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The home environment has a major impact on child development. Parental severe mental illness can pose a challenge to the home environment of a child. We aimed to examine the home environment of children of parents with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder and controls longitudinally through at-home assessments.
Assessments were conducted within The Danish High Risk and Resilience Study, a nationwide multi-center cohort study of children of parents with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder and population-based controls. The level of at-home stimulation and support was measured at age 7 (N = 508 children) and age 11 (N = 430 children) with the semi-structured HOME Inventory. Results from the 11-year follow-up study were analyzed and compared with 7-year baseline results to examine change across groups.
At age 11, children of parents with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder had lower levels of stimulation and support than controls (mean (s.d.) = 46.16 (5.56), 46.87 (5.34) and 49.25 (4.37) respectively, p < 0.001). A higher proportion of children with parental schizophrenia or bipolar disorder lived in inadequate home environments at age 11, compared with controls (N (%) = 24 (15.0), 12 (12.2) and 6 (3.5) respectively, p < 0.003). The changes in home environment scores did not differ across groups from age 7 to age 11.
Assessed longitudinally from the children's age of 7 to 11, children of parents with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder had lower levels of stimulation and support in their homes than controls. Integrated support which can target practical, economic, social and health issues to improve the home environment is indicated.
The Southeastern United States depends on coal to supply 60% of its electricity needs. The region leads in CO2 emissions and ranks second in emissions of SO2 and NO2. Compared with coal, biomass feedstocks have lower emission levels of sulfur or sulfur compounds and can potentially reduce nitrogen oxide emissions. This study examines the economic impacts of cofiring biomass feedstocks with coal in coal-fired plants under three emission credit and two cofiring level scenarios. Economic impacts are estimated for producing, collecting, and transporting feedstock; retrofitting coal-fired utilities for burning feedstock; operating cofired utilities; and coal displaced from burning the feedstock.
We investigated an increase in Trichosporon asahii isolates among inpatients. We identified 63 cases; 4 involved disseminated disease. Trichosporon species was recovered from equipment cleaning rooms, washbasins, and fomites, which suggests transmission through washbasins. Patient washbasins should be single-patient use only; adherence to appropriate hospital disinfection guidelines was recommended.
We investigated a cluster of cases of bloodstream infection (BSI) due to the mold Phialemonium at a hemodialysis center in Illinois and conducted a cohort study to identify risk factors.
Environmental assessment and cohort study.
A hemodialysis center in a tertiary care hospital.
A case patient was defined as a person who underwent dialysis at the center and had a blood sample that tested positive for Phialemonium curvatum on culture. We reviewed microbiology and medical records and tested water, surface, and dialysate samples by culture. Molds isolated from environmental and clinical specimens were identified by their morphological features and confirmed by sequencing DNA.
We identified 2 case patients with BSI due to P. curvatum. Both became febrile and hypotensive while undergoing dialysis on the same machine at the same treatment station, although on different days. Dialysis machines were equipped with waste handling option ports that are used to discard dialyzer priming fluid. We isolated P. curvatum from the product water (ie, water used for dialysis purposes) at 2 of 19 treatment stations, one of which was the implicated station.
The source of P. curvatum was likely the water distribution system. To our knowledge, this is the first report of patients acquiring a mold BSI from contaminated product water. The route of exposure in these cases of BSI due to P. curvatum may be related to the malfunction and improper maintenance of the waste handling option ports. Waste handling option ports have been previously implicated as the source of bacterial BSI due to the backflow of waste fluid into a patient's blood line. No additional cases of infection were noted after remediation of the water distribution system and after discontinuing use of waste handling option ports at the facility.
Molds are a rare cause of disseminated infection among dialysis patients.
We evaluated a cluster of intravascular infections with the mold Phialemonium among patients receiving hemodialysis at the same facility in order to identify possible environmental sources and prevent further infection.
Environmental assessment and case-control study.
A hemodialysis center affiliated with a tertiary care hospital.
We reviewed surveillance and clinical microbiology records and performed a blood culture survey for all patients. The following data for case patients were compared with those for control patients: underlying illness, dialysis characteristics, medications, and other possible exposure for 120 days prior to infection. Environmental assessment of water treatment, dialysis facilities, and heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems of the current and previous locations of the dialysis center was performed. Samples were cultured for fungus; Phialemonium isolates were confirmed by sequencing of DNA. Investigators observed dialysis access site disinfection technique.
Four patients were confirmed as case patients, defined as a patient having intravascular infection with Phialemonium species; 3 presented with fungemia, and 1 presented with an intravascular graft infection. All case patients used a fistula or graft for dialysis access, as did 12 (75%) of 16 of control patients (P = .54). Case and control patients did not differ in other dialysis characteristics, medications received, physiologic findings, or demographic factors. Phialemonium species were not recovered from samples of water or dialysis machines, but were recovered from the condensation drip pans under the blowers of the HVAC system that supplied air to the dialysis center. Observational study of 21 patients detected suboptimal contact time with antiseptic agents used to prepare dialysis access sites.
The report of this outbreak adds to previous published reports of Phialemonium infection occurring in immunocompromised patients who likely acquired infection in the healthcare setting. Recovery of this mold from blood culture should be considered indicative of infection until proven otherwise. Furthermore, an investigation into possible healthcare-related environmental reservoirs should be considered.
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