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The association between methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonisation and/or infection with increased morbidity and mortality among hospital patients has long been recognised. We sought to build on previous studies to identify modifiable risk factors associated with the acquisition of MRSA colonisation and infection by conducting a retrospective cohort study on patients admitted through the Emergency Department of an acute tertiary-care general hospital in Singapore which implemented universal on-admission MRSA screening. Patients were assigned to the acquisition or non-acquisition group depending on whether they acquired MRSA during their admission. We used logistic regression models with a patient being in the acquisition group as the binary outcome to identify factors associated with MRSA acquisition. A total of 1302 acquisition and 37 949 non-acquisition group patients were analysed. Fifteen variables were included in the multivariate model. A dose–response relationship between length of stay and odds of MRSA acquisition was observed, with a length of stay 3 weeks or more (Adj OR 11.78–57.36, all P < 0.001) being the single biggest predictor of MRSA acquisition. Other variables significantly associated with MRSA acquisition were: male gender, age 65 or greater, previous MRSA colonisation or infection, exposure to certain antibiotics and surgery, and history of diabetes.
We report the development of a novel, pulsed x-ray diffraction system with picosecond time resolution. The system has been used to study the heat transport in gold, platinum and silicon crystals heated by 10 ps, 193 nm laser pulses. Further developments and applications of time resolved picosecond x-ray diffraction are discussed.
Identifying routes of transmission among hospitalized patients during a healthcare-associated outbreak can be tedious, particularly among patients with complex hospital stays and multiple exposures. Data mining of the electronic health record (EHR) has the potential to rapidly identify common exposures among patients suspected of being part of an outbreak.
We retrospectively analyzed 9 hospital outbreaks that occurred during 2011–2016 and that had previously been characterized both according to transmission route and by molecular characterization of the bacterial isolates. We determined (1) the ability of data mining of the EHR to identify the correct route of transmission, (2) how early the correct route was identified during the timeline of the outbreak, and (3) how many cases in the outbreaks could have been prevented had the system been running in real time.
Correct routes were identified for all outbreaks at the second patient, except for one outbreak involving >1 transmission route that was detected at the eighth patient. Up to 40 or 34 infections (78% or 66% of possible preventable infections, respectively) could have been prevented if data mining had been implemented in real time, assuming the initiation of an effective intervention within 7 or 14 days of identification of the transmission route, respectively.
Data mining of the EHR was accurate for identifying routes of transmission among patients who were part of the outbreak. Prospective validation of this approach using routine whole-genome sequencing and data mining of the EHR for both outbreak detection and route attribution is ongoing.
To characterize contacts in general wards, a prospective survey of healthcare workers (HCWs), patients and visitors was conducted using self-reported diary, direct observation and telephone interviews. Nurses, doctors and assorted HCWs reported a median of 14, 18 and 15 contact persons over one work shift, respectively. Within 1 h, we observed 3·5 episodes with 25·6 min of cumulative contact time for nurses, 2·9 episodes and 22·1 min for doctors and 5·0 episodes with 44·3 min for assorted-HCWs. In interactions with patients, nurses had multiple brief episodes of contact; doctors had fewer episodes and less cumulative contact time; assorted-HCWs had fewer contact episodes of longer durations (than for nurses and doctors). Assortative mixing occurred amongst HCWs: those of the same HCW type were the next most frequent class of contact after patients. Over 24-h, patients contacted 14 persons with 23 episodes and 314·5 min of contact time. Patient-to-patient contact episodes were rare, but a maximum of five were documented from one patient participant. 22·9% of visitors reported contact with patients other than the one they visited. Our study revealed differences in the characteristics of contacts among different HCW types and potential transmission routes from patients to others within the ward environment.
The MCSA is a special-purpose digital signal processor. Its main function is to filter a wide-band signal into many narrower bands, so that each of the output bands has a bandwidth that is a better match to the signal being searched for.
The basic MCSA provides simultaneous output bandwidths of approximately 1 HZ, 32 Hz, 1024 Hz, and 74 kHz over a spectrum that is about 8 MHz wide. The input to the MCSA consists of a complex signal sampled at 10 MHz, and the outputs consist of either complex samples or power (square-law-detected) samples. In addition, the MCSA provides an accumulator for taking the integral of the power of the output bands for periods up to 1000 sec.
The MCSA hardware is constructed using wire-wrap technology. The implementation of the hardware is done with the aid of a computer program developed specifically for the design of the MCSA. Care has been taken in the MCSA design to ensure that engineering tradeoffs do not adversely affect the performance of the system.
Despite the worldwide distribution and pathogenicity of monogenean parasites belonging to the largest helminth genus, Dactylogyrus, there are no complete Dactylogyrinae (subfamily) mitogenomes published to date. In order to fill this knowledge gap, we have sequenced and characterized the complete mitogenome of Dactylogyrus lamellatus, a common parasite on the gills of grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella). The circular mitogenome is 15,187 bp in size, containing the standard 22 tRNA genes, 2 rRNA genes, 12 protein-encoding genes and a long non-coding region (NCR). There are two highly repetitive regions in the NCR. We have used concatenated nucleotide sequences of all 36 genes to perform the phylogenetic analysis using Bayesian inference and maximum likelihood approaches. As expected, the two dactylogyrids, D. lamellatus (Dactylogyrinae) and Tetrancistrum nebulosi (Ancyrocephalinae), were closely related to each other. These two formed a sister group with Capsalidae, and this cluster finally formed a further sister group with Gyrodactylidae. Phylogenetic affinity between Dactylogyrinae and Ancyrocephalinae was further confirmed by the similarity in their gene arrangement. The sequencing of the first Dactylogyrinae, along with a more suitable selection of outgroups, has enabled us to infer a much better phylogenetic resolution than recent mitogenomic studies. However, as many lineages of the class Monogenea remain underrepresented or not represented at all, a much larger number of mitogenome sequences will have to be available in order to infer the evolutionary relationships among the monogeneans fully, and with certainty.
One of the ways to obtain a detailed 3D ISM map is by gathering interstellar (IS) absorption data toward widely distributed background target stars at known distances (line-of-sight/LOS data). The radial and angular evolution of the LOS measurements allow the inference of the ISM spatial distribution. For a better spatial resolution, one needs a large number of the LOS data. It requires building fast tools to measure IS absorption. One of the tools is a global analysis that fit two different diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs) simultaneously. We derived the equivalent width (EW) ratio of the two DIBs recorded in each spectrum of target stars. The ratio variability can be used to study IS environmental conditions or to detect DIB family.
To evaluate the greatest impact that sea-ice anomalies around Antarctica could have on the global atmosphere, 15 year seasonal cycle simulations are conducted with the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Climate Model version 2.1. Sensitivity simulations are performed with the following conditions: (1) all sea ice in the Southern Hemisphere is replaced by year-round open water, but the permanent ice shelves are retained (NSIS); and (2) all sea ice in the Southern Hemisphere and the major ice shelves are removed and replaced by open water (NISH). The results are compared to a standard run (CNT) with boundary conditions set for the present climate. The comparison shows that trains of positive and negative anomalies in zonal-mean fields extend into the tropical latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. Anomalies are largest during April-October. The additional removal of the ice shelves in NISH enhances the response, as zonally averaged anomalies are similar in pattern to those in NSIS but are roughly twice as large poleward of 50° S, and only slightly larger farther north. Anomalies in the eddy fields are found in both hemispheres. in NISH, and to a lesser degree in NSIS. these anomalies appear to be related to a delayed northern advance over China during June of the rain front associated with the summer monsoon. Consequently, precipitation is enhanced in middle and southern China and decreased in northern China. Observational analyses have also found links between Antarctic sea-ice variations and modulations of the East Asian monsoon.
Stresses at the surface and at depth are calculated for a stretch of Byrd Glacier, Antarctica. The calculations are based on photogrammetrically determined velocities and elevations (Brecher 1986) and on radio-echo-determined ice thicknesses. The results take the form of maps of drags from each valley wall, of normal forces laterally and longitudinally, and of basal drag. Special challenges in the calculation are the numerical gridding of velocity (ensuring that unreasonable short-wavelength features do not develop in the calculation) and inference of ice thicknesses where there are no data.
The results show important variations in basal drag. For the floating part, basal drag is near zero, as expected. Within the grounded part, longitudinal components of basal drag are very variable, reaching 300 kPa, with a dominant wavelength of 10 km. Generally these drag maxima correlate with maxima in driving stress, and the across-glacier component of basal drag is usually small. An important exception occurs in the center of the grounded part of the glacier, where the flow shows major deviations from the axis of the valley.
Results also show that side drag is roughly constant at 250 kPa along both margins of the glacier, tension from the ice shelf is about 100 kPa, and tension in the grounded part cycles between 250 and 150kPa. Calculated deep velocities are too large and this is attributed to deficiencies in the conventional isotropic flow law used.
Hydraulic roughness exerts an important but poorly understood control on water pressure in subglacial conduits. Where relative roughness values are <5%, hydraulic roughness can be related to relative roughness using empirically-derived equations such as the Colebrook–White equation. General relationships between hydraulic roughness and relative roughness do not exist for relative roughness >5%. Here we report the first quantitative assessment of roughness heights and hydraulic diameters in a subglacial conduit. We measured roughness heights in a 125 m long section of a subglacial conduit using structure-from-motion to produce a digital surface model, and hand-measurements of the b-axis of rocks. We found roughness heights from 0.07 to 0.22 m and cross-sectional areas of 1–2 m2, resulting in relative roughness of 3–12% and >5% for most locations. A simple geometric model of varying conduit diameter shows that when the conduit is small relative roughness is >30% and has large variability. Our results suggest that parameterizations of conduit hydraulic roughness in subglacial hydrological models will remain challenging until hydraulic diameters exceed roughness heights by a factor of 20, or the conduit radius is >1 m for the roughness elements observed here.
Epitaxial Ge films are useful as a substrate for high-efficiency solar cell applications. It is possible to grow epitaxial Ge films on low cost, cube textured Ni(001) sheets using CaF2(001) as a buffer layer. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis indicates that the CaF2(001) lattice has a 45o in-plane rotation relative to the Ni(001) lattice. The in-plane epitaxy relationships are CaF2//Ni and CaF2[
10]//Ni. Energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) shows a sharp interface between Ge/CaF2 as well as between CaF2/Ni. Electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) shows that the Ge(001) film has a large grain size (∼50 μm) with small angle grain boundaries (< 8o). The epitaxial Ge thin film has the potential to be used as a substrate to grow high quality III-V and II-VI semiconductors for optoelectronic applications.
The CuInSe2 and CuSbSe2 ternary compounds and alloys of the (CuSbSe2)1-x·(CuInSe2)x system with the mole fraction of CuInSe2 (x) equal to 0.05, 0.15, 0.25, 0.375, 0.50, 0.625, 0.75, 0.85, and 0.95 were prepared and the phase relations in this system were investigated by X-ray powder diffraction, optical microscopy, and scanning electron microscopy. It was shown that the alloys of the CuSbSe2-CuInSe2 system are biphasic at room temperature in the whole range of compositions, and the limits of solubility for CuSbSe2 in CuInSe2 and for CuInSe2 in CuSbSe2 do not exceed 0.001 mole fraction.
Drought risk is considered to be among the main limiting factors for maize (Zea mays L.) production in the Northeast Farming Region of China (NFR). Maize yield data from 44 stations over the period 1961–2010 were combined with data from weather stations to evaluate the effects of climatic factors, drought risk and irrigation requirement on rain-fed maize yield in specific maize growth phases. The maize growing season was divided into four growth phases comprising seeding, vegetative, flowering and maturity based on observations of phenological data from 1981 to 2010. The dual crop coefficient was used to calculate crop evapotranspiration and soil water balance during the maize growing season. The effects of mean temperature, solar radiation, effective rainfall, water deficit, drought stress days, actual crop evapotranspiration and irrigation requirement in different growth phases were included in the statistical model to predict maize yield. During the period 1961–2010, mean temperature increased significantly in all growth phases in NFR, while solar radiation decreased significantly in southern NFR in the seeding, vegetative and flowering phases. Effective rainfall increased in the seeding and vegetative phases, reducing water deficit over the period, whereas decreasing effective rainfall over time in the flowering and maturity phases enhanced water deficit. An increase in days with drought stress was concentrated in western NFR, with larger volumes of irrigation needed to compensate for increased dryness. The present results indicate that higher mean temperature in the seeding and maturity phases was beneficial for maize yield, whereas excessive rainfall would damage maize yield, in particular in the seeding and flowering phases. Drought stress in any growth stage was found to reduce maize yield and water deficit was slightly better than other indicators of drought stress for explaining yield variability. The effect of drought stress was particularly strong in the seeding and flowering phases, indicating that these periods should be given priority for irrigation. The yield-reducing effects of both drought and intense rainfall illustrate the importance of further development of irrigation and drainage systems for ensuring the stability of maize production in NFR.
Crop production in the Northeast Farming Region of China (NFR) is affected considerably by variation in climatic conditions. Data on crop yield and weather conditions from a number of agro-meteorological stations in NFR were used in a mixed linear model to evaluate the impacts of climatic variables on the yield of maize (Zea mays L.), rice (Oryza sativa L.), soybean (Glycine max L. Merr.) and spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) in different crop growth phases. The crop growing season was divided into three growth phases based on the average crop phenological dates from records covering 1981 and 2010 at each station, comprising pre-flowering (from sowing to just prior to flowering), flowering (20 days around flowering) and post-flowering (10 days after flowering to maturity). The climatic variables were mean minimum temperature, thermal time (which is used to indicate changes in the length of growth cycles), average daily solar radiation, accumulated precipitation, aridity index (which is used to assess drought stress) and heat degree-days index (HDD) (which is used to indicate heat stress) were calculated for each growth phase and year. Over the 1961–2010 period, the minimum temperature increased significantly in each crop growth phase, the thermal time increased significantly in the pre-flowering phase of each crop and in the post-flowering phases of maize, rice and soybean, and HDD increased significantly in the pre-flowering phase of soybean and wheat. Average solar radiation decreased significantly in the pre-flowering phase of all four crops and in the flowering phase of soybean and wheat. Precipitation increased during the pre-flowering phase leading to less aridity, whereas reduced precipitation in the flowering and post-flowering phases enhanced aridity. Statistical analyses indicated that higher minimum temperature was beneficial for maize, rice and soybean yields, whereas increased temperature reduced wheat yield. Higher solar radiation in the pre-flowering phase was beneficial for maize yield, in the post-flowering phase for wheat yield, whereas higher solar radiation in the flowering phase reduced rice yield. Increased aridity in the pre-flowering and flowering phases severely reduced maize yield, higher aridity in the flowering and post-flowering phases reduced rice yield, and aridity in all growth phases reduced soybean and wheat yields. Higher HDD in all growth phases reduced maize and soybean yield and HDD in the pre-flowering phase reduced rice yield. Such effects suggest that projected future climate change may have marked effects on crop yield through effects of several climatic variables, calling for adaptation measures such as breeding and changes in crop, soil and agricultural water management.
Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) are high-strength sustainable nanomaterials, the
incorporation of which to a host polymer matrix can potentially lead to
nanocomposites with superior mechanical properties. However, the mismatch in
surface energy of CNCs and common structural polymers is a challenge that needs
to be overcome to prevent the aggregation of CNCs and ensure the robust
integration of CNCs into a polymer matrix. Herein, we report an approach
involving the functionalization of CNCs with maleated-anhydride polypropylene
(MAPP) through diethylenetriamine (DETA) linkers to significantly enhance the
compatibility between CNCs and polypropylene. Polypropylene/modified CNC
nanocomposites displayed 74% and 76% increase in elastic modulus in comparison
to neat polypropylene and polypropylene/untreated CNC nanocomposites,
respectively. The tensile strength was also higher for nanocomposites with
modified CNC than neat polypropylene, as well as nanocomposites with untreated
CNCs. The tensile strength at 5.5% strain of polypropylene/modified CNC
nanocomposites was 32% and 28% larger that of polypropylene and
polypropylene/untreated CNC nanocomposites, respectively. Finally, such
CNC-based nanocomposites have a lower density than many competitive systems
resulting in opportunities to propagate this environmentally-responsible
technology to nanocomposites used in additive manufacturing, automotive
applications, construction materials and consumer products.