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The Endangered proboscis monkey Nasalis larvatus is endemic to the island of Borneo. Habitat loss is a major threat to this species, and an understanding of long-term demographic trends is crucial for its conservation. We assessed the population trends and group sizes of proboscis monkeys over 10 years in the Lower Kinabatangan floodplain in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. Comparisons of observed populations between 2004 and 2014 revealed significantly reduced group sizes, which is probably a result of forest fragmentation. Three long-term studies over 34–73 months in specific areas showed fluctuating estimated densities in each area, but no overall population increase or decrease. Riparian forests are the most important habitat for these monkeys, and one reason for the relatively stable population could be that there were only minor losses of forest along rivers during 2004–2014 because protected areas have been established in the region in 2005. However, proboscis monkey habitat remains under threat in areas allocated for oil palm, and protection of these areas is paramount to maintaining this population.
Silvery-Thread Moss (Bryum argenteum Hedw.) is an undesirable invader of golf course putting greens across North America, establishing colonies and proliferating despite practices to suppress it. The goal was to grow genotypes of green (growing in putting greens) and native (growing in habitats outside of putting greens) B. argenteum in a common garden experiment, allowing an experimental test of life-history traits between genotypes from these two habitats. Seventeen collections of green and 17 collections of native B. argenteum were cloned to single genotypes and raised through a minimum of two asexual generations in the lab. A culture of each genotype was initiated using a single detached shoot apex and was allowed to grow for 6 mo under conditions of inorganic nutrients present and absent. Compared with genotypes from native habitats, genotypes of B. argenteum from putting greens exhibited earlier shoot regeneration and shoot induction, faster protonemal extension, longer (higher) shoots, lower production of gemmae and bulbils, and greater aerial rhizoid cover, and showed similar tendencies of chlorophyll fluorescence properties and chlorophyll content. Cultures receiving no inorganic nutrients produced less chlorophyll content, greatly reduced growth, and bleaching of shoots. Mosses from putting greens establish more quickly, grow faster, produce more abundant rhizoids, and yet do not produce as many specialized asexual propagules compared with mosses of the same species from native habitats. The highly managed putting green environment has either selected for a suite of traits that allow the moss to effectively compete with grasses, or genotypic diversity is very high in this species, allowing a set of specialized genotypes to colonize the putting green from native habitats. Successful golf course weeds have been able to adapt to this highly competitive environment by selection acting on traits or genotypes to produce plants more successful in competing with golf course grasses.
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.
Animal health surveillance enables the detection and control of animal diseases including zoonoses. Under the EU-FP7 project RISKSUR, a survey was conducted in 11 EU Member States and Switzerland to describe active surveillance components in 2011 managed by the public or private sector and identify gaps and opportunities. Information was collected about hazard, target population, geographical focus, legal obligation, management, surveillance design, risk-based sampling, and multi-hazard surveillance. Two countries were excluded due to incompleteness of data. Most of the 664 components targeted cattle (26·7%), pigs (17·5%) or poultry (16·0%). The most common surveillance objectives were demonstrating freedom from disease (43·8%) and case detection (26·8%). Over half of components applied risk-based sampling (57·1%), but mainly focused on a single population stratum (targeted risk-based) rather than differentiating between risk levels of different strata (stratified risk-based). About a third of components were multi-hazard (37·3%). Both risk-based sampling and multi-hazard surveillance were used more frequently in privately funded components. The study identified several gaps (e.g. lack of systematic documentation, inconsistent application of terminology) and opportunities (e.g. stratified risk-based sampling). The greater flexibility provided by the new EU Animal Health Law means that systematic evaluation of surveillance alternatives will be required to optimize cost-effectiveness.
Development of transparent electrodynamic screens (EDS) printed on ultrathin
flexible glass film substrates for retrofitting on solar panels and solar
mirrors to perform self cleaning function is reviewed. Large-scale solar plants
are generally installed in semi-arid and desert areas where dust layers build up
on solar collectors causes major energy-yield loss. Maintaining designed plant
capacities requires more than 90% reflectivity for CSP mirrors and 90%
transmission efficiency for PV modules; solar collectors must therefore be
cleaned at a frequency depending on the rate of dust deposition. Scarcity of
water in these regions requires a cleaning method that drastically reduces or
eliminates water and the associated labor costs for high efficiency operation of
large-scale solar plants. An EDS film consists of rows of interdigitated,
transparent conducting parallel electrodes embedded within a flexible ultrathin
glass film and an optically clear adhesive film used for retrofitting the film
on the surface of solar collectors. When phased voltage pulses activate the
electrodes, the dust particles are first electrostatically charged, then
repelled and removed from the surface of the solar collectors by Coulomb force,
restoring transmission efficiency greater than 90%. The electrodes of EDS are
either made from silver nanowire or another conductive transparent material
printed on a highly transparent, ultrathin (100-μm thick), flexible
borosilicate glass film. Applications of different conducting transparent
electrodes and methods of printing are reviewed for optimizing self-cleaning
function of solar panels and mirrors.
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!
The objective was to investigate the association between early and late maternal smoking during pregnancy on offspring body mass index (BMI). We undertook a retrospective cohort study using linked records from the Women’s and Children’s Health Network in South Australia. Among a cohort of women delivering a singleton, live-born infants between January 2000 and December 2005 (n=7658), 5961 reported not smoking during pregnancy, 297 reported quitting smoking during the first trimester of pregnancy, and 1400 reported continued smoking throughout pregnancy. Trained nurses measured the height and weight of the children at preschool visits in a state-wide surveillance programme. The main outcome measure was age- and sex-specific BMI z-score. At 4 to 5 years, mean (s.d.) BMI z-score was 0.40 (1.05), 0.60 (1.07) and 0.65 (1.18) in children of mothers who reported never smoking, quitting smoking and continued smoking during pregnancy, respectively. Compared with the group of non-smokers, both quitting smoking and continued smoking were associated with an increase in child BMI z-score of 0.15 (95% confidence interval: 0.01–0.29) and 0.21 (0.13–0.29), respectively. A significant dose–response relationship was also observed between the number of cigarettes smoked per day on average during the second half of pregnancy and the increase in offspring BMI z-score (P<0.001). In conclusion, any maternal smoking in pregnancy, even if mothers quit, is associated with an increase in offspring BMI at 4 to 5 years of age.
The photochemistry of CO and its isotoplogues affects the structure and evolution of many astronomical environments, including interstellar clouds, circumstellar disks around newly formed stars, and the envelopes surrounding highly evolved stars. When in the presence of a strong ultraviolet field, the primary destruction mechanism for interstellar and circumstellar CO is photodissociation, which is entirely governed by discrete line absorption into predissociating levels in the wavelength range 91.2 to 111.8 nm. Because the CO spectrum consists primarily of resolved line features, self-shielding effects in high-column density environments can lead to strong isotopic fractionation signatures in both CO and elemental oxygen and carbon; for example, CO self-shielding in the solar nebula has been invoked to explain the unusual oxygen isotope ratios observed in the earliest solar system condensates, viz. calcium-aluminum inclusions (CAIs) in primitive meteorites.
We present observations of the first 10° of longitude in the Mopra CO survey of the southern Galactic plane, covering Galactic longitude l = 320–330° and latitude b = ±0.5°, and l = 327–330°, b = +0.5–1.0°. These data have been taken at 35-arcsec spatial resolution and 0.1 km s−1 spectral resolution, providing an unprecedented view of the molecular clouds and gas of the southern Galactic plane in the 109–115 GHz J = 1–0 transitions of 12CO, 13CO, C18O, and C17O. Together with information about the noise statistics from the Mopra telescope, these data can be retrieved from the Mopra CO website and the CSIRO-ATNF data archive.
This study assessed seroprevalence and risk factors for Leptospira (serovars Hardjo, Pomona, Ballum, Copenhageni, Tarassovi) exposure in New Zealand veterinarians. Veterinarians (n = 277) at one of two conferences were voluntarily enrolled and blood samples taken. Microscopic agglutination test (MAT) titres ⩾48 were considered seropositive. Fourteen veterinarians (5·1%, 95% confidence interval 2·8−8·3) were seropositive to Leptospira. Home slaughter of cattle or pigs were significant risk factors for Leptospira exposure. There were no clear relationships between the animal species handled at work and serostatus. However, veterinarians spending a ‘mid to high’ proportion of their time (>50% to ⩽75%) with pets had higher odds of being seropositive than those not working with pets. A borderline positive association (P = 0·09) was observed between seropositivity and clinical influenza-like illness (⩾3 days off work) in the 18 months before the study. Assuming causality, this suggests that 8·3% of these cases may be attributed to Leptospira exposure.
Human salmonellosis linked to contact with live poultry is an increasing public health concern. In 2012, eight unrelated outbreaks of human salmonellosis linked to live poultry contact resulted in 517 illnesses. In July 2012, PulseNet, a national molecular surveillance network, reported a multistate cluster of a rare strain of Salmonella Braenderup infections which we investigated. We defined a case as infection with the outbreak strain, determined by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, with illness onset from 25 July 2012–27 February 2013. Ill persons and mail-order hatchery (MOH) owners were interviewed using standardized questionnaires. Traceback and environmental investigations were conducted. We identified 48 cases in 24 states. Twenty-six (81%) of 32 ill persons reported live poultry contact in the week before illness; case-patients named 12 different MOHs from eight states. The investigation identified hatchery D as the ultimate poultry source. Sampling at hatchery D yielded the outbreak strain. Hatchery D improved sanitation procedures and pest control; subsequent sampling failed to yield Salmonella. This outbreak highlights the interconnectedness of humans, animals, and the environment and the importance of industry knowledge and involvement in solving complex outbreaks. Preventing these infections requires a ‘One Health’ approach that leverages expertise in human, animal, and environmental health.
Two global (re-)emerging zoonoses, leptospirosis and hantavirus infections, are clinically indistinguishable. Thirty-one patients, hospitalized in Sri Lanka for acute severe leptospirosis, were after exclusion of other potentially involved pathogens, prospectively screened with IgM ELISA for both pathogens. Of these, nine (29·0%) were positive for leptospirosis only, one (3·2%) for hantavirus only, seven (22·5%) for both pathogens concomitantly, whereas 13 (41·9%) remained negative for both. Moreover, in a retrospective study of 23 former patients, serologically confirmed for past leptospirosis, six (26·0%) were also positive in two different IgG ELISA hantavirus formats. Surprisingly, European Puumala hantavirus (PUUV) results were constantly higher, although statistically not significantly different, than Asian Hantaan virus (HTNV), suggesting an unexplained cross-reaction, since PUUV is considered absent throughout Asia. Moreover, RT–PCR on all hantavirus IgM ELISA positives was negative. Concomitant leptospirosis-hantavirus infections are probably heavily underestimated worldwide, compromising epidemiological data, therapeutical decisions, and clinical outcome.
Leptospirosis is a zoonosis of worldwide distribution, caused by infection with pathogenic spirochaetes of the genus Leptospira. The wild boar (Sus scrofa), an important hunting species in Europe, seems to play a significant role in the epidemiological cycle of leptospirosis. A total of 101 serum samples from wild boar hunted in Northern Portugal were analysed for leptospiral antibodies detection by microscopic agglutination test. Sera were collected during hunting seasons (2011–2013) and tested with 17 different pathogenic serovars of Leptospira. Antibodies against nine serovars were detected in 66 (65·4%) of these sera. Serovars Tarassovi and Altodouro exhibited the highest seroreactivity rates (23·8% and 16·8%, respectively), followed by Autumnalis (7·9%) and Bratislava (6·9%). Age and district of origin were found to be risk factors for the presence of leptospiral antibodies in contrast to gender. From a One Health perspective, this study revealed that wild boar should be considered as a potential source of leptospirosis dissemination for humans and animal species (domestic and wild) in shared environments, particularly in the Trás-os-Montes region.
As feral swine continue to expand their geographical range and distribution across the United States, their involvement in crop damage, livestock predation, and pathogen transmission is likely to increase. Despite the relatively recent discovery of feral swine involvement in the aetiology of a variety of pathogens, their propensity to transmit and carry a wide variety of pathogens is disconcerting. We examined sera from 2055 feral swine for antibody presence to six serovars of Leptospira that can also infect humans, livestock or domestic animals. About 13% of all samples tested positive for at least one serovar, suggesting that Leptospira infection is common in feral swine. Further studies to identify the proportion of actively infected animals are needed to more fully understand the risk they pose.
Emerging and re-emerging infectious disease (EID) events can have devastating human, animal and environmental health impacts. The emergence of EIDs has been associated with interconnected economic, social and environmental changes. Understanding these changes is crucial for EID preparedness and subsequent prevention and control of EID events. The aim of this review is to describe tools currently available for identification, prioritization and investigation of EIDs impacting human and animal health, and how these might be integrated into a systematic approach for directing EID preparedness. Environmental scanning, foresight programmes, horizon scanning and surveillance are used to collect and assess information for rapidly responding to EIDs and to anticipate drivers of emergence for mitigating future EID impacts. Prioritization of EIDs − using transparent and repeatable methods − based on disease impacts and the importance of those impacts to decision-makers can then be used for more efficient resource allocation for prevention and control. Risk assessment and simulation modelling methods assess the likelihood of EIDs occurring, define impact and identify mitigation strategies. Each of these tools has a role to play individually; however, we propose integration of these tools into a framework that enhances the development of tactical and strategic plans for emerging risk preparedness.
The prevalence of anti-HEV isotype-specific antibodies and viraemia were investigated in serum samples collected from slaughter-age pigs (aged 22–24 weeks) from 23 farms in Scotland. Of 176 serum samples tested, 29·0% (n = 51) were anti-HEV IgG positive, 36·9% (n = 65) anti-HEV IgA positive and 29·0% (n = 51) anti-HEV IgM positive. Overall seroprevalence (anti-HEV IgG+ and/or IgA+ and/or IgM+) was 61·4% (n = 108). HEV RNA was detected in 72/162 serum samples (44·4%). Partial sequence of ORF2 (98 nt) was obtained from eight HEV RNA-positive samples and phylogenetic analysis confirmed that they were all of genotype 3. This is the first report on the prevalence of HEV in pigs in Scotland. Given the increasing incidence of locally acquired HEV infection in the UK, evidence that HEV is a foodborne zoonosis emphasizes the need for surveillance in pigs.
Balamuthia mandrillaris is an emerging cause of encephalitis in humans. The transmission dynamics are poorly understood due to the high fatality rate and the sporadic nature of cases. Seventy-two soil samples were collected from beaches and the banks of lagoons, rivers, ponds, mineral springs and streams from across Jamaica and assayed for the presence of B. mandrillaris. Seventy-nine sites were sampled and the mitochondrial 16S rDNA gene of B. mandrillaris was amplified and sequenced to confirm the presence of the amoeba. One isolate of B. mandrillaris was recovered from soil from mineral spring which hosts an informal therapeutic mud bath business. Although B. mandrillaris is less frequently isolated from soil than other free-living amoebae, rubbing mud containing the organism onto the skin increases the likelihood of exposure and infection. This first report on the isolation of B. mandrillaris in the Caribbean and its presence in soil where human contact is likely warrants further investigation using serological methods to elucidate exposure patterns.
A survey of national animal influenza surveillance programmes was conducted to assess the current capacity to detect influenza viruses with zoonotic potential in animals (i.e. those influenza viruses that can be naturally transmitted between animals and humans) at regional and global levels. Information on 587 animal influenza surveillance system components was collected for 99 countries from Chief Veterinary Officers (CVOs) (n = 94) and published literature. Less than 1% (n = 4) of these components were specifically aimed at detecting influenza viruses with pandemic potential in animals (i.e. those influenza viruses that are capable of causing epidemic spread in human populations over large geographical regions or worldwide), which would have zoonotic potential as a prerequisite. Those countries that sought to detect influenza viruses with pandemic potential searched for such viruses exclusively in domestic pigs. This work shows the global need for increasing surveillance that targets potentially zoonotic influenza viruses in relevant animal species.