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The aim of the study was to analyse the influence on tail-biting in undocked pigs during the rearing period of crude fibre in piglets' rations. All pigs were fed the same pre-starter until weaning. The study comprised two trials with four experimental groups each. The first trial contained: a control group (CG1) with conventional feed (up to 40 g/kg crude fibre), two groups with an increased crude fibre content of up to 50 g/kg (G5) and 60 g/kg (G6), respectively, and one group with conventional feed and crude fibre provision ad libitum (AL). The second trial consisted of a control group (CG2) which received the same conventional feed as CG1 and three treatment groups with either soya hulls (SS), dried sugar beet pulp (DP) or oat fibre (OF) admixed to their ration, to achieve a crude fibre content of 60 g/kg in all three groups. The rearing week, the batch, the treatment group (only in trial one) and the interaction between batch and treatment group had a significant influence on tail-lesions (P < 0.05). The tail-biting process started in rearing week 3 (trial one) and 5 (trial two), respectively. Due to the low frequency of tail-biting during the present study, crude fibre seems to have no major influence on tail-biting during the rearing period. This unexpected result may be caused by the optimized conditions in which the piglets were kept and the intensive animal observation carried out by the employees. However, the batch effect was most influential.
To address and better understand the problem of high suicide rates in widows and widowers.
Sex and age specific suicide data collated by marital group were extracted from Swiss mortality statistics for the period 1991-2003. The mortality in the first week / month / year of widowhood was calculated based on person-year calculations.
Cross-sectional analysis by sex and age-group confirms the existence of different suicide rate patterns according to marital status. Moreover, the profiles of suicide methods differ. In particular, suicide methods which may be associated with impulsive suicides, such as firearms or poisoning, are relatively frequent in the widowed. The suicide risk of widowed persons is extremely high in the days and weeks immediately after bereavement.
Suicide risk and suicide behavior varies systematically according to marital status. In particular, widows and widowers emerge as a group suitable for preventive methods because of the existence of a time window when there is increased risk. Moreover, widowed persons are a clear-cut risk group under the aegis of undertakers, priests and perhaps general practitioners.
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.
Piglet mortality has a negative impact on animal welfare and public acceptance. Moreover, the number of weaned piglets per sow mainly determines the profitability of piglet production. Increased litter sizes are associated with lower birth weights and piglet survival. Decreased survival rates and performance of piglets make the control of diseases and infections within pig production even more crucial. Consequently, selection for immunocompetence becomes an important key aspect within modern breeding programmes. However, the phenotypic recording of immune traits is difficult and expensive to realize within farm routines. Even though immune traits show genetic variability, only few examples exist on their respective suitability within a breeding programme and their relationships to economically important production traits. The analysis of immune traits for an evaluation of immunocompetence to gain a generally improved immune response is promising. Generally, in-depth knowledge of the genetic background of the immune system is needed to gain helpful insights about its possible incorporation into breeding programmes. Possible physiological drawbacks for enhanced immunocompetence must be considered with regards to the allocation theory and possible trade-offs between the immune system and performance. This review aims to discuss the relationships between the immunocompetence of the pig, piglet survival as well as the potential of these traits to be included into a breeding strategy for improved robustness.
Antimicrobial use in pig farming is influenced by a range of risk factors, including herd characteristics, biosecurity level, farm performance, occurrence of clinical signs and vaccination scheme, as well as farmers’ attitudes and habits towards antimicrobial use. So far, the effect of these risk factors has been explored separately. Using an innovative method called multiblock partial least-squares regression, this study aimed to investigate, in a sample of 207 farrow-to-finish farms from Belgium, France, Germany and Sweden, the relative importance of the six above mentioned categories or ‘blocks’ of risk factors for antimicrobial use in pig production. Four country separate models were developed; they showed that all six blocks provided useful contribution to explaining antimicrobial use in at least one country. The occurrence of clinical signs, especially of respiratory and nervous diseases in fatteners, was one of the largest contributing blocks in all four countries, whereas the effect of the other blocks differed between countries. In terms of risk management, it suggests that a holistic and country-specific mitigation strategy is likely to be more effective. However, further research is needed to validate our findings in larger and more representative samples, as well as in other countries.
Obtaining accurate age determinations from minerals in archaeological ash is a major unsolved issue in radiocarbon (14C) dating. This is because the original 14C content of calcite, the main component of ash, is altered by isotopic exchange. Pyrogenic aragonite, another mineral phase recently discovered in ash, might preserve its 14C signature through time. Using a new method based on density separation and step combustion, we were able to isolate and date aragonitic ash from an archaeological destruction horizon of known age. Here we show that the 14C age of aragonite matches the age of the destruction horizon. Our results demonstrate that pyrogenic aragonite is a short-lived material suitable for 14C dating and directly related to human activities involving the use of fire, thus bearing major implications for the establishment of absolute chronologies for the past 50,000 yr.
This study aimed to examine the association between vitamin B6, folate and vitamin B12 biomarkers and plasma fatty acids in European adolescents. A subsample from the Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence study with valid data on B-vitamins and fatty acid blood parameters, and all the other covariates used in the analyses such as BMI, Diet Quality Index, education of the mother and physical activity assessed by a questionnaire, was selected resulting in 674 cases (43 % males). B-vitamin biomarkers were measured by chromatography and immunoassay and fatty acids by enzymatic analyses. Linear mixed models elucidated the association between B-vitamins and fatty acid blood parameters (changes in fatty acid profiles according to change in 10 units of vitamin B biomarkers). DHA, EPA) and n-3 fatty acids showed positive associations with B-vitamin biomarkers, mainly with those corresponding to folate and vitamin B12. Contrarily, negative associations were found with n-6:n-3 ratio, trans-fatty acids and oleic:stearic ratio. With total homocysteine (tHcy), all the associations found with these parameters were opposite (for instance, an increase of 10 nmol/l in red blood cell folate or holotranscobalamin in females produces an increase of 15·85 µmol/l of EPA (P value <0·01), whereas an increase of 10 nmol/l of tHcy in males produces a decrease of 2·06 µmol/l of DHA (P value <0·05). Positive associations between B-vitamins and specific fatty acids might suggest underlying mechanisms between B-vitamins and CVD and it is worth the attention of public health policies.
In Germany tularemia is a re-emerging zoonotic disease. Therefore, we investigated wild animals and environmental water samples for the presence and phylogenetic diversity of Francisella tularensis in the poorly studied Berlin/Brandenburg region. The phylogenomic analysis of three isolates from wild animals revealed three new subclades within the phylogenetic tree of F. tularensis [B.71 from a raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides); B.74 from a red fox (Vulpes vulpes), and B.75 from a Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber albicus)]. The results from histological, PCR, and genomic investigations on the dead beaver showed that the animal suffered from a systemic infection. Indications were found that the bacteria were released from the beaver carcass into the surrounding environment. We demonstrated unexpectedly high and novel phylogenetic diversity of F. tularensis in Germany and the fact that the bacteria persist in the environment for at least one climatic season. These findings support a broader host species diversity than previously known regarding Germany. Our data further support the assumption derived from previous serological studies of an underestimated frequency of occurrence of the pathogen in the environment and in wild animals. F. tularensis was isolated from animal species not previously reported as natural hosts in Germany.
Overall IDSA/SIS intra-abdominal infection guideline compliance was not associated with improved outcomes; however, there was a longer time to active therapy (P=.024) and higher mortality (P=.077) if empiric therapy was too narrow per guidelines. These findings support the need for the implementation of customized institutional guidelines adapted from the IDSA/SIS guidelines.
Disease prevention through biosecurity measures is believed to be an important factor for improvement of the overall health status in animal production. This study aimed at assessing the levels of implementation of biosecurity measures in pig production in four European Union (EU) countries and to describe possible associations between the biosecurity level and farm and production characteristics. A cross-sectional study was conducted in 232 farrow-to-finish pig herds in Belgium, France, Germany and Sweden between December 2012 and December 2013. The biosecurity status in each of these herds was described and quantified by using the risk-based scoring tool Biocheck.UGentTM (www.biocheck.ugent.be). Production and management characteristics, obtained from the herd management system and by interviewing the farmer, were analysed for their association with the biosecurity level. A causal path was designed to study statistical associations. The results showed that there was substantial room for improvement in the biosecurity status on many pig farms. Significant differences (P<0.01) both in internal and external biosecurity levels were observed between countries. The external biosecurity status, combining all measures taken to prevent disease introduction into the herd, was highest in Germany and lowest in France. The internal biosecurity status, combining all measures taken to prevent within herd disease transmission, was highest in Sweden and lowest, with a large variation, in Belgium. External biosecurity scores were in general higher compared to internal biosecurity scores. The number of pathogens vaccinated against was significantly associated with internal biosecurity status, suggesting an overall more preventive approach towards the risk of disease transmission. A higher external biosecurity was associated with more weaned piglets per sow per year. Furthermore also the weaning age and the mortality till weaning were highly associated with the number of weaned piglets per sow per year. The negative association observed between the biosecurity level and the estimated frequency of treatment against certain clinical signs of disease as a proxy for disease incidence is consistent with the hypothesis that a higher biosecurity level results in healthier animals. These findings promote an improved biosecurity status at pig farms and are of relevance in the discussion on alternative ways to keep animals healthy with a reduced necessity of antimicrobials; Prevention is better than cure!
Stabilized Au NPs were directly deposited on nanostructured ZnO and ZrO2 by a simple one-step strategy based on sacrificial anode electrolysis. The annealed nanocomposites are proposed as active layers in resistive gas sensors for low-cost processes. Results on the performance of gas sensors based on pristine and Au-doped MOx nanostructured thin films, used for the detection of NO2 gas, were reported at an operating temperature of 300°C, evaluating the effects of the MOx chemical composition and morphology, and the Au-doping.
Seasonal as well as weekly cycles in suicide have been described, replicated and poorly understood for a long time. In Western countries, suicides are typically least frequent on weekends and most frequent on Mondays and Tuesdays. To improve understanding of this phenomenon a strategy is required which focuses on anomalous findings beyond the regular patterns. Here, we focused on instances where the weekly suicide patterns disappear or are interrupted.
We used data from Swiss and Austrian mortality statistics for the periods 1969–2010 and 1970–2010, respectively. First, the data were cross-tabulated by days of the week and the available socio-demographic information (sex, age, religious affiliation and region). Second, time series of cumulated daily frequencies of suicide were analysed by seasonal Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) models which included intervention effects accounting for Easter and Pentecost (Whit) holidays.
First, the cross tabulations showed that weekly cycles may be smoothed above all in young persons and smoothed in drowning, jumping and car gas exhaustion suicides. Second, the ARIMA analyses displayed occasional preventive effects for holidays Saturdays and Sundays, and more systematic effects for holiday Mondays. There were no after effects on Tuesdays following holiday Mondays.
In general, the weekend dip and the Monday backlog effect in suicide show striking similarities to the Advent season effect and are interpretable within the same template. The turning points between low and high frequencies possibly provide promising frames for the timing of prevention activities.
Antimicrobial drug shortages continue to increase, with few new therapeutic options available. Nationally, proposals have been offered to alleviate drug shortages; however, these recommendations are unlikely to effect change in the near future. Thus, antimicrobial stewardship leaders in acute care hospitals must develop a prospective management strategy to lessen the impact of these shortages on patient care. Herein, we describe several resources available to aid professionals in antimicrobial stewardship and healthcare epidemiology to manage drug shortages. An effective approach should include prospectively tracking shortages and maximizing inventory by appropriately managing usage. Several tenets should underpin this management. Alternative agents should be rationally chosen before the inventory of the primary agent has reached zero, ethical considerations should be taken into account, and timely notification and communication with key stakeholders should occur throughout the prescribing and dispensing process.
Accurate food and nutrient intake assessment is essential for investigating diet–disease relationships. In the present study, food and nutrient intake assessment among European adolescents using 24 h recalls (mean of two recalls) and a FFQ (separately and the combination of both) were evaluated using concentration biomarkers. Biomarkers included were vitamin C, β-carotene, DHA+EPA, vitamin B12 (cobalamin and holo-transcobalamin) and folate (erythrocyte folate and plasma folate). For the evaluation of the food intake assessment 390 adolescents were included, while 697 were included for the nutrient intake assessment evaluation. Spearman rank and Pearson correlations, and validity coefficients, which are correlations between intake estimated and habitual true intake, were calculated. Correlations were higher between frequency of food consumption (from the FFQ) and concentration biomarkers than between mean food intake (from the recalls) and concentration biomarkers, especially for DHA+EPA (r 0·35 v. r 0·27). Most correlations were higher among girls than boys. For boys, the highest validity coefficients were found for frequency of fruit consumption (0·88) and for DHA+EPA biomarker (0·71). In girls, the highest validity coefficients were found for fruit consumption frequency (0·76), vegetable consumption frequency (0·74), mean fruit intake (0·90) and DHA+EPA biomarker (0·69). After exclusion of underreporters, correlations slightly improved. Correlations between usual food intakes, adjusted for food consumption frequency, and concentration biomarkers were higher than correlations between mean food intakes and concentration biomarkers. In conclusion, two non-consecutive 24 h recalls in combination with a FFQ seem to be appropriate to rank subjects according to their usual food intake.
The present study investigated the association between cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and dietary intake in European adolescents. The study comprised 1492 adolescents (770 females) from eight European cities participating in the HELENA (Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence) study. CRF was assessed by the 20 m shuttle run test. Adolescents were grouped into low and high CRF levels according to the FITNESSGRAM Standards. Dietary intake was self-registered by the adolescents using a computer-based tool for 24 h dietary recalls (HELENA-Dietary Assessment Tool) on two non-consecutive days. Weight and height were measured, and BMI was calculated. Higher CRF was associated with higher total energy intake in boys (P = 0·003). No association was found between CRF and macronutrient intake (as percentage of energy), yet some positive associations were found with daily intake of bread/cereals in boys and dairy products in both boys and girls (all P < 0·003), regardless of centre, age and BMI. CRF was inversely related to sweetened beverage consumption in girls. These findings were overall consistent when CRF was analysed according to the FITNESSGRAM categories (high/low CRF). A high CRF was not related to compliance with dietary recommendations, except for sweetened beverages in girls (P = 0·002). In conclusion, a high CRF is associated with a higher intake of dairy products and bread/cereals, and a lower consumption of sweetened beverages, regardless of centre, age and BMI. The present findings contribute to the understanding of the relationships between dietary factors and physiological health indicators such as CRF.