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Among the different existing types of bacterial meningitis, the one caused by Neisseria meningitidis is the main presentation of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD). IMD is a significant public health concern and has a reported incidence rate in Argentina of 0.44 cases per 100 000 inhabitants in 2015. However, the actual incidence is thought to be higher as passive surveillance systems neither report nor identify 100% of all cases. The aim of this study is to develop an estimation of the burden of IMD in Argentina closer to reality by adjusting/correcting several limitations observed in the surveillance data available. A retrospective observational study has been performed using four Argentinean national databases recording the number of IMD cases and deaths, serogroups of N. meningitidis and ages, between 2007 to 2016. The reported data were adjusted to account for underreporting and to also integrate the cases missed due to well-known limitations associated with the diagnosis of N. meningitidis detection methods. Data were further analysed by serogroups of N. meningitidis and by age groups. After these adjustments, the potential numbers of IMD cases and IMD-related deaths are estimated to be 3.1 and 1.9 higher than reported, respectively. The study corrects the previous underestimation of the disease burden and provides expectedly more robust estimates aligned with international evidence and highlights the importance of active surveillance, with high-quality methods, for a better definition of preventive strategies against IMD in Argentina.
Describing species has been a formal, intellectually rich and influential applied and basic area of study for many of the past 260 years. While formally described eukaryotic diversity still falls short of estimated eukaryotic species diversity by many hundreds of thousands of species, some recent accounts have suggested a growing number of taxonomists are within reach of describing all extant species. We present a case study that illustrates, to the contrary, a recent ‘taxonomic impediment’ in part attributable to derogation of taxonomy as a scientific discipline: contemporary practice has re-interpreted taxonomy largely as an endeavour in enumerating species. We argue that challenges lie in (1) a poor understanding of taxonomy's epistemology; (2) excessive displacement of interest toward ecological or molecular studies; (3) over-interpretation of the contributions of multiple authors describing a species; and (4) perspectives that are strongly influenced by well-known taxa. The historical and recent literature on scyphozoans reveal ghosts of taxonomy's past that persist in the present, but suggest also that a renaissance enabled by integrative taxonomy is possible in the (near) future.
To date, cyber security research is built on observational studies involving macro-level attributes as causal factors that account for state behaviour in cyberspace. While this tradition resulted in significant findings, it abstracts the importance of individual decision-makers. Specifically, these studies have yet to provide an account as to why states fail to integrate available information resulting in suboptimal judgements such as the misattribution of cyber operations. Using a series of vignette experiments, the study demonstrates that cognitive heuristics and motivated reasoning play a crucial role in the formation of judgements vis-à-vis cyberspace. While this phenomenon is frequently studied relative to the physical domain, it remains relatively unexplored in the context of cyberspace. Consequently, this study extends the existing literature by highlighting the importance of micro-level attributes in interstate cyber interactions.
We investigated the distribution of comorbidities among adult tuberculosis (TB) patients in Chiapas, the poorest Mexican state, with a high presence of indigenous population, and a corridor for migrants from Latin America. Secondary analysis on 5508 new adult TB patients diagnosed between 2010 and 2014 revealed that the most prevalent comorbidities were diabetes mellitus (DM; 19.1%) and undernutrition (14.4%). The prevalence of DM in these TB patients was significantly higher among middle aged (41–64 years) compared with older adults (⩾65 years) (38.6% vs. 23.2%; P < 0.0001). The prevalence of undernutrition was lower among those with DM, and higher in communities with high indigenous presence. Immigrants only comprised 2% of all TB cases, but were more likely to have unfavourable TB treatment outcomes (treatment failure, death and default) when compared with those born in Chiapas (29.5% vs. 11.1%; P < 0.05). Unfavourable TB outcomes were also more prevalent among the TB patients with undernutrition, HIV or older age, but not DM (P < 0.05). Our study in Chiapas illustrates the challenges of other regions worldwide where social (e.g. indigenous origin, poverty, migration) and host factors (DM, undernutrition, HIV, older age) are associated with TB. Further understanding of these critical factors will guide local policy makers and health providers to improve TB management.
The objective of this study was to investigate the impact of the most commonly cited factors that may have influenced infants’ gut microbiota profiles at one year of age: mode of delivery, breastfeeding duration and antibiotic exposure. Barcoded V3/V4 amplicons of bacterial 16S-rRNA gene were prepared from the stool samples of 52 healthy 1-year-old Australian children and sequenced using the Illumina MiSeq platform. Following the quality checks, the data were processed using the Quantitative Insights Into Microbial Ecology pipeline and analysed using the Calypso package for microbiome data analysis. The stool microbiota profiles of children still breastfed were significantly different from that of children weaned earlier (P<0.05), independent of the age of solid food introduction. Among children still breastfed, Veillonella spp. abundance was higher. Children no longer breastfed possessed a more ‘mature’ microbiota, with notable increases of Firmicutes. The microbiota profiles of the children could not be differentiated by delivery mode or antibiotic exposure. Further analysis based on children’s feeding patterns found children who were breastfed alongside solid food had significantly different microbiota profiles compared to that of children who were receiving both breastmilk and formula milk alongside solid food. This study provided evidence that breastfeeding continues to influence gut microbial community even at late infancy when these children are also consuming table foods. At this age, any impacts from mode of delivery or antibiotic exposure did not appear to be discernible imprints on the microbial community profiles of these healthy children.
To examine the feasibility of using social media to assess the consumer nutrition environment by comparing sentiment expressed in Yelp reviews with information obtained from a direct observation audit instrument for grocery stores.
Trained raters used the Nutrition Environment Measures Survey in Stores (NEMS-S) in 100 grocery stores from July 2015 to March 2016. Yelp reviews were available for sixty-nine of these stores and were retrieved in February 2017 using the Yelp Application Program Interface. A sentiment analysis was conducted to quantify the perceptions of the consumer nutrition environment in the review text. Pearson correlation coefficients (ρ) were used to compare NEMS-S scores with Yelp review text on food availability, quality, price and shopping experience.
Detroit, Michigan, USA.
Yelp reviews contained more comments about food availability and the overall shopping experience than food price and food quality. Negative sentiment about food prices in Yelp review text and the number of dollar signs on Yelp were positively correlated with observed food prices in stores (ρ=0·413 and 0·462, respectively). Stores with greater food availability were rated as more expensive on Yelp. Other aspects of the food store environment (e.g. overall quality and shopping experience) were captured only in Yelp.
While Yelp cannot replace in-person audits for collecting detailed information on the availability, quality and cost of specific food items, Yelp holds promise as a cost-effective means to gather information on the overall cost, quality and experience of food stores, which may be relevant for nutrition outcomes.
Resonant soft x-ray scattering (RSoXS) leverages chemical specificity to characterize thin films but is limited near the nitrogen edge. The challenge is that commercially available x-ray transparent substrates are composed of Si3N4 and thereby absorb incident x-rays and generate incoherent fluorescence. To overcome this challenge, we designed and fabricated Al2O3 free-standing films for use as RSoXS windows. Al2O3 films offer higher x-ray transmittance and minimal fluorescence near the nitrogen edge. As an example, Al2O3 windows allow for nitrogen RSoXS of conjugated block copolymer thin films that reveal domain spacings, which are not apparent with commercially available Si3N4 substrates.
Milk fat composition can be modulated by the inclusion of lipid supplements in ruminant diets. An interaction between the lipid supplement and the forage to concentrate ratio or the type of forage in the rations may affect milk fat composition. However, little is known about the effects of the starch-to-non-forage NDF ratio in the concentrate and lipid supplementation of goat diets. The aim of this work was to determine the role of dietary carbohydrates in goats rations supplemented with linseed oil on animal performance and milk fatty acid (FA) profile. A total of 16 dairy goats were allocated to two simultaneous experiments (two treatments each), in a crossover design with four animals per treatment and two experimental periods of 25 days. In both experiments alfalfa hay was the sole forage and the forage to concentrate ratio (33:67) remained constant. The concentrate in experiment 1 consisted of barley, maize and soybean meal (concentrate rich in starch), whereas it included soybean hulls replacing 25% of barley and 25% maize in experiment 2 (concentrate rich in NDF). As a result, the starch-to-non-forage NDF ratio was 3.1 in experiment 1 and it decreased to 0.8 in experiment 2. Both concentrates were administered either alone or in combination with 30 g/day of linseed oil. Animal performance parameters were not affected by experimental treatments. In contrast, major changes were observed in milk FA profile due to lipid supplementation and the type of concentrate. Linseed oil significantly raised vaccenic and rumenic acids as well as α-linolenic acid and its biohydrogenation intermediates while decreased medium-chain saturated FA (12:0 to 16:0) in milk fat. Milk fat contents of odd and branched-chain FA and trans-10 18:1 responded differently to linseed oil supplementation according to the concentrate fed.
Protocols designed for the adipogenic differentiation of human and mouse cells are commonly used for inducing the adipogenesis of bovine stromal vascular cells. However, likely due to metabolic differences between ruminant and non-ruminant animals, these methods result in only few cells undergoing complete adipogenesis with minimal lipid droplet accumulation. Here, we discuss the development of an adipogenic differentiation protocol for bovine primary cells through a three-dimensional spheroid culture. Stromal vascular cells derived from bovine intramuscular fat were isolated and stored in liquid nitrogen before culturing. Cells were cultured in hanging drops for 3 days to allow for the formation of spherical structures. The spheroids were then transferred to cell culture plates with endothelial basal medium-2 for 3 days and in Dulbecco’s Modified Eagle’s Medium (DMEM) supplemented with a standard adipogenic cocktail for 3 additional days, which were then allowed to fully differentiate for 3 days in DMEM supplemented with insulin. Compared with conventional two-dimensional culture, cells in a three-dimensional spheroid culture system had higher adipogenic gene expression and consequently contained more adipocytes with larger lipid droplets. In addition, endothelial induction of spheroids prior to adipogenic differentiation is essential for efficient induction of adipogenesis of bovine stromal vascular cells, mimicking in vivo adipose development. In summary, the newly developed three-dimensional spheroid culture method is an efficient way to induce adipogenic differentiation and study adipose development of cells derived from ruminant animals, which also can be used for studying the role of angiogenesis in adipose development.
In this study, we sought to evaluate the performance of the Xpert MTB/RIF (Cepheid) assay for the detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) complex DNA on fresh and formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue specimens from oncology patients in an area with a low prevalence of tuberculosis. We also aimed to retrospectively assess the potential impact of Xpert MTB/RIF on the duration of airborne infection isolation (AII).
A 473-bed, tertiary-care cancer center in New York City.
A total of 203 tissue samples (101 FFPE and 102 fresh) were tested using Xpert MTB/RIF, including 133 pulmonary tissue samples (65.5%) and 70 extrapulmonary tissue samples (34.5%). Acid-fast bacilli (AFB) culture was used as the diagnostic gold standard. The limit of detection (LOD) and reproducibility were also evaluated for both samples types using contrived specimens. The potential impact of the Xpert MTB PCR assay on tissue samples from AII patients on AII duration was retrospectively assessed.
Using the Xpert MTB/RIF for fresh tissue specimens, the sensitivity was 50% (95% CI, 1.3%–98.7%) and the specificity was 99% (95% CI, 94.5%–99.9%). For FFPE tissue specimens, the sensitivity was 100% (95% CI, 63.1%–100%) and the specificity was 98.3% (95% CI, 95.5%–100%. The LOD was 103 colony-forming units (CFU)/mL for both fresh and FFPE tissue specimens, and the Xpert MTB/RIF was 100% reproducible at concentrations 10 times that of the LOD. With an expected turnaround time of 24 hours, the Xpert MTB PCR could decrease the duration of AII from a median of 8 days to a median of 1 day.
The Xpert MTB/RIF assay offers a valid option for ruling out Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) on tissue samples from oncology patients and for minimizing AII resource utilization.
This study assessed milk productivity, demographic characteristics and workload distribution on a single high-yield dairy ewe farm in Spain (Avila, Spain; continental climate, latitude of 40.90 N, altitude of 900 m) over a 7-year period considering a transition from a herd management system involving five lambings per year (5LY) to a system involving 10 lambings per year (10LY). The 5LY system was practiced on the farm from 2010 to 2012 and the 10LY system from 2014 to 2015, with 2009 and 2013 being considered transition years. During this period, 27 415 lactations were recorded from an average of 3746 Lacaune sheep/year. Several productivity parameters were higher in 2014 to 2015 than in 2010 to 2012: milk yield/lactation (370±156 v. 349±185 l), lactation length (218±75 v. 192±75 days) and dry period length (53.5±38.3 v. 69.1±34.8 days) (all P<0.0001). During 2014 to 2015, investment in new lambing facilities was possible, workload was distributed more uniformly throughout the year, workload per worker was smaller, rate of ewe culling was lower (35.39±0.53% v. 42.51±7.51%), ewe longevity was greater and higher-order lactations were more numerous (P<0.0001). On the other hand, during 2010 to 2012, daily production was higher (1.73±1.66 v. 1.70±0.62 l/day; P=0.038), the interlambing period was shorter (283±50 v. 302±44 days; P<0.0001) and lambings/ewe per year were greater (1.42±0.01 v. 1.30±0.01; P<0.05). These results suggest that a 10LY herd management system can be compatible with profitability, productivity and good animal and worker’s welfare on a high-yield dairy farm, and may even be associated with better outcomes than a 5LY system.
Immunocastration (ImC) has been proposed as an animal welfare-friendly alternative to reduce sexual and aggressive behavior and to increase carcass fat deposition with positive effects on meat quality. The β-adrenergic agonists (β-AA) are known as repartitioning agents that acts increasing lean tissue deposition. The combined use of these technologies can positively affect meat quality and increase retail cuts yield. Thus, this research was conducted to evaluate the combined effects of ImC and β-AA (zilpaterol hydrochloride (ZH) and ractopamine hydrochloride (RH)) on retail cuts, bones, and fat trim of feedlot finished Bos indicus (Nellore) cattle. No interaction was observed between sexual condition and diet for any trait. The ImC decreased cold carcass, hindquarter (HQ), forequarter (FQ) and combined brisket, short ribs and flank (BSF) weights. The ImC also showed smaller weights of retail cuts and bones on the HQ and on the FQ than non-castrated (NoC). Fat trim weights did not differ from ImC and NoC. The most of subprimal cuts were heavier in NoC than in ImC. Feeding β-AA did not affect cold carcass weight; however, animals fed ZH had higher weights of HQ and retail cuts in HQ when compared with RH and control (CO) group, with no differences between RH and CO for both traits. The weights of FQ, BSF, retail cuts in FQ, as well as bones and fat trimmings were not affected by β-AA. In summary, ImC decreases carcass and retail cut weights, whereas ZH supplementation leads to an improvement in carcass lean tissue and retail cuts.
We describe the investigation of two temporally coincident illness clusters involving salmonella and Staphylococcus aureus in two states. Cases were defined as gastrointestinal illness following two meal events. Investigators interviewed ill persons. Stool, food and environmental samples underwent pathogen testing. Alabama: Eighty cases were identified. Median time from meal to illness was 5·8 h. Salmonella Heidelberg was identified from 27 of 28 stool specimens tested, and coagulase-positive S. aureus was isolated from three of 16 ill persons. Environmental investigation indicated that food handling deficiencies occurred. Colorado: Seven cases were identified. Median time from meal to illness was 4·5 h. Five persons were hospitalised, four of whom were admitted to the intensive care unit. Salmonella Heidelberg was identified in six of seven stool specimens and coagulase-positive S. aureus in three of six tested. No single food item was implicated in either outbreak. These two outbreaks were linked to infection with Salmonella Heidelberg, but additional factors, such as dual aetiology that included S. aureus or the dose of salmonella ingested may have contributed to the short incubation periods and high illness severity. The outbreaks underscore the importance of measures to prevent foodborne illness through appropriate washing, handling, preparation and storage of food.
Nearly 300 species of landbirds, whose populations total billions, migrate between the Neotropics and North America. Many migratory populations are in steep decline, and migration is often identified as the greatest source of annual mortality. Identifying birds’ needs on migration is therefore central to designing conservation actions for Nearctic-Neotropical migratory birds; yet migration through the Neotropics is a significant knowledge gap in our understanding of the full annual cycle. Here, we synthesise current knowledge of Neotropical stopover regions and migratory bottlenecks, focusing on long-distance, migratory landbirds that spend the boreal winter in South America. We make the important distinction between “true” stopover—involving multi-day refuelling stops—and rest-roost stops lasting < 24 hours, citing a growing number of studies that show individual landbirds making long stopovers in just a few strategic areas, to accumulate large energy reserves for long-distance flights. Based on an exhaustive literature search, we found few published stopover studies from the Neotropics, but combined with recent tracking studies, they describe prolonged stopovers for multiple species in the Orinoco grasslands (Llanos), the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (Colombia), and the Yucatan Peninsula. Bottlenecks for diurnal migrants are well described, with the narrowing Central American geography concentrating millions of migrating raptors at several points in SE Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama and the Darién. However, diurnally migrating aerial insectivores remain understudied, and determining stopover/roost sites for this steeply declining group is a priority. Despite advances in our knowledge of migration in the Neotropics, we conclude that major knowledge gaps persist. To identify stopover sites and habitats and the threats they face, we propose a targeted and collaborative research agenda at an expanded network of Neotropical sites, within the context of regional conservation planning strategies.
Leishmaniasis is a complex of zoonotic diseases caused by parasites of the genus Leishmania, which can develop in domestic as well as wild animals and humans throughout the world. Currently, this disease is spreading in rural and urban areas of non-endemic regions in Brazil. Recently, bats have gained epidemiological significance in leishmaniasis due to its close relationship with human settlements. In this study, we investigated the presence of Leishmania spp. DNA in blood samples from 448 bats belonging to four families representing 20 species that were captured in the Triangulo Mineiro and Alto Paranaiba areas of Minas Gerais State (non-endemic areas for leishmaniasis), Brazil. Leishmania spp. DNA was detected in 8·0% of the blood samples, 41·6% of which were Leishmania infantum, 38·9% Leishmania amazonensis and 19·4% Leishmania braziliensis. No positive correlation was found between Leishmania spp. and bat food source. The species with more infection rates were the insectivorous bats Eumops perotis; 22·2% (4/18) of which tested positive for Leishmania DNA. The presence of Leishmania in the bat blood samples, as observed in this study, represents epidemiological importance due to the absence of Leishmaniasis cases in the region.
Astrobiology seeks to understand the limits of life and to determine the physiology of organisms in order to better assess the habitability of other worlds. To successfully achieve these goals we require microorganisms from environments on Earth that approximate to extraterrestrial environments in terms of physical and/or chemical conditions. The most challenging of these environments with respect to sample collection, isolation and cultivation of microorganisms are anoxic environments. In this paper, an approach to this challenge was implemented within the European Union's MASE (Mars Analogues for Space Exploration) project. In this review paper, we aim to provide a set of methods for future field work and sampling campaigns. A number of anoxic environment based on characteristics that make them analogous to past and present locations on Mars were selected. They included anoxic sulphur-rich springs (Germany), the salt-rich Boulby Mine (UK), a lake in a basaltic context (Iceland), acidic sediments in the Rio Tinto (Spain), glacier samples (Austria) and permafrost samples (Russia and Canada). Samples were collected under strict anoxic conditions to be used for cultivation and genomic community analysis. Using the samples, a culturing approach was implemented to enrich anaerobic organisms using a defined medium that would allow for organisms to be grown under identical conditions in future physiological comparisons. Anaerobic microorganisms were isolated and deposited with the DSMZ (Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH) culture collection to make them available to other scientists. In MASE, the selected organisms are studied with respect to survival and growth under Mars relevant stresses. They are artificially fossilized and the resulting biosignatures studied and used to investigate the efficacy of life detection instrumentation for planetary missions. Some of the organisms belong to genera with medical and environmental importance such as Yersinia spp., illustrating how astrobiology field research can be used to increase the availability of microbial isolates for applied terrestrial purposes.
The aim of this work is to calibrate and validate an empirical approach to predict the date of occurrence of the grapevine phenology (budburst, flowering and veraison) temporally and spatially at the within-field scale. It is based on the collaboration between a classical model of phenology based on climate data and a spatial model calibrated with ancillary data of phenology observations. This approach was tested and validated on a field of cv Cabernet Sauvignon. Results showed that the spatial component improved the fit of the climatic model, allowing the generation of maps of the grapevine phenology with errors lower than 5 days of prediction. Spatio-temporal model errors were mainly associated with the temporal component of the model.