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Space Infrared Telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics (SPICA), the cryogenic infrared space telescope recently pre-selected for a ‘Phase A’ concept study as one of the three remaining candidates for European Space Agency (ESA's) fifth medium class (M5) mission, is foreseen to include a far-infrared polarimetric imager [SPICA-POL, now called B-fields with BOlometers and Polarizers (B-BOP)], which would offer a unique opportunity to resolve major issues in our understanding of the nearby, cold magnetised Universe. This paper presents an overview of the main science drivers for B-BOP, including high dynamic range polarimetric imaging of the cold interstellar medium (ISM) in both our Milky Way and nearby galaxies. Thanks to a cooled telescope, B-BOP will deliver wide-field 100–350
m images of linearly polarised dust emission in Stokes Q and U with a resolution, signal-to-noise ratio, and both intensity and spatial dynamic ranges comparable to those achieved by Herschel images of the cold ISM in total intensity (Stokes I). The B-BOP 200
m images will also have a factor
30 higher resolution than Planck polarisation data. This will make B-BOP a unique tool for characterising the statistical properties of the magnetised ISM and probing the role of magnetic fields in the formation and evolution of the interstellar web of dusty molecular filaments giving birth to most stars in our Galaxy. B-BOP will also be a powerful instrument for studying the magnetism of nearby galaxies and testing Galactic dynamo models, constraining the physics of dust grain alignment, informing the problem of the interaction of cosmic rays with molecular clouds, tracing magnetic fields in the inner layers of protoplanetary disks, and monitoring accretion bursts in embedded protostars.
Determining infectious cross-transmission events in healthcare settings involves manual surveillance of case clusters by infection control personnel, followed by strain typing of clinical/environmental isolates suspected in said clusters. Recent advances in genomic sequencing and cloud computing now allow for the rapid molecular typing of infecting isolates.
To facilitate rapid recognition of transmission clusters, we aimed to assess infection control surveillance using whole-genome sequencing (WGS) of microbial pathogens to identify cross-transmission events for epidemiologic review.
Clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Klebsiella pneumoniae were obtained prospectively at an academic medical center, from September 1, 2016, to September 30, 2017. Isolate genomes were sequenced, followed by single-nucleotide variant analysis; a cloud-computing platform was used for whole-genome sequence analysis and cluster identification.
Most strains of the 4 studied pathogens were unrelated, and 34 potential transmission clusters were present. The characteristics of the potential clusters were complex and likely not identifiable by traditional surveillance alone. Notably, only 1 cluster had been suspected by routine manual surveillance.
Our work supports the assertion that integration of genomic and clinical epidemiologic data can augment infection control surveillance for both the identification of cross-transmission events and the inclusion of missed and exclusion of misidentified outbreaks (ie, false alarms). The integration of clinical data is essential to prioritize suspect clusters for investigation, and for existing infections, a timely review of both the clinical and WGS results can hold promise to reduce HAIs. A richer understanding of cross-transmission events within healthcare settings will require the expansion of current surveillance approaches.
Neck dissection is associated with post-operative shoulder dysfunction in a substantial number of patients, affecting quality of life and return to work. There is no current UK national practice regarding physiotherapy after neck dissection.
Nine regional centres were surveyed to determine their standard physiotherapy practice pre- and post-neck dissection, and to determine pre-emptive physiotherapy for any patients.
Eighty-nine per cent of centres never arranged any pre-emptive physiotherapy for any patients. Thirty-three per cent of centres offered routine in-patient physiotherapy after surgery. No centres offered out-patient physiotherapy for all patients regardless of symptoms. Seventy-eight per cent offered physiotherapy for patients with any symptoms, with 11 per cent offering physiotherapy for those with severe dysfunction only. Eleven per cent of centres never offered physiotherapy for any dysfunction.
The provision of physiotherapy is most commonly reactive rather than proactive, and usually driven by patient request. There is little evidence of pre-arranged physiotherapy for patients to treat or prevent shoulder dysfunction in the UK.
Hepatitis A infection results in a spectrum of illness from asymptomatic disease to severe fulminant hepatitis. Since 2000, <50 cases have been reported annually in Ireland. We report on an outbreak of hepatitis A associated with a childcare facility(CCF) in 2015 in Ireland. Between January and July 2015, 12 outbreak-associated symptomatic hepatitis A cases were identified, including one delayed, retrospective diagnosis. Seven (58%) cases were adults, eight (67%) were male, six of the adults required hospitalisation. All 12 cases were confirmed on serology and the four cases that were genotyped were identical on phylogenetic analysis. Potential environmental exposures and hygiene practices at the CCF were investigated. Outbreak control measures included the provision of: hepatitis A information, infection prevention advice, hepatitis A vaccination to 554 CCF contacts, and voluntary closure of the CCF for deep-cleaning and staff education. From a healthcare perspective1, outbreak control costs were in excess of €45 000. This outbreak illustrates the considerable adult morbidity that can occur in hepatitis A outbreaks, highlights the challenges in controlling a large CCF-associated outbreak and the importance of early recognition by clinicians of hepatitis A.
This study assessed variation in coverage of maternal pertussis vaccination, introduced in England in October 2012 in response to a national outbreak, and a new infant rotavirus vaccination programme, implemented in July 2013. Vaccine eligible patients were included from national vaccine coverage datasets and covered April 2014 to March 2015 for pertussis and January 2014 to June 2016 for rotavirus. Vaccine coverage (%) was calculated overall and by NHS England Local Team (LT), ethnicity and Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) quintile, and compared using binomial regression. Compared with white-British infants, the largest differences in rotavirus coverage were in ‘other’, white-Irish and black-Caribbean infants (−13·9%, −12·1% and −10·7%, respectively), after adjusting for IMD and LT. The largest differences in maternal pertussis coverage were in black-other and black-Caribbean women (−16·3% and −15·4%, respectively). Coverage was lowest in London LT for both programmes. Coverage decreased with increasing deprivation and was 14·0% lower in the most deprived quintile compared with the least deprived for the pertussis programme and 4·4% lower for rotavirus. Patients’ ethnicity and deprivation were therefore predictors of coverage which contributed to, but did not wholly account for, geographical variation in coverage in England.
On August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall near Corpus Christi, Texas. The ensuing unprecedented flooding throughout the Texas coastal region affected millions of individuals.1 The statewide response in Texas included the sheltering of thousands of individuals at considerable distances from their homes. The Dallas area established large-scale general population sheltering as the number of evacuees to the area began to amass. Historically, the Dallas area is one familiar with “mega-sheltering,” beginning with the response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.2 Through continued efforts and development, the Dallas area had been readying a plan for the largest general population shelter in Texas. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2019;13:33–37)
Arterial wall thickening, stimulated by low-grade systemic inflammation, underlies many cardiovascular events. As diet is a significant moderator of systemic inflammation, the dietary inflammatory index (DIITM) has recently been devised to assess the overall inflammatory potential of an individual’s diet. The primary objective of this study was to assess the association of the DII with common carotid artery–intima-media thickness (CCA–IMT) and carotid plaques. To substantiate the clinical importance of these findings we assessed the relationship of DII score with atherosclerotic vascular disease (ASVD)-related mortality, ischaemic cerebrovascular disease (CVA)-related mortality and ischaemic heart disease (IHD)-related mortality more. The study was conducted in Western Australian women aged over 70 years (n 1304). Dietary data derived from a validated FFQ (completed at baseline) were used to calculate a DII score for each individual. In multivariable-adjusted models, DII scores were associated with sub-clinical atherosclerosis: a 1 sd (2·13 units) higher DII score was associated with a 0·013-mm higher mean CCA–IMT (P=0·016) and a 0·016-mm higher maximum CCA–IMT (P=0·008), measured at 36 months. No relationship was seen between DII score and carotid plaque severity. There were 269 deaths during follow-up. High DII scores were positively associated with ASVD-related death (per sd, hazard ratio (HR): 1·36; 95 % CI 1·15, 1·60), CVA-related death (per sd, HR: 1·30; 95 % CI 1·00, 1·69) and IHD-related death (per sd, HR: 1·40; 95 % CI 1·13, 1·75). These results support the hypothesis that a pro-inflammatory diet increases systemic inflammation leading to development and progression of atherosclerosis and eventual ASVD-related death.
Efforts to address health disparities and achieve health equity are critically dependent on the development of a diverse research workforce. However, many researchers from underrepresented backgrounds face challenges in advancing their careers, securing independent funding, and finding the mentorship needed to expand their research.
Faculty from the University of Maryland at College Park and the University of Wisconsin-Madison developed and evaluated an intensive week-long research and career-development institute—the Health Equity Leadership Institute (HELI)—with the goal of increasing the number of underrepresented scholars who can sustain their ongoing commitment to health equity research.
In 2010-2016, HELI brought 145 diverse scholars (78% from an underrepresented background; 81% female) together to engage with each other and learn from supportive faculty. Overall, scholar feedback was highly positive on all survey items, with average agreement ratings of 4.45-4.84 based on a 5-point Likert scale. Eighty-five percent of scholars remain in academic positions. In the first three cohorts, 73% of HELI participants have been promoted and 23% have secured independent federal funding.
HELI includes an evidence-based curriculum to develop a diverse workforce for health equity research. For those institutions interested in implementing such an institute to develop and support underrepresented early stage investigators, a resource toolbox is provided.
A 10-year descriptive analysis of morbidity and mortality associated with water-related activities in the Top End, Northern Territory (NT), Australia.
An outdoor, water-orientated lifestyle characterises the Top End due to its tropical climate, lengthy coastline, many inland-waterways, and common domestic-pool ownership. However, the water holds many dangers: from drowning to the prospect of crocodile attacks.
Data were retrospectively collected from two sources: the Trauma Registry (TR), Royal Darwin Hospital, NT and the National Coronial Information System. Inclusion criteria: all mortality or injury with an Injury Severity Score (ISS) ≥9 from water-related activity in the Top End. Exclusion criteria: envenomation. Data included: demographics, geographical location, time/mechanism of injury, injury narrative/outcome, alcohol consumption, ISS, and Indigenous race.
Ninety-five deaths occurred from 1/1/2005–12/31/2014; 87 prehospital (92%). The leading three mechanisms of injury for the 138 TR admissions were drowning (40%), falling/diving (35%), and watercraft events (14%). Median age 27 (0-90); 78% males. There were 74 children (<16 years) including 20 deaths. Indigenous Australians represent 30% of the NT population, but had 43% of deaths and 12% of admissions. Deaths from crocodile attacks are increasing with 14 deaths from 2005-2014, compared to 10 deaths from 1971-2004 (Caldicutt). Alcohol was recorded in 31% of admissions and 52% of deaths in those age >16. The Top End’s crude rate of drowning averaged over 10 years was 4.36/100,000/annum, compared to 1.31/100,000/annum in Australia.
Alcohol plays a major role in the Top End’s water-related harm, associated with all mechanisms and over one-half of adult deaths. Also striking is increasing crocodile fatalities, possibly caused by population recovery from endangered to plentiful, since hunting ceased in 1971. Local authorities/advocates push water-safety and crocodile-awareness programs. However, the lure of tropical waters combined with alcohol remains a risk to life and limb. Further public health campaigns focusing on these issues are called for.
Access to acute and emergency care is essential when we are ill or injured, but the costs are significant. How can we make services more efficient and effective? This thought-provoking text provides twenty case studies detailing successful innovations to enhance value, including telehealth, observation medicine, high utilizer programs, and the use of informatics to improve clinical decision support. A detailed history of system developments over the last fifty years in the US and internationally is provided, and subjects including measurement and quality improvement, volume versus value based care, and emergency department crowding are discussed. This book is an ideal way for emergency physicians and healthcare managers to explore new ideas and enhance the quality of care in their area.