes can lamb at 1 year of age without affecting the production objectives of the Merino sheep industry.
The solar magnesium II core-to-wing ratio has been a well-studied proxy for chromospheric activity since 1978. Daily measurements at high spectral (0.1 nm) resolution began with the launch of the Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) in 2003. The next generation of measurements from the Extreme Ultraviolet Sensor (EUVS) on the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite 16 (GOES-16) will add high time cadence (every 30 seconds) to the observational Mg II irradiance record. We present a comparison of the two measurements during the period of overlap.
Ultraviolet (UV) Solar spectral Irradiance (SSI) has been measured from orbit on a regular basis since the beginning of the space age. These observations span four Solar Cycles, and they are crucial for our understanding of the Sun-Earth connection and space weather. SSI at these wavelengths are the main drivers for the upper atmosphere including the production and destruction of ozone in the stratosphere. The instruments that measure UV SSI not only require good preflight calibration, but also need a robust method to maintain that calibration on orbit. We will give an overview of the catalog of current and former UV SSI measurements along with the calibration philosophy of each instrument and an estimation of the uncertainties in the published irradiances.
Palmer amaranth control has become a major challenge for multiple cropping systems across the southeastern and midwestern United States. Despite extensive research on herbicide-resistance evolution, little research has been done exploring how Palmer amaranth might also be evolving other adaptive traits in response to different selection forces present in agricultural fields and the enrichment of soils with nutrients such as nitrogen. The objective of the present study was to determine whether Palmer amaranth populations have evolved different morphology and growth patterns in response to glyphosate use and fertilization history. Ten Palmer amaranth populations, including glyphosate-resistant (GR) and glyphosate-susceptible (GS) populations, were collected from different cropping systems with histories of high and low nitrogen fertilization in the states of Florida and Georgia. All populations were grown in pots filled with soil fertilized with either 0 or 40 kgNha−1, and their response to nitrogen was compared for morphological, growth, and nutrient-use traits. Populations differed in how they modified their morphology and growth in response to N, with major differences in traits such as foliar area, branch production, leaf shape, and canopy architecture. Populations with high nitrogen-fertilization histories had higher (>43%) nutrient-use efficiency (NUE) than populations with low nitrogen-fertilization histories. Similarly, GR populations have evolved higher NUE (>47%) and changed canopy architecture more than GS populations in response to nitrogen fertilization. The results of the present study highlight the importance of paying more attention to adaptations to cultural practices that might increase weediness and how genetic changes in traits involved in morphology and metabolism might favor compensatory mechanisms increasing the fitness of the population carrying herbicide-resistant traits.
Dietary protein is the main source of nitrous oxide and nitrates, harmful pollutants which are produced in pig units. So reducing the level of protein in the diet may be environmentally friendly. But will this compromise performance? This study compared three ‘nutritional strategies’ providing different protein and energy levels as pigs of two breeds grew from 40 to 120kg live weight.
A key to long-term sustainable enhancement of viable livestock production is the introduction of genetic traits that ensure that fertility and meat quality characteristics are compatible with farming environments and market needs. For example, the sheep industry could benefit if daughters of hill-breed ewes were of a crossbred genotype that enhances both carcass characteristics and fertility traits. Use of sires that confer better conformation is an option but does not significantly boost prolificacy. Introduction of the ‘Inverdale’ fecundity gene could change this. On a flock basis in the Romney breed, mean ovulation is increased by 1.0 and litter size by 0.6 in adult ewes carrying a single copy of this gene (designated as FecXI because it is on the X chromosome; Davis et al. 1992). Carrier males transmit it to all of their female offspring, these being heterozygous carriers of the gene unless it also is maternally inherited. In the latter instance, young would be infertile the homozygous genotype confers an undesirable ‘streak ovary’ phenotype. Although a number of sheep breeds world-wide exhibit significant ‘single gene’ effects on ovulation and litter size (Montgomery et al. 2001), Scottish hill sheep breeds show no evidence of this. Consequently, all ewe lambs generated by crossing these hill ewes with a ram carrying the Inverdale gene should be heterozygous. To ascertain whether such animals exhibit enhanced fecundity, an on-farm study investigated ovulation incidence in cyclic ewe lambs born to Cheviot or Scottish Blackface ewes that had been bred to Texel rams carrying a single copy of the ‘Inverdale’ gene.
The production of pigs with low subcutaneous but high intramuscular fat (IMF) is one of the main challenges of the pig industry, and it requires the understanding of the mechanisms controlling fat formation in these two depots. IMF can be increased by reducing the ratio of protein to energy in pig diets (Wood et al.,, 2004). This is accompanied by activation of expression of the enzyme stearoyl-CoA-desaturase (SCD), which catalyses the biosynthesis of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) (Doran et al., 2006). It is well known that IMF content varies between breeds. However it remains unclear as to whether pigs with predominantly high IMF (e.g. Duroc) will respond to a low protein diet in the same way as those with predominantly low IMF (e.g. Large White). The objective of the present study was to investigate whether the effects of low protein: energy diets on IMF, MUFA and total fatty acid content are breed-specific.
There is anecdotal evidence that certain sheep breeds, reared in a particular way, produce unusual or characteristic tastes in cooked meat. Such effects could be linked to differences in meat fatty acid composition associated with the consumption of different diets. This study investigated eating quality and fat composition in 4 distinctively different breed x feeding system groups.
Four groups of 20 ram lambs were obtained as follows: Pure Soays (SO) finished off grass in April from commercial breeders; Pure Welsh Mountain (WM) finished off upland grass in October from ADAS Pwllpeiran; Suffolk x Mules from Harper Adams College finished off concentrates (grains) (SC) in April; and Suffolk x mules from the same source finished off grass (SG) in May. The animals were transported to Langford where they were slaughtered in Bristol University's abattoir.
There is increasing interest in the use of red clover (Trifolium pratense) as a high protein forage crop to finish growing lambs. Red clover contains the isoflavanoid compound formononetin which is converted to the non-steroidal oestrogen analogue equol by rumen micro-organisms. Equol is absorbed by the animal, and can have significant effects, such as suppressing reproductive cycling in ewes. Very few commercial red clover varieties have been bred with a low formononetin content to prevent this problem. Although human health benefits have been linked to the consumption of oestrogenically active compounds in foods such as soya (Kurzer and Xu, 1997), there is a need to investigate the presence of oestrogenically active compounds in animal products. The objective of this study was to investigate plasma metabolite and hormone concentrations, and the residual levels of equol in meat, of lambs grazing two varieties of red clover differing in their formononetin contents, compared to control animals grazing grass.
More than 3000 radial velocity observations across the face of the Crab Nebula are used to investigate its 3-dimensional properties. In the standard model it consists of a thick hollow shell with synchrotron emission from within. We show that the thick shell is composed of bright inner and faint outer components
An 8-cm optical telescope is constructed for use at the south pole. It is designed to make photoelectric observations of selected stars continuously through an austral winter. The automated operation is controlled by a computer. The aim is to study the variability of the star γ2 Velorum as well as the condition of the polar sky and the performance of the instrument.