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Cystic echinococcosis caused by Echinococcus granulosus is a major zoonosis of public health significance in the Patagonian region of Argentina. This investigation sought to test the hypothesis that the persistence and dispersion of the parasite eggs can be explained by physical and meteorological parameters along with final host infection and behaviour. This observational study was carried out over a five-year period within an enclosure where two dogs harbouring a worm burden ranging from 100 to 1000 mature adult E. granulosus, as well as two uninfected dogs, had previously been kept for six months. Environmental canine faeces, topsoil, pond water, and sediment samples were examined to control for the presence of eggs and coproantigens of the parasite using microscope-based techniques and copro-ELISA plus copro-Western Blot tests. The parasite eggs were detected up to 41 months later in faeces from infected dogs, soil and sediment, and coproantigen tests remained positive for up to 70 months in faeces. Overall, parasite eggs were found within a maximum distance of 115 m from the contaminated dog faeces deposition site. Our findings indicate that under Patagonian environmental conditions, egg persistence and dispersion seem to be related to the worm burden and habits of the infected dog, to prevailing wind direction and to the existence of low bushes as well as natural bodies of water. The present study is the first to provide direct evidence of interaction between bioclimatic conditions and E. granulosus egg dispersion under Patagonian field conditions.
Cognitive deficits are already present in early stages of schizophrenia. P3a and P3b event-related potentials (ERPs) are believed to underlie the processes of attention and working memory (WM), yet limited research has been performed on the associations between these parameters. Therefore, we explored possible associations between P3a/b amplitudes and cognition in a large cohort of antipsychotic-naïve, first-episode schizophrenia (AN-FES) patients and healthy controls (HC).
Seventy-three AN-FES patients and 93 age- and gender-matched HC were assessed for their P3a/b amplitude with an auditory oddball paradigm. In addition, subjects performed several subtests from the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB).
AN-FES patients had significantly reduced P3a/b amplitudes, as well as significantly lower scores on all cognitive tests compared with HC. Total group correlations revealed positive associations between P3b amplitude and WM and sustained attention and negative associations with all reaction time measures. These associations appeared mainly driven by AN-FES patients, where we found a similar pattern. No significant associations were found between P3b amplitude and cognitive measures in our HC. P3a amplitude did not correlate significantly with any cognitive measures in either group, nor when combined.
Our results provide further evidence for P3a/b amplitude deficits and cognitive deficits in AN-FES patients, which are neither due to antipsychotics nor to disease progress. Furthermore, our data showed significant, yet weak associations between P3b and cognition. Therefore, our data do not supply evidence for deficient P3a/b amplitudes as direct underlying factors for cognitive deficits in schizophrenia.
To describe the transmission dynamics of the emergence and persistence of vanA vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE) in an intensive care unit (ICU) using whole-genome sequencing of patient and environmental isolates.
Retrospective cohort study.
ICU in a tertiary referral center.
Patients admitted to the ICU over an 11-month period.
VanA VRE isolated from patients (n=31) were sequenced using the Illumina MiSeq platform. Environmental samples from bed spaces, equipment, and waste rooms were collected. All vanA VRE-positive environmental samples (n=14) were also sequenced. Data were collected regarding patient ward and bed movements.
The 31 patient vanA VRE isolates were from screening (n=19), urine (n=4), bloodstream (n=3), skin/wound (n=3), and intra-abdominal (n=2) sources. The phylogeny from sequencing data confirmed several VRE clusters, with 1 group accounting for 38 of 45 isolates (84%). Within this cluster, cross-transmission was extensive and complex across the ICU. Directionality indicated that colonized patients contaminated environmental sites. Similarly, environmental sources not only led to patient colonization but also to infection. Notably, shared equipment acted as a conduit for transmission between different ICU areas. Infected patients, however, were not linked to further VRE transmission.
Genomic sequencing confirmed a predominantly clonal outbreak of VRE with complex transmission dynamics. The environmental reservoir, particularly from shared equipment, played a key role in ongoing VRE spread. This study provides evidence to support the use of multifaceted strategies, with an emphasis on measures to reduce bacterial burden in the environment, for successful VRE control.
Community-acquired bacteraemia patients (n = 2472), Denmark, 2000–2008. Albumin, C-reactive protein (CRP) and haemoglobin (Hb) measured 2000–2010. We assessed daily mean levels of albumin, CRP and Hb from 30 days before to 30 days after bacteraemia and correlations between albumin vs. CRP and albumin vs. Hb. In linear regression models, we evaluated the contribution of CRP, Hb, chronic and acute variables to the albumin level variations. The mean albumin level (33.6 g/l) was steady before day 1, declined to 29.3 g/l on day 1 with little increase afterward. The mean CRP increased from day −5, peaked on day 1 and declined thereafter. The mean Hb level was fairly constant during days −30/30. Albumin was inversely (R range, − 0.18/–0.47, P < 10−4) correlated with the CRP level and positively (R = 0.17–0.46, P < 10−4) correlated with the HB level. In most models, CRP was the first variable that contributed to the albumin variations, 34–70% of the full model. The sudden decrease of albumin levels, without sudden fluctuations of CRP or Hb, indicated that hypoalbuminaemia was a marker of trans-capillary leakage.
Automatic c-axes analyzers have been developed over the past few years, leading to a large improvement in the data available for analysis of ice crystal texture. Such an increase in the quality and quantity of data allows for stricter statistical estimates. The current textural parameters, i.e. fabric (crystallographic orientations) and microstructure (grain-boundary networks), are presented. These parameters define the state of the polycrystal and give information about the deformation undergone by the ice. To reflect the findings from automatic measurements, some parameter definitions are updated and new parameters are proposed. Moreover, a MATLAB® toolbox has been developed to extract all the textural parameters. This toolbox, which can be downloaded online, is briefly described.
Consecutive, adult, non–intensive care unit (non-ICU) inpatients triggering an institutional clinical sepsis pathway from May to August 2015.
All patients reviewed by an ID Fellow within 24 hours of sepsis pathway trigger underwent case review and clinic file documentation of recommendations. Those not reviewed by an ID Fellow were considered controls and received standard sepsis pathway care. The primary outcome was antibiotic appropriateness 48 hours after sepsis trigger.
In total, 164 patients triggered the sepsis pathway: 6 patients were excluded (previous sepsis trigger); 158 patients were eligible; 106 had ID intervention; and 52 were control cases. Of these 158 patients, 91 (58%) had sepsis, and 15 of these 158 (9.5%) had severe sepsis. Initial antibiotic appropriateness, assessable in 152 of 158 patients, was appropriate in 80 (53%) of these 152 patients and inappropriate in 72 (47%) of these patients. In the intervention arm, 93% of ID Fellow recommendations were followed or partially followed, including 53% of cases in which antibiotics were de-escalated. ID Fellow intervention improved antibiotic appropriateness at 48 hours by 24% (adjusted risk ratio, 1.24; 95% confidence interval, 1.04–1.47; P=.035). The appropriateness agreement among 3 blinded ID staff opinions was 95%. Differences in intervention and control group mortality (13% vs 17%) and median length of stay (13 vs 17.5 days) were not statistically significant.
Sepsis overdiagnosis and delayed antibiotic optimization may reduce sepsis pathway effectiveness. Early ID AMS improved antibiotic management of non-ICU inpatients with suspected sepsis, predominantly by de-escalation. Further studies are needed to evaluate clinical outcomes.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterized by problems in regulating attention and in suppressing disruptive motor activity, i.e. hyperactivity and impulsivity. We recently found evidence that aberrant distribution of posterior α band oscillations (8–12 Hz) is associated with attentional problems in ADHD. The sensorimotor cortex also produces strong 8–12 Hz band oscillations, namely the μ rhythm, and is thought to have a similar inhibitory function. Here, we now investigate whether problems in distributing α band oscillations in ADHD generalize to the μ rhythm in the sensorimotor domain.
In a group of adult ADHD (n = 17) and healthy control subjects (n = 18; aged 21–40 years) oscillatory brain activity was recorded using magnetoencephalography during a visuo-spatial attention task. Subjects had to anticipate a target with unpredictable timing and respond by pressing a button.
Preparing a motor response, the ADHD group failed to increase hemispheric μ lateralization with relatively higher μ power in sensorimotor regions not engaged in the task, as the controls did (F1,33 = 8.70, p = 0.006). Moreover, the ADHD group pre-response μ lateralization not only correlated positively with accuracy (rs = 0.64, p = 0.0052) and negatively with intra-individual reaction time variability (rs = −0.52, p = 0.033), but it also correlated negatively with the score on an ADHD rating scale (rs = −0.53, p = 0.028).
We suggest that ADHD is associated with an inability to sufficiently inhibit task-irrelevant sensorimotor areas by means of modulating μ oscillatory activity. This could explain disruptive motor activity in ADHD. These results provide further evidence that impaired modulation of α band oscillations is involved in the pathogenesis of ADHD.
To determine the source of a healthcare-associated outbreak of Pantoea agglomerans bloodstream infections.
Epidemiologic investigation of the outbreak.
Oncology clinic (clinic A).
Cases were defined as Pantoea isolation from blood or catheter tip cultures of clinic A patients during July 2012–May 2013. Clinic A medical charts and laboratory records were reviewed; infection prevention practices and the facility’s water system were evaluated. Environmental samples were collected for culture. Clinical and environmental P. agglomerans isolates were compared using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis.
Twelve cases were identified; median (range) age was 65 (41–78) years. All patients had malignant tumors and had received infusions at clinic A. Deficiencies in parenteral medication preparation and handling were identified (eg, placing infusates near sinks with potential for splash-back contamination). Facility inspection revealed substantial dead-end water piping and inadequate chlorine residual in tap water from multiple sinks, including the pharmacy clean room sink. P. agglomerans was isolated from composite surface swabs of 7 sinks and an ice machine; the pharmacy clean room sink isolate was indistinguishable by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis from 7 of 9 available patient isolates.
Exposure of locally prepared infusates to a contaminated pharmacy sink caused the outbreak. Improvements in parenteral medication preparation, including moving chemotherapy preparation offsite, along with terminal sink cleaning and water system remediation ended the outbreak. Greater awareness of recommended medication preparation and handling practices as well as further efforts to better define the contribution of contaminated sinks and plumbing deficiencies to healthcare-associated infections are needed.
Healthcare provider hands are an important source of intraoperative bacterial transmission events associated with postoperative infection development.
To explore the efficacy of a novel hand hygiene improvement system leveraging provider proximity and individual and group performance feedback in reducing 30-day postoperative healthcare-associated infections via increased provider hourly hand decontamination events.
Randomized, prospective study.
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire and UMass Memorial Medical Center in Massachusetts.
Patients undergoing surgery.
Operating room environments were randomly assigned to usual intraoperative hand hygiene or to a personalized, body-worn hand hygiene system. Anesthesia and circulating nurse provider hourly hand decontamination events were continuously monitored and reported. All patients were followed prospectively for the development of 30-day postoperative healthcare-associated infections.
A total of 3,256 operating room environments and patients (1,620 control and 1,636 treatment) were enrolled. The mean (SD) provider hand decontamination event rate achieved was 4.3 (2.9) events per hour, an approximate 8-fold increase in hand decontamination events above that of conventional wall-mounted devices (0.57 events/hour); P<.001. Use of the hand hygiene system was not associated with a reduction in healthcare-associated infections (odds ratio, 1.07 [95% CI, 0.82–1.40], P=.626).
The hand hygiene system evaluated in this study increased the frequency of hand decontamination events without reducing 30-day postoperative healthcare-associated infections. Future work is indicated to optimize the efficacy of this hand hygiene improvement strategy.
During recent years it has become rather clear that the β-Cephei variables are in a hydrogen-buring stage of their evolution. The 8 (β-Cephei variables which have been found in the Scorpio-Centaurus association highlights this. The 6 of these variables for which Glaspey (1971) provides (β, (u – b)0) photometry all fall at the tip of the sequence in the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram. This indicates that (β-Cephei stars are in the final stages of core hydrogen burning. This is in good agreement with the position of the β-Cephei strip of Watson (1972) in the H-R diagram.
To use whole genome sequencing to describe the likely origin of an outbreak of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in a neonatal unit.
The neonatal intensive care unit service of a major obstetric tertiary referral center.
Infants admitted to the neonatal unit who developed P. aeruginosa colonization or infection.
We undertook whole genome sequencing of P. aeruginosa strains isolated from colonized infants and from the neonatal unit environment.
Eighteen infants were colonized with P. aeruginosa. Isolates from 12 infants and 7 environmental samples were sequenced. All but one of the clinical isolates clustered in ST253 and no differences were detected between unmapped reads. The environmental isolates revealed a variety of sequence types, indicating a large diverse bioburden within the unit, which was subsequently confirmed via enterobacterial repetitive intergenic consensus–polymerase chain reaction typing of post-outbreak isolates. One environmental isolate, obtained from a sink in the unit, clustered within ST253 and differed from the outbreak strain by 9 single-nucleotide polymorphisms only. This information allowed us to focus infection control activities on this sink.
Whole genome sequencing can provide detailed information in a clinically relevant time frame to aid management of outbreaks in critical patient management areas. The superior discriminatory power of this method makes it a powerful tool in infection control.
Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2015;36(9):1058–1064
We consider two-dimensional one-sided convection of a solute in a fluid-saturated porous medium, where the solute decays via a first-order reaction. Fully nonlinear convection is investigated using high-resolution numerical simulations and a low-order model that couples the dynamic boundary layer immediately beneath the distributed solute source to the slender vertical plumes that form beneath. A transient-growth analysis of the boundary layer is used to characterise its excitability. Three asymptotic regimes are investigated in the limit of high Rayleigh number
, in which the domain is considered deep, shallow or of intermediate depth, and for which the Damköhler number
is respectively large, small or of order unity. Scaling properties of the flow are identified numerically and rationalised via the analytic model. For fully established high-
convection, analysis and simulation suggest that the time-averaged solute transfer rate scales with
and the plume horizontal wavenumber with
, with coefficients modulated by
in each case. For large
, the rapid reaction rate limits the plume depth and the boundary layer restricts the rate of solute transfer to the bulk, whereas for small
the average solute transfer rate is ultimately limited by the domain depth and the convection is correspondingly weaker.
Motivated by processes occurring during
sequestration in an underground saline aquifer, we examine two-dimensional convection in a finite-depth porous medium induced by a solute introduced at the upper boundary. Once dissolved, the solute concentration is assumed to decay via a first-order chemical reaction, restricting the depth over which solute can penetrate the domain. Using spectral and asymptotic methods, we explore the resulting convective mixing using linear stability analysis, computation of nonlinear steady solution branches and time-dependent simulations, as a function of Rayleigh number, Damköhler number and domain size. Long-wave eigenmodes show how deep recirculation can be driven by a shallow solute field while explicit approximations are derived for the growth of short-wave eigenmodes. Steady solution branches undergo numerous secondary bifurcations, forming an intricate network of mixed states. Although many of these states are unstable, some play an important role in organising the phase space of time-dependent states, providing approximate bounds for time-averaged mixing rates.
Chilli peppers have been shown to enhance diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT) and reduce energy intake (EI) in some studies, but there are few data on other pungent spices. The primary aim of the present study was to test the acute effects of black pepper (pepper), ginger, horseradish and mustard in a meal on 4 h postprandial DIT. The secondary aim was to examine the effects on subjective appetite measures, ad libitum EI and energy balance. In a five-way placebo-controlled, single-blind, cross-over trial, twenty-two young (age 24·9 (sd 4·6) years), normal-weight (BMI 21·8 (sd 2·1) kg/m2) males were randomly assigned to receive a brunch meal with either pepper (1·3 g), ginger (20 g), horseradish (8·3 g), mustard (21 g) or no spices (placebo). The amounts of spices were chosen from pre-testing to make the meal spicy but palatable. No significant treatment effects were observed on DIT, but mustard produced DIT, which tended to be larger than that of placebo (14 %, 59 (se 3) v. 52 (se 2) kJ/h, respectively, P= 0·08). No other spice induced thermogenic effects approaching statistical significance. Subjective measures of appetite (P>0·85), ad libitum EI (P= 0·63) and energy balance (P= 0·67) also did not differ between the treatments. Finally, horseradish decreased heart rate (P= 0·048) and increased diastolic blood pressure (P= 0·049) compared with placebo. In conclusion, no reliable treatment effects on appetite, EI or energy balance were observed, although mustard tended to be thermogenic at this dose. Further studies should explore the possible strength and mechanisms of the potential thermogenic effect of mustard actives, and potential enhancement by, for example, combinations with other food components.
This paper shows that control of foodborne disease outbreaks may be challenging even after establishing the source of infection. An outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium U323 infections occurred in Denmark from March to September 2010, involving 172 cases. Before the detection of human cases, several positive isolates of the outbreak strain had been found in a particular pig slaughterhouse and thus early traceback, investigation and control measures were possible. Several batches of pork and pork products were recalled and the slaughterhouse was closed twice for disinfection. No single common food item was identified as the outbreak source, but repeated isolation of the outbreak strain from the slaughterhouse environment and in pork and products as well as patient interviews strongly suggested different pork products as the source of infection. Furthermore, a matched case-control study identified a specific ready-to-eat spreadable pork sausage (teewurst) as the source of a sub-outbreak (matched odds ratio 17, 95% confidence interval 2·1–130).
Intercropping is a common practice in Africa, but the advantage compared to sole cropping depends on the crop plants and local agro-ecological conditions. The potential of intercropping maize (Zea mays) or sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) with watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) was tested in two on-farm trials in southern Mozambique under semi-arid conditions in an area with low and unpredictable rainfall. In the first experiment, plant density, yield and monetary value of sole and intercropping plots of maize with watermelon were determined in 17 farmers' fields in an area where all crops developed to maturity and harvest. There was a significant reduction in yield of both maize (28.8%) and watermelon (57.8%) in the intercrop compared with the sole crop yields. However, the mean land equivalent ratio of 1.13 for yield showed that intercropping had advantages as, on average, an area planted with sole crops would require 13% more land than an intercrop production to generate the same outcome. In the second experiment, carried out in another area with 16 farmers' fields, drought was more pronounced and only watermelon developed to maturity. Intercroppings with maize and sorghum resulted in 70% and 69% yield reduction, respectively. In conclusion, watermelon is a good companion crop for intercropping with cereals to mitigate the risk of total crop failure due to drought.