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Investigations into an outbreak of foodborne disease attempt to identify the source of illness as quickly as possible. Population-based reference values for food consumption can assist in investigation by providing comparison data for hypothesis generation and also strengthening the evidence associated with a food product through hypothesis testing. In 2014–2015 a national phone survey was conducted in Canada to collect data on food consumption patterns using a 3- or 7-day recall period. The resulting food consumption values over the two recall periods were compared. The majority of food products did not show a significant difference in the consumption over 3 days and 7 days. However, comparison of reference values from the 3-day recall period to data from an investigation into a Salmonella Infantis outbreak was shown to support the conclusion that chicken was the source of the outbreak whereas the reference values from a 7-day recall did not support this finding. Reference values from multiple recall periods can assist in the hypothesis generation and hypothesis testing phase of foodborne outbreak investigations.
Caregivers for patients undergoing hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) are susceptible to significant psychosocial distress. This cross-sectional study aimed to describe psychosocial support services offered and used by caregivers of pediatric primary immune deficiency (PID) during HCT at 35 hospitals across North America.
Caregivers of pediatric patients with PID were recruited by e-mail to participate in an anonymous 140-question survey instrument between April and May 2016 (N = 171).
Of those meeting inclusion criteria (53%), family counseling services were only offered to fewer than half of caregivers (42%). Of the survey participants not offered counseling services, the majority desired family counseling (70%) and sibling counseling (73%). That said, when offered counseling, utilization rates were low, with 22% of caregivers using family counseling and none using sibling counseling.
Significance of results
These results indicate the need to offer and tailor counseling services for families throughout the HCT process. Further research should focus on reducing barriers to utilization of counseling services such as offering bedside counseling services, online modalities, and/or financial assistance.
The West African Disaster Preparedness Initiative held a disaster preparedness tabletop exercise with representatives from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in November 2015. The tabletop exercise was hosted by the Republic of Ghana’s National Disaster Management Organization and partners in Accra, Ghana.
ECOWAS Commission delegates and representatives from 10 member states were confronted with a series of simulated crises. Participants utilized existing national preparedness plans and web-based information technologies to research and communicate about internal disaster threats and those from neighboring countries. After each of the exercise’s three phases, facilitators distributed participant surveys.
A total of 106 individuals participated in the tabletop exercise. During the exercise, national teams utilizing well-developed disaster contingency plans and emergency operations center (EOC) standard operating procedures (SOPs) reached out to help less-prepared national teams. Key issues identified in the survey were language and cultural issues as barriers, effectiveness of disaster management agencies linked to heads of state, and the need for data sharing and real-time communication for situational awareness and multisector coordination.
This tabletop exercise helped improve and refine the ECOWAS regional and member states’ national SOPs that teams will employ to prepare for, respond to, and recover from future disasters. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2019;13:400-404)
US Africa Command’s Disaster Preparedness Program (DPP), implemented by the Center for Disaster and Humanitarian Assistance Medicine, partnered with US Government agencies and international organizations to promote stability and security on the African continent by engaging with African Partner Nations’ (PN) civil and military authorities to improve disaster management capabilities. From 2008 to 2015, DPP conducted disaster preparedness and response programming with 17 PNs. DPP held a series of engagements with each, including workshops, strategic planning, developing preparedness and response plans, tabletop exercises, and prioritizing disaster management capability gaps identified through the engagements. DPP partners collected data for each PN to further capacity building efforts. Thus far, 9 countries have completed military pandemic plans, 10 have developed national pandemic influenza plans, 9 have developed military support to civil authorities plans, and 11 have developed disaster management strategic work plans. There have been 20 national exercises conducted since 2009. DPP was cited as key in implementation of Ebola response plans in PNs, facilitated development of disaster management agencies in DPP PNs, and trained nearly 800 individuals. DPP enhanced PNs’ ability to prepare and respond to crises, fostering relationships between international agencies, and improving civil-military coordination through both national and regional capacity building. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2019;13:319–329)
Exposure to prenatal hypoxia in rats leads to intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), decreases fetal cardiomyocyte proliferation and increases the risk to develop cardiovascular diseases (CVD) later in life. The tumor necrosis factor-related weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK) induces cardiomyocyte proliferation through activation of the fibroblast growth factor-inducible molecule 14 (Fn-14) receptor. The TWEAK/Fn-14 pathway becomes quiescent shortly after birth, however, it becomes upregulated with CVD; suggesting that it could be a link between the increased susceptibility to CVD in pregnancies complicated by hypoxia/IUGR. We hypothesized that offspring exposed to prenatal hypoxia will exhibit reduced cardiomyocyte proliferation due to reduced Fn-14 expression and that the TWEAK/Fn-14 pathway will be expressed in those adult offspring. We exposed pregnant Sprague Dawley rats to control (21% oxygen) or hypoxic (11% oxygen) conditions from gestational days 15 to 21. Ventricular cardiomyocytes were isolated from male and female, control and hypoxic offspring at postnatal day 1. Proliferation was assessed in the presence or absence of r-TWEAK (72 h, 100 ng/ml). Prenatal hypoxia was not associated with differences in Fn-14 protein expression in either male or female offspring. Cardiomyocytes from prenatal hypoxic male, but not female, offspring had decreased proliferation compared with controls. Addition of r-TWEAK increased cardiomyocyte proliferation in all offspring. In adult offspring of all groups, the TWEAK/Fn-14 pathway was not detectable. Cardiomyocyte proliferation was reduced in only male offspring exposed to prenatal hypoxia but this was not due to changes in the Fn-14 pathway. Studies addressing other pathways associated with CVD and prenatal hypoxia are needed.
In Africa, the animal trypanosomiases kill about 3 million cattle each year with related annual losses in animal productivity of ∼£3 billion. 32 of the 36 affected countries have per capita incomes of less than US$1 per day. The most effective method of combating the trypanosomiases is to eradicate their vectors, the tsetse. Up to the early 1980s, responsibility for vector control in Africa was largely taken by government agencies, using techniques such as large-scale aerial and ground spraying. Following economic crises, structural adjustment and decline or privatisation of veterinary services, much of the onus for controlling tsetse has fallen on livestock keepers themselves (Eisler et al. 2003), but partly as a consequence of trypanosomiasis, many are too poor to afford the cost. Treating cattle with synthetic pyrethroids may provide a way of breaking this cycle of poverty and disease.
During the mid to late 1990’s a cluster of Livestock Production Programme (LPP) projects, funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) was established in Zimbabwe, as a representative country of southern sub-Saharan Africa, to develop outputs to increase the livestock contribution to the alleviation of poverty. All stakeholders were involved with the projects from the planning stage and participatory on-farm research was a key feature. Several of the projects addressed one of the major constraints to livestock production in arid and semi-arid areas, dry season feeding, the animal species considered being poultry, donkeys (draught power), goats and milking cows. The benefits of these projects can only be realised through effective dissemination to relevant target groups (farmers, extension staff, which because of failing government extension services in several African countries, must include NGOs, churches and local organizations, and policy makers) and development of relevant training materials.
Pastoralists (broadly speaking, people dependent on extensively grazed livestock for their livelihoods), are a vulnerable group of people who have been marginalised in developmental and political terms, and whose problems are very different from those of people in mainstream agricultural areas. Pastoralist Parliamentary Groups (PPGs), groupings of MPs concerned with the issue of pastoralism, have been formed since 1997 in the national parliaments of Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda (Mohammed Mussa 2004, Livingstone forthcoming a and b). A research project investigated the context, successes and failures of the three PPGs, using interviews with their members and other stakeholders and document review.
We present radiocarbon (14C) in tree rings from Mexico City and a reconstruction of fossil CO2 concentrations for the last five decades, as part of a research program to understand the 14C dynamics in this complex urban area. Background values were established by 14C concentrations in tree rings from a nearby clean area. Agreement between background and NH-zone 2 values indicate Taxodium mucronatum is a good biomonitor for annual atmospheric 14C variations. Values for the urban tree rings were significantly lower than background values, indicating a 14C depletion from fossil CO2 emissions. There is an increasing trend of fossil CO2 between 1960 and 1990, in agreement with the population growth and the increasing demand for fossil fuels in Mexico City. Between 1990 and 2000, there is an apparent decrease in fossil CO2 concentration, increasing again after 2000. The decrease in 2000, despite being of the same magnitude as the overall uncertainty, may reflect environmental policies that improved the energy efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions in the area. The increase in fossil CO2 concentration between 2000 and 2010 may be attributable to the significant growth of motor vehicle usage in Mexico City, which made transportation the main energy-demanding and -emitting sector.
To explore the trends in infection control peer-reviewed journals, mainstream media, and blogs written by infection control professionals
Narrative and scoping reviews
Narrative and scoping reviews were performed to identify trending infection prevention and control topics from international journals, national news websites, newspapers, and so-called grey literature throughout 2015. Data were analyzed using word frequencies, and results are displayed in word clouds.
For 2015, our search identified 6 news websites with a total of published 116 articles, 71 articles from selected newspapers, and 214 publications from infection control websites. In total, 1,059 journal articles were initially identified; 98 articles were anonymous and thus were excluded, leaving 961 articles in the reviews. The terms ‘superbug’ and ‘antibiotics’ were most commonly used in titles of news websites and newspapers, whereas the terms ‘infection’ and ‘prevention’ were most commonly used in infection control websites or blogs. The word frequency differences among the 4 selected journals reflected their respective specialties.
In infection prevention and control, the integration of a range of mediums is necessary to best serve public interests. Whether the aim is advocacy, general health information dissemination, or warnings of imminent risk, health researchers have access to multiple forums with different strengths through which to influence public risk perceptions and responses.
The Ebola outbreak demonstrated the need for improved disaster response throughout West Africa. The West Africa Disaster Preparedness Initiative was a training and assessment effort led by US Africa Command and partners to strengthen capacities among 12 West African partner nations (PNs).
Series of 3-week training sessions with representatives from each PN were held from 13 July through 20 November 2015 at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Accra, Ghana. A team conducted Disaster Management Capabilities Assessments (DMCAs) for each PN, including a review of key data, a survey for leaders, and in-person interviews of key informants.
All 12 PNs generated a national Ebola Preparedness and Response Plan and Emergency Operations Center standard operating procedures. DMCA metrics were generated for each PN. Top performers included Ghana, with a plan rated good/excellent, and Benin and Burkina Faso, which both achieved a satisfactory rating for their plans. More than 800 people from 12 nations were trained.
PNs have improved disaster management capabilities and awareness of their strengths and weaknesses. The Economic Community of West African States has increased its lead role in this and future planned initiatives. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2017;11:431–438)
The Republic of Senegal Disaster Preparedness and Response Exercise was held from June 2-6, 2014, in Dakar, Senegal. The goal was to assist in familiarizing roles and responsibilities within 3 existing plans and to update the National Disaster Management Strategic Work Plan.
There were 60 participants in the exercise, which was driven by a series of evolving disaster scenarios. During the separate Disaster Management Strategic Work Plan review, participants refined a list of projects, including specific tasks to provide a “road map” for completing each project, project timelines, and estimated resource requirements. Project staff administered a survey to conference participants.
A total of 86% of respondents had improved knowledge of Senegal disaster plans as a result of the exercise. A total of 89% of respondents had a better understanding of their ministry’s role in disaster response, and 92% had a better understanding of the role of the military during a pandemic. Participants also generated ideas for disaster management system improvement in Senegal through a formal “gap analysis.”
Participants were in strong agreement that the exercise helped them to better understand the contents of their disaster response plans, build relationships across ministerial lines, and effectively enhance future disaster response efforts. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2017;11:183–189)
It is now recognized that diffuse matter in space plays a decisive role in the evolution of our Galaxy and of similar galaxies. Primordial gas—together with gas ejected in planetary nebulae, stellar winds, novae, supernovae, and other types of stars—has accumulated to form a complex medium containing regions with densities ranging from 10–3 to 106 particles cm-3 and with temperatures ranging from 10 K to 106 K. From time to time, part of the interstellar medium collapses to form stars. In order to understand the evolution of the Galaxy, it is essential to understand how energy, mass, trace elements, and dust grains are deposited into the interstellar medium by stars. It is also essential to understand the mechanisms that initiate star formation in certain regions, and how the ensuing collapse develops in space and time.
We present preliminary results from a programme designed to produce deep images of radio source fields drawn from the Parkes 2700 MHz and Molongolo 408 MHz catalogues using the charge-coupled-device (CCD) camera system built at the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge. The programme is directed at a search both for faint extensions and nebulosity around radio QSOs and BL Lac objects and for faint objects in otherwise empty radio source fields; a detailed examination of the morphology of selected radio galaxies is also included.