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To conduct a pilot study implementing combined genomic and epidemiologic surveillance for hospital-acquired multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) to predict transmission between patients and to estimate the local burden of MDRO transmission.
Pilot prospective multicenter surveillance study.
The study was conducted in 8 university hospitals (2,800 beds total) in Melbourne, Australia (population 4.8 million), including 4 acute-care, 1 specialist cancer care, and 3 subacute-care hospitals.
All clinical and screening isolates from hospital inpatients (April 24 to June 18, 2017) were collected for 6 MDROs: vanA VRE, MRSA, ESBL Escherichia coli (ESBL-Ec) and Klebsiella pneumoniae (ESBL-Kp), and carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa (CRPa) and Acinetobacter baumannii (CRAb). Isolates were analyzed and reported as routine by hospital laboratories, underwent whole-genome sequencing at the central laboratory, and were analyzed using open-source bioinformatic tools. MDRO burden and transmission were assessed using combined genomic and epidemiologic data.
In total, 408 isolates were collected from 358 patients; 47.5% were screening isolates. ESBL-Ec was most common (52.5%), then MRSA (21.6%), vanA VRE (15.7%), and ESBL-Kp (7.6%). Most MDROs (88.3%) were isolated from patients with recent healthcare exposure.
Combining genomics and epidemiology identified that at least 27.1% of MDROs were likely acquired in a hospital; most of these transmission events would not have been detected without genomics. The highest proportion of transmission occurred with vanA VRE (88.4% of patients).
Genomic and epidemiologic data from multiple institutions can feasibly be combined prospectively, providing substantial insights into the burden and distribution of MDROs, including in-hospital transmission. This analysis enables infection control teams to target interventions more effectively.
Registry-based trials have emerged as a potentially cost-saving study methodology. Early estimates of cost savings, however, conflated the benefits associated with registry utilisation and those associated with other aspects of pragmatic trial designs, which might not all be as broadly applicable. In this study, we sought to build a practical tool that investigators could use across disciplines to estimate the ranges of potential cost differences associated with implementing registry-based trials versus standard clinical trials.
We built simulation Markov models to compare unique costs associated with data acquisition, cleaning, and linkage under a registry-based trial design versus a standard clinical trial. We conducted one-way, two-way, and probabilistic sensitivity analyses, varying study characteristics over broad ranges, to determine thresholds at which investigators might optimally select each trial design.
Registry-based trials were more cost effective than standard clinical trials 98.6% of the time. Data-related cost savings ranged from $4300 to $600,000 with variation in study characteristics. Cost differences were most reactive to the number of patients in a study, the number of data elements per patient available in a registry, and the speed with which research coordinators could manually abstract data. Registry incorporation resulted in cost savings when as few as 3768 independent data elements were available and when manual data abstraction took as little as 3.4 seconds per data field.
Registries offer important resources for investigators. When available, their broad incorporation may help the scientific community reduce the costs of clinical investigation. We offer here a practical tool for investigators to assess potential costs savings.
At present, analysis of diet and bladder cancer (BC) is mostly based on the intake of individual foods. The examination of food combinations provides a scope to deal with the complexity and unpredictability of the diet and aims to overcome the limitations of the study of nutrients and foods in isolation. This article aims to demonstrate the usability of supervised data mining methods to extract the food groups related to BC. In order to derive key food groups associated with BC risk, we applied the data mining technique C5.0 with 10-fold cross-validation in the BLadder cancer Epidemiology and Nutritional Determinants study, including data from eighteen case–control and one nested case–cohort study, compromising 8320 BC cases out of 31 551 participants. Dietary data, on the eleven main food groups of the Eurocode 2 Core classification codebook, and relevant non-diet data (i.e. sex, age and smoking status) were available. Primarily, five key food groups were extracted; in order of importance, beverages (non-milk); grains and grain products; vegetables and vegetable products; fats, oils and their products; meats and meat products were associated with BC risk. Since these food groups are corresponded with previously proposed BC-related dietary factors, data mining seems to be a promising technique in the field of nutritional epidemiology and deserves further examination.
Clinical diagnostics in sudden onset disasters have historically been limited. We set out to design, implement, and evaluate a mobile diagnostic laboratory accompanying a type 2 emergency medical team (EMT) field hospital.
Available diagnostic platforms were reviewed and selected against in field need. Platforms included HemoCue301/WBC DIFF, i-STAT, BIOFIRE FILMARRAY multiplex rt-PCR, Olympus BX53 microscopy, ABO/Rh grouping, and specific rapid diagnostic tests. This equipment was trialed in Katherine, Australia, and Dili, Timor-Leste.
During the initial deployment, an evaluation of FilmArray tests was successful using blood culture identification, gastrointestinal, and respiratory panels. HemoCue301 (n = 20) hemoglobin values were compared on Sysmex XN 550 (r = 0.94). HemoCue WBC DIFF had some variation, dependent on the cell, when compared with Sysmex XN 550 (r = 0.88-0.16). i-STAT showed nonsignificant differences against Vitros 250. Further evaluation of FilmArray in Dili, Timor-Leste, diagnosed 117 pathogens on 168 FilmArray pouches, including 25 separate organisms on blood culture and 4 separate cerebrospinal fluid pathogens.
This mobile laboratory represents a major advance in sudden onset disaster. Setup of the service was quick (< 24 hr) and transport to site rapid. Future deployment in fragmented health systems after sudden onset disasters with EMT2 will now allow broader diagnostic capability.
Campylobacteriosis is the most common notifiable disease in New Zealand. While the risk of campylobacteriosis has been found to be strongly associated with the consumption of undercooked poultry, other risk factors include rainwater-sourced drinking water, contact with animals and consumption of raw dairy products. Despite this, there has been little investigation of raw milk as a risk factor for campylobacteriosis. Recent increases in demand for untreated or ‘raw’ milk have also raised concerns that this exposure may become a more important source of disease in the future. This study describes the cases of notified campylobacteriosis from a sentinel surveillance site. Previously collected data from notified cases of raw milk-associated campylobacteriosis were examined and compared with campylobacteriosis cases who did not report raw milk consumption. Raw milk campylobacteriosis cases differed from non-raw milk cases on comparison of age and occupation demographics, with raw milk cases more likely to be younger and categorised as children or students for occupation. Raw milk cases were more likely to be associated with outbreaks than non-raw milk cases. Study-suggested motivations for raw milk consumption (health reasons, natural product, produced on farm, inexpensive or to support locals) were not strongly supported by cases. More information about the raw milk consumption habits of New Zealanders would be helpful to better understand the risks of this disease, especially with respect to increased disease risk observed in younger people. Further discussion with raw milk consumers around their motivations may also be useful to find common ground between public health concerns and consumer preferences as efforts continue to manage this ongoing public health issue.
Clinical Enterobacteriacae isolates with a colistin minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) ≥4 mg/L from a United States hospital were screened for the mcr-1 gene using real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and confirmed by whole-genome sequencing. Four colistin-resistant Escherichia coli isolates contained mcr-1. Two isolates belonged to the same sequence type (ST-632). All subjects had prior international travel and antimicrobial exposure.
Using existing data from clinical registries to support clinical trials and other prospective studies has the potential to improve research efficiency. However, little has been reported about staff experiences and lessons learned from implementation of this method in pediatric cardiology.
We describe the process of using existing registry data in the Pediatric Heart Network Residual Lesion Score Study, report stakeholders’ perspectives, and provide recommendations to guide future studies using this methodology.
The Residual Lesion Score Study, a 17-site prospective, observational study, piloted the use of existing local surgical registry data (collected for submission to the Society of Thoracic Surgeons-Congenital Heart Surgery Database) to supplement manual data collection. A survey regarding processes and perceptions was administered to study site and data coordinating center staff.
Survey response rate was 98% (54/55). Overall, 57% perceived that using registry data saved research staff time in the current study, and 74% perceived that it would save time in future studies; 55% noted significant upfront time in developing a methodology for extracting registry data. Survey recommendations included simplifying data extraction processes and tailoring to the needs of the study, understanding registry characteristics to maximise data quality and security, and involving all stakeholders in design and implementation processes.
Use of existing registry data was perceived to save time and promote efficiency. Consideration must be given to the upfront investment of time and resources needed. Ongoing efforts focussed on automating and centralising data management may aid in further optimising this methodology for future studies.
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.
The effect of transportation and lairage on the faecal shedding and post-slaughter contamination of carcasses with Escherichia coli O157 and O26 in young calves (4–7-day-old) was assessed in a cohort study at a regional calf-processing plant in the North Island of New Zealand, following 60 calves as cohorts from six dairy farms to slaughter. Multiple samples from each animal at pre-slaughter (recto-anal mucosal swab) and carcass at post-slaughter (sponge swab) were collected and screened using real-time PCR and culture isolation methods for the presence of E. coli O157 and O26 (Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) and non-STEC). Genotype analysis of E. coli O157 and O26 isolates provided little evidence of faecal–oral transmission of infection between calves during transportation and lairage. Increased cross-contamination of hides and carcasses with E. coli O157 and O26 between co-transported calves was confirmed at pre-hide removal and post-evisceration stages but not at pre-boning (at the end of dressing prior to chilling), indicating that good hygiene practices and application of an approved intervention effectively controlled carcass contamination. This study was the first of its kind to assess the impact of transportation and lairage on the faecal carriage and post-harvest contamination of carcasses with E. coli O157 and O26 in very young calves.
The intensely active 2017 Atlantic basin hurricane season provided an opportunity to examine how climate drivers, including warming oceans and rising seas, exacerbated tropical cyclone hazards. The season also highlighted the unique vulnerabilities of populations residing on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to the catastrophic potential of these storms. During 2017, 22 of the 29 Caribbean SIDS were affected by at least one named storm, and multiple SIDS experienced extreme damage. This paper aims to review the multiplicity of storm impacts on Caribbean SIDS throughout the 2017 season, to explicate the influences of climate drivers on storm formation and intensity, to explore the propensity of SIDS to sustain severe damage and prolonged disruption of essential services, to document the spectrum of public health consequences, and to delineate the daunting hurdles that challenged emergency response and recovery operations for island-based, disaster-affected populations. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2019;13:5–17)
Several studies have suggested that maternal lifestyle during pregnancy may influence long-term health of offspring by altering the offspring epigenome. Whether maternal leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) during pregnancy might have this effect is unknown. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between maternal LTPA during pregnancy and offspring DNA methylation. Participants were recruited from the Archive for Research on Child Health study. At enrollment, participants’ demographic information and self-reported LTPA during pregnancy were determined. High active participants (averaged 637.5 min per week of LTPA; n=14) were matched by age and race to low active participants (averaged 59.5 min per week LTPA; n=28). Blood spots were obtained at birth. Pyrosequencing was used to determine methylation levels of long interspersed nucleotide elements (LINE-1) (global methylation) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPARγ), peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator (PGC1-α), insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2), pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase, isozyme 4 (PDK4) and transcription factor 7-like 2 (TCF7L2). We found no differences between offspring of high active and low active groups for LINE-1 methylation. The only differences in candidate gene methylation between groups were at two CpG sites in the P2 promoter of IGF2; the offspring of low active group had significantly higher DNA methylation (74.70±2.25% methylation for low active v. 72.83±2.85% methylation for high active; P=0.045). Our results suggest no effect of maternal LTPA on offspring global and candidate gene methylation, with the exception of IGF2. IGF2 has been previously associated with regulation of physical activity, suggesting a possible role of maternal LTPA on regulation of offspring physical activity.
An internationally approved and globally used classification scheme for the diagnosis of CHD has long been sought. The International Paediatric and Congenital Cardiac Code (IPCCC), which was produced and has been maintained by the International Society for Nomenclature of Paediatric and Congenital Heart Disease (the International Nomenclature Society), is used widely, but has spawned many “short list” versions that differ in content depending on the user. Thus, efforts to have a uniform identification of patients with CHD using a single up-to-date and coordinated nomenclature system continue to be thwarted, even if a common nomenclature has been used as a basis for composing various “short lists”. In an attempt to solve this problem, the International Nomenclature Society has linked its efforts with those of the World Health Organization to obtain a globally accepted nomenclature tree for CHD within the 11th iteration of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). The International Nomenclature Society has submitted a hierarchical nomenclature tree for CHD to the World Health Organization that is expected to serve increasingly as the “short list” for all communities interested in coding for congenital cardiology. This article reviews the history of the International Classification of Diseases and of the IPCCC, and outlines the process used in developing the ICD-11 congenital cardiac disease diagnostic list and the definitions for each term on the list. An overview of the content of the congenital heart anomaly section of the Foundation Component of ICD-11, published herein in its entirety, is also included. Future plans for the International Nomenclature Society include linking again with the World Health Organization to tackle procedural nomenclature as it relates to cardiac malformations. By doing so, the Society will continue its role in standardising nomenclature for CHD across the globe, thereby promoting research and better outcomes for fetuses, children, and adults with congenital heart anomalies.
As endemic measles is eliminated through immunization, countries must determine the risk factors for the importation of measles into highly immunized populations to target control measures. Despite eliminating endemic measles, New Zealand suffers from outbreaks after introductions from abroad, enabling us to use it as a model for measles introduction risk. We used a generalized linear model to analyze risk factors for 1137 measles cases from 2007 to June 2014, provide estimates of national immunity levels, and model measles importation risk. People of European ethnicity made up the majority of measles cases. Age is a positive risk factor, particularly 0–2-year-olds and 5–17-year-old Europeans, along with increased wealth. Pacific islanders were also at greater risk, but due to 0–2-year-old cases. Despite recent high measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine immunization coverage, overall population immunity against measles remains ~90% and is lower in people born between 1982 and 2005. Greatest measles importation risk is during December, and countries predicted to be sources have historical connections and highest travel rates (Australia and UK), followed by Asian countries with high travel rates and higher measles incidences. Our results suggest measles importation due to travel is seeding measles outbreaks, and immunization levels are insufficient to continue to prevent outbreaks because of heterogeneous immunity in the population, leaving particular age groups at risk.
Salmonella is a leading cause of bacterial foodborne illness. We report the collaborative investigative efforts of US and Canadian public health officials during the 2013–2014 international outbreak of multiple Salmonella serotype infections linked to sprouted chia seed powder. The investigation included open-ended interviews of ill persons, traceback, product testing, facility inspections, and trace forward. Ninety-four persons infected with outbreak strains from 16 states and four provinces were identified; 21% were hospitalized and none died. Fifty-four (96%) of 56 persons who consumed chia seed powder, reported 13 different brands that traced back to a single Canadian firm, distributed by four US and eight Canadian companies. Laboratory testing yielded outbreak strains from leftover and intact product. Contaminated product was recalled. Although chia seed powder is a novel outbreak vehicle, sprouted seeds are recognized as an important cause of foodborne illness; firms should follow available guidance to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination during sprouting.
The prevalence and spatial distribution of Escherichia coli serogroups O26, O103, O111 and O145 in calves <7 days old in New Zealand and their relationship with serum IgG, weight and sex was determined by collecting recto-anal mucosal swabs (RAMS) (n = 299) and blood samples (n = 299) from two slaughter plants in the North Island. Real-time PCR of RAMS enrichment cultures revealed that 134/299 samples were positive for O26, 68/299 for O103 and 47/299 for O145, but none were positive for O111. Processing of positive enrichment cultures resulted in 49 O26, four O103 and five O145 isolates. Using multiplex PCR 25/49 (51%) O26 isolates were positive for stx1, eae, ehxA, 17/49 (34·7%) for eae, ehxA and 7/49 (14·2%) for eae only. All O103 and O145 isolates were positive for eae, ehxA only. O26 isolates were grouped into four clusters (>70% similarity) using pulsed field gel electrophoresis. Mapping of the farms showed the presence of farms positive for O26, O103 and O145 in three important dairy producing regions of the North Island. Calves positive for O103 were more likely to be positive for O26 and vice versa (P = 0·04). Similarly, calves positive for O145 were more likely to be positive for O103 and vice versa (P = 0·03). This study demonstrates that non-O157 E. coli serogroups of public health and economic importance containing clinically relevant virulence factors are present in calves in the North Island of New Zealand.
Historically, community engagement (CE) in research has been implemented in the fields of public health, education and agricultural development. In recent years, international discussions on the ethical and practical goals of CE have been extended to human genomic research and biobanking, particularly in the African context. While there is some consensus on the goals and value of CE generally, questions remain about the effectiveness of CE practices and how to evaluate this. Under the auspices of the Human Heredity and Health in Africa Initiative (H3Africa), the H3Africa CE working group organized a workshop in Stellenbosch, South Africa in March 2016 to explore the extent to which communities should be involved in genomic research and biobanking and to examine various methods of evaluating the effectiveness of CE. In this paper, we present the key themes that emerged from the workshop and make a case for the development of a rigorous application, evaluation and learning around approaches for CE that promote a more systematic process of engaging relevant communities. We highlight the key ways in which CE should be embedded into genomic research and biobanking projects.
The Dark Energy Survey is undertaking an observational programme imaging 1/4 of the southern hemisphere sky with unprecedented photometric accuracy. In the process of observing millions of faint stars and galaxies to constrain the parameters of the dark energy equation of state, the Dark Energy Survey will obtain pre-discovery images of the regions surrounding an estimated 100 gamma-ray bursts over 5 yr. Once gamma-ray bursts are detected by, e.g., the Swift satellite, the DES data will be extremely useful for follow-up observations by the transient astronomy community. We describe a recently-commissioned suite of software that listens continuously for automated notices of gamma-ray burst activity, collates information from archival DES data, and disseminates relevant data products back to the community in near-real-time. Of particular importance are the opportunities that non-public DES data provide for relative photometry of the optical counterparts of gamma-ray bursts, as well as for identifying key characteristics (e.g., photometric redshifts) of potential gamma-ray burst host galaxies. We provide the functional details of the DESAlert software, and its data products, and we show sample results from the application of DESAlert to numerous previously detected gamma-ray bursts, including the possible identification of several heretofore unknown gamma-ray burst hosts.
Microwave radar amplitude within a snowpack can be strongly influenced by spatial variability of internal layer boundaries. We quantify the impact of spatial averaging of snow stratigraphy and physical snowpack properties on surface scattering from near-nadir frequency-modulated continuous-wave radar at 12–18 GHz. Relative permittivity, density, grain size and stratigraphic boundaries were measured in-situ at high resolution along the length of a 9 m snow trench. An optimal range of horizontal averaging (4–6 m) was identified to attribute variations in surface scattering at layer boundaries to dielectric contrasts estimated from centimetre-scale measurements of snowpack stratigraphy and bulk layer properties. Single vertical profiles of snowpack properties seldom captured the complex local variability influencing near-nadir radar surface scattering. We discuss implications of scaling in-situ measurements for snow radiative transfer modelling and evaluation of airborne microwave remote sensing of snow.
A recent editorial claimed that the 2014 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline on psychosis and schizophrenia, unlike its equivalent 2013 Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) guideline, is biased towards psychosocial treatments and against drug treatments. In this paper we underline that the NICE and SIGN guidelines recommend similar interventions, but that the NICE guideline has more rigorous methodology. Our analysis suggests that the authors of the editorial appear to have succumbed to bias themselves.
Dentinogenesis imperfecta type II (DGI-II) lacks intrafibrillar mineral with severe compromise of dentin mechanical properties. A Dspp knockout (Dspp–/–) mouse, with a phenotype similar to that of human DGI-II, was used to determine if poly-L-aspartic acid [poly(ASP)] in the “polymer-induced liquid-precursor” (PILP) system can restore its mechanical properties. Dentin from six-week old Dspp–/– and wild-type mice was treated with CaP solution containing poly(ASP) for up to 14 days. Elastic modulus and hardness before and after treatment were correlated with mineralization from Micro x-ray computed tomography (Micro-XCT). Transmission electron microscopy (TEM)/Selected area electron diffraction (SAED) were used to compare matrix mineralization and crystallography. Mechanical properties of the Dspp–/– dentin were significantly less than wild-type dentin and recovered significantly (P < 0.05) after PILP-treatment, reaching values comparable to wild-type dentin. Micro-XCT showed mineral recovery similar to wild-type dentin after PILP-treatment. TEM/SAED showed repair of patchy mineralization and complete mineralization of defective dentin. This approach may lead to new strategies for hard tissue repair.