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Photovoltaic (PV) systems are progressively used for decentralized electricity generation. To obtain the maximum yield from such systems, optimisation of all components is essential. In this contribution, we provide a comprehensive modelling and sizing of PV systems for any location. Three applications are here presented providing real time monitoring of PV potential, accurate prediction of yield taking into account thermodynamic temperature effects, optimization of modules orientation addressing the effects of shading and efficient sizing of inverter for a higher yield output. When combined, these models can accurately predict the real time performance of any PV system.
Pregnancy is a special condition where many metabolic changes may occur because of increased requirement of essential micronutrients such as iron and iodine. Foetal thyroid starts producing its own thyroid hormones after 12 weeks of gestation. Therefore, the first trimester is very crucial for meeting thyroid hormone requirements of the mother and foetus. Iodine deficiency and iron deficiency may affect mental and physical growth of the foetus. Hence, it is very important to establish a programme on the screening of pregnant women for thyroid dysfunction tests along with established iron status assessment. Thus, the study was aimed to screen the pregnant women for iodine deficiency disorders and iron deficiency during early gestation, situational analysis on thyroid insufficiency and iron deficiency in pregnant women (gestational age <15 weeks) in urban Vadodara, Gujarat. n = 256 healthy pregnant women with uncomplicated singleton pregnancy were selected. The thyroid hormone was estimated by RIA, UIE using simple microplate technique and haemoglobin (Hb) concentration by acid hematin method. Median thyrotropin (TSH), free thyroxine (FT4), total thyroxine (TT4) and UIE concentrations were 1.88 μIU/ml, 0.83 ng/dl, 10.24 μg/dl and 297.14 mcg/l, respectively. There was a significant correlation between TSH, FT4 and month of gestation. Mean Hb concentration was 9.27 ± 1.09 g/dl. The prevalence of iodine insufficiency (based on UI) was 16.79% and iron deficiency was 91%. Screening programme for iodine deficiency during early gestation should be implemented along with the existing programme of haemoglobin estimation at first prenatal visit. This would help prevent damage to the developing brain and growth of the foetus and also to trace at-risk pregnant women.
Ornithosis outbreaks in poultry processing plants are well-described, but evidence for preventive measures is currently lacking. This study describes a case-control study into an outbreak of ornithosis at a poultry processing plant in the East of England, identified following three employees being admitted to hospital. Workers at the affected plant were recruited via their employer, with exposures assessed using a self-completed questionnaire. Cases were ascertained using serological methods or direct antigen detection in sputum. 63/225 (28%) staff participated, with 10% of participants showing evidence of recent infection. Exposure to the killing/defeathering and automated evisceration areas, and contact with viscera or blood were the main risk factors for infection. Personal protective equipment (goggles and FFP3 masks) reduced the effect of exposure to risk areas and to self-contamination with potentially infectious material. Our study provides some evidence of effectiveness for respiratory protective equipment in poultry processing plants where there is a known and current risk of ornithosis. Further studies are required to confirm this tentative finding, but in the meantime respiratory protective equipment is recommended as a precautionary measure in plants where outbreaks of ornithosis occur.
New variants of Vibrio cholerae O1 have appeared in different time-frames in various endemic regions, especially in Asia and Africa. Sixty-nine strains of V. cholerae O1 isolated in Zambia between 1996 and 2004 were investigated by various genotypic techniques to determine the lineage of virulence signatures and clonality. All strains were positive for Vibrio seventh pandemic Islands (VSP)-I and VSP-II and repeat toxin (RTX) gene clusters attesting their El Tor lineage. Interestingly, strains isolated in recent times (2003–2004) were identified as an altered variant (El Tor biotype that harbours El Tor type rstR but produce classical ctxB) that replaced completely the progenitor El Tor strains prevalent in 1996–1997. Recent altered variant strains differed from prototype El Tor strains isolated earlier in that these strains lacked two ORFs, VC0493 and VC0498, in the VSP-II region. PFGE analysis revealed two major clonal lineages in the strains; cluster A represented the strains isolated before 2003 and cluster B the altered strains isolated in 2003–2004. Cluster A was closely related to prototype El Tor reference strain isolated in Bangladesh in 1971. Cluster B was found to be matched with Bangladeshi altered strains but was different from the hybrid strains isolated from Mozambique and Bangladesh. This report provides important information on the genesis of altered strains of V. cholerae O1 isolated in Zambia and emphasizes the need for further studies to follow the trends of evolutionary changes.
During epidemics of cholera in two rural sites (Bakerganj and Mathbaria), a much higher proportion of patients came for treatment with severe dehydration than was seen in previous years. V. cholerae O1 isolated from these patients was found to be El Tor in its phenotype, but its cholera toxin (CT) was determined to be that of classical biotype. Whether the observed higher proportion of severe dehydration produced by the El Tor biotype was due to a shift from El Tor to classical CT or due to other factors is not clear. However, if cholera due to strains with increased severity spread to other areas where treatment facilities are limited, there are likely to be many more cholera deaths.
High fluences of low energy Ge+ ions were implanted into Si matrix. We have also deposited Ge and SiO2 composite films by using the Atom beam sputtering (ABS). The as implanted/as-deposited films were irradiated by Swift Heavy Ions (SHI) with various energies and fluences. These pristine and irradiated samples were subsequently characterized by XRD and Raman to understand the crystallization behavior. Raman studies of the films indicate the formation of Ge crystallites as a result of SHI irradiation. Glancing angle X-ray diffraction results also confirm the presence of Ge crystallites in the irradiated samples. Moreover, the crystalline nature of Ge improves with an increase in fluence. Rutherford back scattering was used to quantify the concentration of Ge in SiO2 matrix and the film thickness. These detailed results have been discussed and compared with the ones available in literature. The basic mechanism for crystallization induced by SHI in these films will be presented.
Formation of CoSi2 in Co implanted Si sample has been studied using
glancing incidence X-ray diffraction and depth resolved
positron annihilation techniques. The implanted sample exhibits near-surface amorphization in the temperature range between 300 K and 670 K. It is found that recrystallization of Si occurs at 870 K which inturn, triggers the formation of the CoSi2 phase at lower temperatures as compared to that obtained in thin film systems. The results are discussed in the light of enhanced intermixing brought by defect migration, associated with recrystallization.
Antibiotic resistance data, made available from laboratory records during eight cholera outbreaks between 1990 and 2004 showed Vibrio cholerae serogroup O1 to have a low level of resistance (2–3%) to tetracycline during 1990–1991. Resistance increased for tetracycline (95%), chloramphenicol (78%), doxycycline (70%) and trimethoprim–sulphamethoxazole (97%) in subsequent outbreaks. A significant drop in resistance to tetracycline and chloramphenicol followed the adoption of a national policy to replace tetracycline with erythromycin for treating cholera. Sixty-nine strains from cholera outbreaks in Zambia between 1996 and 2004, were examined for antibiotic resistance and basic molecular traits. A 140 MDa conjugative, multidrug-resistant plasmid was found to encode tetracycline resistance in strains from 1996/1997 whereas strains from 2003/2004 were resistant to furazolidone, but susceptible to tetracycline, and lacked this plasmid. PCR revealed 25 of 27 strains from 1996/1997 harboured the intl1 class 1 integron but lacked SXT, a conjugative transposon element. Similar screening of 42 strains from 2003/2004 revealed all carried SXT but not the intl1 class 1 integron. All 69 strains, except two, one lacking ctxA and the other rstR and thus presumably truncated in the CTX prophage region, were positive for important epidemic markers namely rfbO1, ctxA, rstR2, and tcpA of El Tor biotype. Effective cholera management is dependent on updated reports on culture and sensitivity to inform the choice of antibiotic. Since the emergence of antibiotic resistance may significantly influence strategies for controlling cholera, continuous monitoring of epidemic strains is crucial.
A total of 113 strains of Shigella dysenteriae type 2 isolated from patients attending the Dhaka diarrhoea treatment centre of ICDDR,B: Centre for Health and Population Research during the period 1999–2004 were studied. Serotype of the isolates was confirmed using commercially available antisera. Except for arabinose fermentation, all the strains had similar biochemical reactions. More than 60% of the strains were sensitive to commonly used antibiotics; only 6% (n=7) of the strains were resistant to nalidixic acid, and none of the strains were resistant to mecillinam and ciprofloxacin. All strains were invasive as demonstrated by the presence of a 140 MDa plasmid, ial, sen and ipaH genes, Congo Red absorption ability and by the Sereny test performed on representative strains. Plasmid patterns were heterogeneous but more than 50% of strains were confined to a single pattern. All strains possessed a 1·6 MDa plasmid and 87% of the strains contained a 4 MDa plasmid. Middle-range plasmids (90 MDa to 30 MDa) present in 36% of the strains were not associated with antibiotic resistance. All the strains were clustered within a single type with four subtypes by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis while ribotyping patterns of all the strains were identical.
During recent years a pandemic clone of Vibrio parahaemolyticus has emerged. Isolates of this clone are distributed among several serotypes, but are genotypically related. In the present study, a phenotyping method (biochemical fingerprinting) was used to characterize pandemic and non-pandemic isolates belonging to V. parahaemolyticus. It was found that the pandemic isolates showed a high level of phenotypic homogeneity and a majority of the pandemic isolates belonged to the same biochemical phenotype, whereas non-pandemic V. parahemolyticus isolates were more heterogeneous. In conclusion, biochemical fingerprinting of V. parahaemolyticus can be used as a first screening method to differentiate between pandemic and non-pandemic isolates of V. parahaemolyticus.
Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) is commonly used in molecular epidemiology. However, this technique has never been used in studying intra-family spread of enteric diseases in Bangladesh. Our objective was to evaluate the intra-familial transmission of shigella infection using PFGE. Children of either sex, less than 10 years old, who were family contacts of shigella-infected index cases were the study population. PFGE was applied if the same serotypes/sub-serotypes of shigella were isolated from both the index case and the family contact children. In total, 227 index cases were studied. Shigella was isolated from 61 (27%) contact children on day 1 of enrolment, among which Shigella flexneri (41%) and S. boydii (41%) were dominant, followed by S. dysenteriae (10%), S. sonnei (3%), and shigella-like organisms (5%). Seventeen (28%) of the asymptomatic infections in contact children were caused by the same serotype of shigella as that found in the index case. The intra-familial shigella transmission rate was 8% (17/227). Of the 227 contact children, eight (4%) developed diarrhoea during a 10-day follow-up and shigella was isolated from five (2%) of these children, and three of them (S. flexneri 3a, 1b, and 3a) were identical to the strains from their respective index cases. Compared to children without asymptomatic carriage of shigella (2/166), the risk (odds ratio) of developing diarrhoea for the children with asymptomatic carriage of shigella identical to their cases (3/17) was 9·0 (95% CI 1·5–49·0, P=0·01). The attributable risk for symptomatic shigella infection by intra-familial transmission was 50%. Results of this study demonstrated that intra-familial transmission of shigella carries a higher risk for diarrhoea.
During 1989–2002, we studied the antimicrobial resistance of 3928 blood culture isolates of Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi (S. Typhi) in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Overall 32% (1270) of the strains were multidrug-resistant (MDR, resistant to chloramphenicol, ampicillin and trimethoprim–sulphamethoxazole); first detected in 1990 (rate of 8%), increased in 1994 (44%), declined in 1996 (22%, P<0·01 compared to 1994) and re-emerged in 2001 (36%) and 2002 (42%, P<0·01 compared to 1996). An increased MIC of ciprofloxacin (0·25 μg/ml) indicating decreased susceptibility to ciprofloxacin was detected in 24 (18·2%) out of 132 randomly selected strains during 1990–2002; more frequently in MDR than susceptible strains (46·3% vs. 5·5%, P<0·001), and the proportion of them rose to 47% in 2002 from 8% in 2000 (P<0·01). Ciprofloxacin (5 μg) disk diffusion zone diameters of [les ]24 mm as break-point had 98% sensitivity and 100% specificity when compared with a ciprofloxacin MIC of 0·25 μg/ml as break-point for decreased susceptibility; being a useful and easy screen test. All strains were susceptible to ceftriaxone. The emergence of MDR S. Typhi with decreased ciprofloxacin susceptibility will further complicate the therapy of typhoid fever because of the lack of optimum treatment guidelines.
Rita R. Colwell, Center of Marine Biotechnology, University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, 701 East Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21202,
Shah M. Faruque, International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease, Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh,
G. Balakrish Nair, International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease, Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Toxigenic strains of the Gram-negative bacterium Vibrio cholerae cause the most severe form of dehydrating diarrhea known as cholera and have been responsible for at least seven distinct pandemics of cholera (Faruque et al., 1998a). Since the first recorded pandemic, which began in 1817, V. cholerae strains associated with different pandemics are assumed to have undergone phenotypic and genetic changes with time. For example, although the seventh pandemic was caused by the El Tor biotype of V. cholerae, the sixth and possibly earlier pandemics were caused by the classical biotype. The genetic changes in V. cholerae associated with epidemics and pandemics, however, were not fully appreciated until the development and application of molecular techniques to analyze strains.
Recent application of molecular approaches has enabled extraordinary progress in our understanding of the evolution of V. cholerae. Like other bacteria, V. cholerae can be assumed to have existed well before human evolution and therefore to have originated primarily as a free-living aquatic microorganism. The fact that over a period of a million years some clones (serogroups) of this organism have acquired the ability to colonize transiently the human intestine and become an efficient human pathogen reflects the progressive acquisition of the genetic capability to become pathogenic for humans. They could have acquired this capability by embracing another “life style,” albeit accidentally, by carrying out a function in the human host that it performs either symbiotically or commensally for its nonhuman host but is, in effect, pathogenic to the human host, or alternatively, by finding a niche whereby the organism could amplify and perpetuate itself as effectively or more effectively, than it could in a free-living state.
The local intersection cohomology of a point in the Baily–Borel compactification (of a Hermitian locally symmetric space) is shown to be canonically isomorphic to the weighted cohomology of a certain linear locally symmetric space (an arithmetic quotient of the associated self-adjoint homogeneous cone). Explicit computations are given for the symplectic group in four variables.
The application of the generalised ballot theorem to queueing theory leads to elegant results for the simple M/G/1 queue. It is thought that such results are not possible for more general M/G/1-type queues. We, however, derive a batch ballot theorem which can be applied to derive the first passage distribution matrix, G, for the general M/G/1-type queue.
Fortification of salt with iron has been developed by the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) as a strategy for the control of iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) in India, similar to iodization of salt for control of iodine deficiency disorders (IDD). Stability of the iron fortified salt (IFS), its bioavailability and organoleptic evaluation of food items containing the IFS have been demonstrated. Acceptability and effectiveness of the IFS in school children and in multicentric community trials have been demonstrated. With the introduction of universal iodization of salt as a national policy in 1988, NIN has developed a formulation for double fortification (DFS) of salt with iodine and iron. The stability of the nutrients under laboratory conditions along with their bioavailability were found to be good but varying with the quality of salt used. The DFS has been evaluated in controlled trials in tribal communities and in residential school children. The findings of these studies are discussed. Overall, in these trials, DFS effectively controlled iodine deficiency but a clear impact on reducing anaemia was not demonstrated. In residential schoolchildren, increased urinary excretion of iodine as well as reduced anaemia were observed. The quality of salt has been found to be an important determinant of the stability of iodine in DFS. Further evaluation of this potentially important intervention is in progress.