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Background: The current approach to measuring hand hygiene (HH) relies on human auditors who capture <1% of HH opportunities and rapidly become recognized by staff, resulting in inflation in performance. Our goal was to assess the impact of group electronic monitoring coupled with unit-led quality improvement on HH performance and prevention of healthcare-associated transmission and infection. Methods: A stepped-wedge cluster randomized quality improvement study was undertaken across 5 acute-care hospitals in Ontario, Canada. Overall, 746 inpatient beds were electronically monitored across 26 inpatient medical and surgical units. Daily HH performance as measured by group electronic monitoring was reported to inpatient units who discussed results to guide unit-led improvement strategies. The primary outcome was monthly HH adherence (%) between baseline and intervention. Secondary outcomes included transmission of antibiotic resistant organisms such as methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other healthcare-associated infections. Results: After adjusting for the correlation within inpatient units, there was a significant overall improvement in HH adherence associated with the intervention (IRR, 1.73; 95% CI, 1.47–1.99; P < .0001). Monthly HH adherence relative to the intervention increased from 29% (1,395,450 of 4,544,144) to 37% (598,035 of 1,536,643) within 1 month, followed by consecutive incremental increases up to 53% (804,108 of 1,515,537) by 10 months (P < .0001). We identified a trend toward reduced healthcare-associated transmission of MRSA (0.74; 95% CI, 0.53–1.04; P = .08). Conclusions: The introduction of a system for group electronic monitoring led to rapid, significant, and sustained improvements in HH performance within a 2-year period.
The present study investigated the effect of Bacillus subtilis DSM 29784 (Ba) and enzymes (xylanase and β-glucanases; Enz), alone or in combination (BE) as antibiotic replacements, on the growth performance, digestive enzyme activity, immune response and the intestinal barrier of broiler chickens. In total, 1200 1-d-old broilers were randomly assigned to five dietary treatments, each with six replicate pens of forty birds for 63 d as follows: (a) basal diet (control), supplemented with (b) 1 × 109 colony-forming units (cfu)/kg Ba, (c) 300 mg/kg Enz, (d) 1 × 109 cfu/kg Ba and 300 mg/kg Enz and (e) 250 mg/kg enramycin (ER). Ba, Enz and BE, similar to ER, decreased the feed conversion rate, maintained intestinal integrity with a higher villus height:crypt depth ratio and increased the numbers of goblet cells. The BE group exhibited higher expression of claudin-1 and mucin 2 than the other four groups. BE supplementation significantly increased the α-diversity and β-diversity of the intestinal microbiota and markedly enhanced lipase activity in the duodenal mucosa. Serum endotoxin was significantly decreased in the BE group. Compared with those in the control group, increased superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase activities were observed in the jejunal mucosa of the Ba and BE groups, respectively. In conclusion, the results suggested that dietary treatment with Ba, Enz or BE has beneficial effects on growth performance and anti-oxidative capacity, and BE had better effects than Ba or Enz alone on digestive enzyme activity and the intestinal microbiota. Ba or Enz could be used as an alternative to antibiotics for broiler chickens.
We recently reported Cambrowania ovata Tang and Xiao in Tang et al., 2019, from the early Cambrian Hetang Formation in South China and interpreted it as a problematic animal fossil, possibly related to either sponges or bivalved arthropods (Tang et al., 2019). Slater and Budd (2019) contested our taxonomic identification and phylogenetic interpretation; instead, they claimed that Cambrowania ovata is a large acritarch referable to morphotaxon Leiosphaeridia Eisenack, 1958, and thus is not an animal. Here we refute their criticisms, clarify the differences between Cambrowania and Leiosphaeridia and other acritarchs, and reiterate why an animal affinity for Cambrowania cannot be ruled out.
The present study compared the protective effect of sodium selenite (SS) and selenomethionine (SeMet) on heat stress (HS)-invoked porcine IPEC-J2 cellular damage and integrate potential roles of corresponding selenoprotein. Cells were cultured at 37°C until 80 % confluence and then subjected to four different conditions for 24 h: at 37°C (control), 41·5°C (HS), 41·5°C supplied with 0·42 µmol Se/L SS (SS), or SeMet (SeMet). HS significantly decreased cell viability, up-regulated mRNA and protein levels of heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) and down-regulated mRNA and protein levels of tight junction-related proteins (claudin-1 (CLDN-1) and zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1)). HS-induced cell injury was associated with the up-regulation (P < 0·05) of six inflammation-related genes and fourteen selenoprotein encoding genes and down-regulation (P < 0·05) of two inflammation-related genes and five selenoprotein encoding genes. Compared with the HS group, SS and SeMet supplementation resulted in an increase (P < 0·05) in cell viability, decreased (P < 0·05) mRNA expression of HSP70 and six inflammation-related genes and rescue (P < 0·05) of mRNA and protein levels of CLDN-1 and ZO-1. SS and SeMet supplementation changes the expressions of nineteen selenoprotein encoding genes in cells affected by HS. Both Se supplementation significantly recovered the protein level of glutathione peroxidase-1 and increased selenoprotein P in the IPEC-J2 cells under HS, respectively. In summary, Se supplementation alleviated the negative impact of HS on IPEC-J2 cells, and their cellular protective effect was associated with regulation expression of selenoproteins, and SeMet exhibited a better protective effect.
The lower-middle Hetang Formation (Cambrian Stage 2–3) deposited in slope-basinal facies in South China is well known for its preservation of the earliest articulated sponge fossils, providing an important taphonomic window into the Cambrian Explosion. However, the Hetang Formation also hosts a number of problematic animal fossils that have not been systematically described. This omission results in an incomplete picture of the Hetang biota and limits its contribution to the understanding of the early evolution of animals. Here we describe a new animal taxon, Cambrowania ovata Tang and Xiao, new genus new species, from the middle Hetang Formation in the Lantian area of southern Anhui Province, South China. Specimens are preserved as carbonaceous compressions, although some are secondarily mineralized. A comprehensive analysis using reflected light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, and micro-CT reveals that the new species is characterized by a spheroidal to fusoidal truss-like structure consisting of rafter-like crossbars, some of which are secondarily baritized and may have been internally hollow. Some specimens have aperture-like structures that are broadly similar to oscula of sponges, whereas others show evidence of a medial split reminiscent of gaping carapaces. While the phylogenetic affinity of Cambrowania ovata Tang and Xiao, n. gen. n. sp. remains problematic, we propose that it may represent carapaces of bivalved arthropods or more likely sponges in early life stages. Along with other problematic metazoan fossils such as hyolithids and sphenothallids, Cambrowania ovata Tang and Xiao, n. gen. n. sp. adds to the diversity of the sponge-dominated Hetang biota in an early Cambrian deepwater slope-basinal environment.
Copy number variations (CNVs), as an important source of genetic variation, can affect a wide range of phenotypes by diverse mechanisms. The somatostatin receptor 2 (SSTR2) gene plays important roles in cell proliferation and apoptosis. Recently, this gene was mapped to a CNV region, which encompasses quantitative trait loci of cattle economic traits including body weight, marbling score, etc. Therefore, SSTR2 CNV may exhibit phenotypic effects on cattle growth traits. In the current study, distribution of SSTR2 gene CNVs was investigated in six Chinese cattle breeds (XN, QC, NY, JA, LX and PN), and the results showed higher CNV polymorphisms in XN, QC and NY cattle. Next, association analysis between growth traits and SSTR2 CNV was performed for XN, QC and NY cattle. In NY, individuals with fewer copies showed better performance than those with more copies. Further, the effects of SSTR2 CNV on the SSTR2 mRNA level were also investigated, but revealed no significant correlation in either muscle or adipose tissue of adult NY cattle. The results suggested the potential for use of SSTR2 CNV as a marker for the molecular breeding of NY cattle.
The 5-HTTLPR polymorphism of the serotonin transporter has been shown to play a role in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Moreover, disaster-related prenatal maternal stress (PNMS) has also been shown to be associated with ASD. However, no study to date has examined whether these two factors, either individually or in combination, are predictive of ASD traits in the same sample. We hypothesized that children, particularly boys, with the LL genotype exposed to high levels of disaster-related PNMS would exhibit higher levels of ASD traits compared to boys with the LS or SS genotypes and girls regardless of genotype. Genotype and ASD levels obtained using the Australian normed Autism Spectrum Rating Scales – Short Form were available for 105 30-month-old children exposed to varying levels of PNMS following the 2011 Queensland Flood. For boys, higher ASD traits were associated with the 5-HTTLPR LL genotype in combination with either a negative maternal appraisal of the flood, or high levels of maternal composite subjective stress, PSTD-like or peritraumatic dissociation symptoms. For girls, maternal peritraumatic dissociation levels in combination with the 5-HTTLPR LS or SS genotype were associated with higher ASD traits. The present findings are the first to demonstrate that children’s genotype moderates effects of disaster-related PNMS on ASD traits, with different pattern according to child sex.
For straw incorporation, three crucial factors affect the soil microbial community and various enzyme activities: straw length, amount and burial depth. To analyse the individual and interactive effects of these three factors on the soil microbial community and various enzyme activities, 23 treatments with five levels of the three variables (straw length, amount and burial depth) were applied in a quadratic orthogonal rotation combination design. A comprehensive indicator was constructed that could represent soil microbial functional diversity and enzyme activity by determining the weights of measured indicators and using Technique for Order of Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS). The results indicated that the soil microbiological indicators have a higher criteria weight than soil enzyme activity indicators. The final weight orders of indicators were as follows: Shannon–Weaver > invertase > Shannon evenness > urease > catalase > McIntosh index > Simpson diversity > phosphatase. The soil comprehensive values constructed by the TOPSIS method are reliable. The optimal combination for the improvement of soil microbial functional diversity and enzyme activity was a straw length of 13–24 cm, burial depth of 10–17 cm and straw amount of 370–650 g/m2.
In this paper, a novel Strong Tracking Sigma-Point Predictive Variable Structure Filter (ST-SP-PVSF) is presented as a further development of the Adaptive Predictive Variable Structure Filter (APVSF) for attitude synchronisation during Satellite Formation Flying (SFF). First, the sequence orthogonal principle is adopted to enhance the robustness of the APVSF for any nonlinear system with uncertain model errors. Then, sigma-point sampling strategies (such as unscented transfer, cubature rule and Stirling's polynomial interpolation) are introduced to extend the APVSF with the ability to capture the second central moment's information on the model errors to update the system model with higher precision. The new methodology has advantages in dealing with the various types of uncertainties or model errors compared with the APVSF. In addition, it does not need to choose the limit boundary layer ψlim it for system estimation, which reduces the sensitivity to the initial parameters and improves its adaptive ability over the APVSF. Simulations are performed to demonstrate that the proposed method is more suitable for attitude synchronisation estimation of the SFF system.
To determine the spray forming process parameters of 7075/Al–Si bimetallic gradient composite plate with two gas atomizers, a calculation model of the plate has been established by using the finite element software ANSYS. The effects of different motion trajectory, advance speed, swing cycle and spray center distance on shape, and silicon distribution of deposited plate have been simulated by the APDL programming language. The results show that a smooth and uniform surface is obtained when motion trajectory is in a regular jaggies mode. The deposited plate varies from platform to stepped shape with a center distance increasing from 20 mm to 50 mm; meanwhile, the width of the transition zone decreases gradually. As the period increases to 8 s, the silicon distribution of each layer presents a jagged fluctuation. Both the thickness of the deposited plate and the width of the transition zone decrease as the advance speed increases, except the silicon distribution. Finally, the modeling and simulation of the co-spray formed 7075/Al–Si bimetallic gradient composite plate are validated by experimental investigations and the simulation results are in good agreement with the actual results.
China makes a unique and vital contribution to maintaining global and regional waterbird diversity and conservation. Despite considerable historical conservation efforts, the continued loss of waterbird diversity and abundance necessitates a contemporary review of Chinese sites of conservation significance. The Ecological Protection Red Line (EPRL) was proposed by China’s Central Government in 2013 to protect areas providing crucial ecosystem services and provides the opportunity for such a review to enhance waterbird conservation in China. By incorporating various sources of data, surveys and information, we identified a suite of sites of waterbird conservation significance in China, following the Ramsar Site Criteria/Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) Criteria. In total, we identified 422 sites, of which the existing 286 IBA sites formed the basis of the site safeguard network. Altogether, these sites of waterbird conservation significance constitute over 727,000 km2 (7.6% of China’s land surface). Over half of the area of these sites is outside China’s national nature reserves, thus confirming the importance and urgency of including them in the EPRL for the effective conservation of waterbird sites. We suggest that this assessment of sites of waterbird importance offers a useful model to apply to other taxa, such as terrestrial birds and mammals.
For the first time, we estimated the population sizes of two swan species and four goose species from observations during the non-breeding period in East Asia. Based on combined counts from South Korea, Japan and China, we estimated the total abundance of these species as follows: 42,000–47,000 Whooper Swans Cygnus cygnus; 99,000–141,000 Tundra Swans C. columbianus bewickii; 56,000–98,000 Swan Geese Anser cygnoides; 157,000–194,000 Bean Geese A. fabalis; 231,000–283,000 Greater White-fronted Geese A. albifrons; and 14,000–19,000 Lesser White-fronted Geese A. erythropus. While the count data from Korea and Japan provide a good reflection of numbers present, there remain gaps in the coverage in China, which particularly affect the precision of the estimates for Bean, Greater and Lesser White-fronted Geese as well as Tundra Swans. Lack of subspecies distinction of Bean Geese in China until recently also limits our ability to determine the true status of A. f. middendorffii there, but all indications suggest this population numbers around 18,000 individuals and is in need of urgent attention. The small, highly concentrated and declining numbers of Lesser White-fronted Geese give concern for this species, as do the major declines in Greater White-fronted Geese in China (in contrast to numbers in Japan and Korea, considered to be a separate flyway). In the absence of any demographic data, it is impossible to interpret the causes of these changes in abundance. Improved monitoring, including demographic and tracking studies are required to provide the necessary information to retain populations in favourable conservation status.
In this paper, a novel Predictive Variable Structure Filter (PVSF) and its adaptive deformation (APVSF) are presented for attitude synchronisation during Satellite Formation Flying (SFF). The PVSF is proposed based on the variable structure control concept and applied to any nonlinear system with model errors. The model errors in the PVSF need not satisfy the assumption of Gaussian white noise; therefore, it has advantages in dealing with various kinds of uncertainties, parameter variations or noises. Then, the APVSF is also presented to adjust the smoothing boundary layer of PVSF by minimising the Mean-Square Error (MSE). Simulations are performed to demonstrate the accuracy, robustness, and stability of the proposed methodologies for the attitude synchronisation estimation of the SFF system.
The Endangered Scaly-sided Merganser Mergus squamatus is amongst the most threatened of sea ducks (Mergini), with an estimated population of c.4,600 individuals based on a recent population estimate on the breeding areas in Primorye, Far East Russia, China and DPR Korea. For the first time, we present published and unpublished data on the wintering distribution in China and smaller numbers in Korea. We report 156 sightings during 2000–2011, together with 11 records of wintering sites using geolocation devices, from 16 provinces in China, with greatest concentrations in Jiangxi Province (97 reports from 18 sites). Both sources of data suggest some degree of winter site fidelity to fast-flowing clear water rivers 50–350 m wide, with riffles, islands or sand banks in hilly/mountainous areas with low levels of human disturbance. Surveys located a maximum of 370–770 birds, 8–17% of the estimated total population, confirming our poor knowledge of the species’ wintering distribution. There is an urgent need to define the wintering range of this species which is widely dispersed and nowhere abundant, but is threatened everywhere by dam construction, sand and gravel extraction, industrial and domestic pollution and fishing that threaten the integrity of the winter habitat. This also raises important conservation questions about how to protect such a species that is not highly concentrated and may require catchment scale nature conservation actions to effectively safeguard its current distribution.
Structure and demographics in many tropical forests is changing, but the causes of these changes remain unclear. We studied 5 y (2005–2010) of species turnover, recruitment, mortality and population change data from a 20-ha subtropical forest plot in Dinghushan, China, to identify trends in forest change, and to test whether tree mortality is associated with intraspecific or interspecific competition. We found the Dinghushan forest to be more dynamic than one temperate and two tropical forests in a comparison of large, long-term forest dynamics plots. Within Dinghushan, size-class distributions were bell-shaped only for the three most dominant species and reverse J-shaped for other species. Bell-shaped population distributions can indicate a population in decline, but our data suggest that these large and long-lived species are not in decline because the pattern is driven by increasing probabilities of transition to larger size class with increasing size and fast growth in saplings. Spatially aggregated tree species distributions were common for surviving and dead individuals. Competitive associations were more frequently intraspecific than interspecific. The competition that induced tree mortality was more associated with intraspecific than interspecific interactions. Intraspecific competitive exclusion and density-dependence appear to play important roles in tree mortality in this subtropical forest.
The environmental concern about diffuse pollution from nitrogen (N) fertilizers has led to increased research on the diagnosis of crop N status. The SPAD chlorophyll (Chl) meter is the most commonly used tool for rice (Oryza sativa L.) N status diagnosis, but measurements are conducted at a specific point and readings are affected by different leaf positions. Many measurements per plant must be taken in order to increase the accuracy of N status diagnosis, which limits its application. The present paper attempts to determine rice N status at the canopy level using Multiplex®, a new hand-held optical fluorescence sensor. The fluorescence emission of rice leaves under light excitation was utilized by Multiplex® to non-destructively assess rice leaf Chl and phenolic compound content. A field experiment was conducted in 2011 using a completely randomized split-plot design, with main-plot treatments being six N fertilizer application rates and subplot treatments being different plant densities. Leaf Chl and phenolic compounds were evaluated using the ratio of far-red fluorescence (FRF) to red fluorescence (RF) emission under red light excitation (simple fluorescence ratio, SFR_R) (R2 = 0·35, P < 0·01) and the ratio of decadic logarithm of red to ultra-violet (UV) fluorescence emission (R2 = 0·30, P < 0·01), respectively. Both SPAD reading and fluorescence-based indices including flavonoids (FLAV), nitrogen balance index (NBI_R) and SFR_R could be used to predict rice leaf N contents. The canopy FLAV, SFR_R and NBI_R were all highly correlated to average SPAD readings (R2 > 0·70 in most cases, P < 0·01). Therefore, Multiplex® can be used as an alternative to SPAD to determine rice N status in paddy fields.
Observed maximum numbers of Baer’s Pochard Aythya baeri in China, the traditional core wintering range, declined from 16,792 during 1987–1993 to 2,131 during 2003–2011, accompanied by a dramatic contraction in range. Coordinated coverage of the most important sites in the middle and lower Yangtze River floodplain in January 2011 found only 194 Baer’s Pochard. The reported wintering population outside China declined from 719 in 2000–2005 to 48 in 2006–2010. The world population in 2011 apparently did not exceed 1,000 individuals, and the true number was most likely many fewer. The species seems to have ceased wintering regularly outside mainland China, where none had been found by mid-February 2012 despite coverage of favoured sites. Urgent, coordinated actions are needed to protect this species which may soon be on the verge of extinction in the wild.
The Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus is globally threatened with an estimated world population of 25,000–28,000, of which c 20,000 winter at East Dongting Lake, China. We present here the first collation of published and unpublished data on the distribution and abundance of the species in eastern China in recent decades. Lesser White-fronted Goose numbers have declined greatly in Anhui, Jiangxi and Jiangsu Provinces between the late-1980s/early-1990s and recent years: the species’ range has now mainly contracted to East Dongting Lake in Hunan. The relatively stable numbers at East Dongting Lake suggest that the population is not currently threatened, but the extreme concentration at one lake makes the species vulnerable. Lesser White-fronted Geese rely on very specific meadow vegetation exposed after water recession, so changes in water levels or recession timing, due to hydrological changes following the commissioning of the Three Gorges Dam, may affect biomass, palatability and plant species composition of the meadows. Thus, it is critically important to understand the wintering ecology and habitat needs of this threatened species at East Dongting Lake. It is also essential to conduct further synchronous Yangtze River floodplain surveys to assess the current status, distribution and habitat use of Lesser White-fronted Geese throughout the region.
Count data show that wintering Greater White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons numbers in their Chinese stronghold (the Yangtze River catchment) have fallen from about 140,000 in the late 1980s and early 1990s to c.18,000 now, despite increases in the overall flyway population (mostly wintering in South Korea and Japan). Declines have occurred in Jiangxi, but most markedly in Hunan (predominantly at East Dongting Lake) where the decline has been steady since 2003/2004, with few left from 2008/2009 onwards. Numbers have increased substantially in Anhui (predominantly at Shengjin Lake), which now supports more Greater White-fronted Geese than Jiangxi and Hunan combined. The species appears a habitat specialist in China, confined to grazing short-sward recessional Carex sedge meadows. At East Dongting Lake, reductions in Greater White-fronted Geese numbers correlated with declines in availability of suitable sedge swards, caused by earlier water table recession, which in recent years has meant swards were too tall for geese to utilise from their arrival in autumn. The hydrological changes are most probably due to the commissioning of the Three Gorges Dam in mid-2003. At Shengjin Lake, the increases may be due to recent stable first exposure dates and slow water recession rates which favour short Carex swards attractive to geese; high buffalo grazing density at this lake may also assist in maintaining suitable sward heights. These hypotheses require investigation.