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Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major cause of chronic liver disease worldwide. A patient was recently found to be HCV seropositive during hemodialysis follow-up.
To determine whether nosocomial transmission had occurred and which viral populations were transmitted.
HCV transmission case.
A dialysis unit in a French hospital.
Molecular and epidemiologic investigations were conducted to determine whether 2 cases were related. Risk analysis and auditing procedures were performed to determine the transmission pathway(s).
Sequence analyses of the NS5b region revealed a 5a genotype in the newly infected patient. Epidemiologic investigations suggested that a highly viremic genotype 5a HCV-infected patient who underwent dialysis in the same unit was the source of the infection. Phylogenetic analysis of NS5b and hypervariable region-1 sequences revealed a genetically related virus (>99.9% nucleotide identity). Deep sequencing of hypervariable region-1 indicated that HCV quasispecies were found in the source whereas a single hypervariable region-1 HCV variant was found in the newly infected patient, and that this was identical to the major variant identified in the source patient. Risk analysis and auditing procedures were performed to determine the transmission pathway(s). Nosocomial patient-to-patient transmission via healthcare workers’ hands was the most likely explanation. In our dialysis unit, this unique incident led to the adjustment of infection control policy.
The data support transmission of a unique variant from a source with a high viral load and genetic diversity. This investigation also underlines the need to periodically evaluate prevention and control practices.
Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2016;37(2):134–139
We investigated the effect of maternal sire on early pregnancy failure (between D0, day of insemination and D90) in their progeny during the first and second lactations (n=3508) in the Holstein breed. The estimated breeding value (EBV) for cow fertility of 12 bulls (reliability⩾0.95) was used to create the following three groups: low, medium and high EBV (EBV from −0.7 to 1 expressed as genetic standard deviation relative to the mean of the breed). In their daughters (93 to 516 per bull), progesterone measurement was carried out on the day of artificial insemination (AI; D0) to check whether the cows were in the follicular phase and on D18 to 25 to assess non-fertilisation-early embryonic mortality (NF-EEM). Late embryonic mortality (LEM) and early foetal death (FD) were determined by ultrasonography on D45 and D90 and by the return to oestrus after the first AI. Frequencies of NF-EEM, LEM, FD and pregnancy were 33.3%, 11.7%, 1.4% and 48.5% and incidences were 35.1, 19.0, 2.7 and 51.1, respectively. Sire EBV was significantly related to the incidences of pregnancy failure between D0 and D90, fertilisation failure-early embryonic mortality (FF-EEM) and LEM but not to the incidence of FD between D45 and D90 of pregnancy. The relative risk (RR) of FF-EEM was significantly higher (RR=1.2; P<0.05) for the progeny group of low EBV bulls when compared with high EBV bulls. The same effect was observed when comparing LEM of the progeny groups from the low EBV bulls to those from moderate and high EBV bulls (RR, respectively, of 1.3 and 1.4; P<005). The incidence of FF-EEM was significantly higher when cows were inseminated before 80 days postpartum compared with later, and for the extreme values of the difference between milk fat and protein content measured during the first 3 months of lactation. FF-EEM was also significantly related to the year of observation. The incidence of LEM was higher for the highest producing cows and was influenced by interaction between milk yield×lactation rank and milk yield×milk protein content. In conclusion, this study showed large differences in early pregnancy failure between progeny groups and highlights the interest of accurate characterisation of embryonic death in order to identify potential candidate genes for female fertility.
In response to the ‘oldest ice’ challenge initiated by the International Partnerships in Ice Core Sciences (IPICS), new rapid-access drilling technologies through glacier ice need to be developed. These will provide the information needed to qualify potential sites on the Antarctic ice sheet where the deepest section could include ice that is >1Ma old and still in good stratigraphic order. Identifying a suitable site will be a prerequisite for deploying a multi-year deep ice-core drilling operation to elucidate the cause and mechanisms of the mid-Pleistocene transition from 40 ka glacial–interglacial cycles to 100 ka cycles. As part of the ICE&LASERS/SUBGLACIOR projects, we have designed an innovative probe, SUBGLACIOR, with the aim of perforating the ice sheet down to the bedrock in a single season and continuously measuring in situ the isotopic composition of the melted water and the methane concentration in trapped gases. Here we present the general concept of the probe, as well as the various technological solutions that we have favored so far to reach this goal.
Electron self-injection and acceleration until dephasing in the blowout regime is studied for a set of initial conditions typical of recent experiments with 100-terawatt-class lasers. Two different approaches to computationally efficient, fully explicit, 3D particle-in-cell modelling are examined. First, the Cartesian code vorpal (Nieter, C. and Cary, J. R. 2004 VORPAL: a versatile plasma simulation code. J. Comput. Phys.196, 538) using a perfect-dispersion electromagnetic solver precisely describes the laser pulse and bubble dynamics, taking advantage of coarser resolution in the propagation direction, with a proportionally larger time step. Using third-order splines for macroparticles helps suppress the sampling noise while keeping the usage of computational resources modest. The second way to reduce the simulation load is using reduced-geometry codes. In our case, the quasi-cylindrical code calder-circ (Lifschitz, A. F. et al. 2009 Particle-in-cell modelling of laser-plasma interaction using Fourier decomposition. J. Comput. Phys.228(5), 1803–1814) uses decomposition of fields and currents into a set of poloidal modes, while the macroparticles move in the Cartesian 3D space. Cylindrical symmetry of the interaction allows using just two modes, reducing the computational load to roughly that of a planar Cartesian simulation while preserving the 3D nature of the interaction. This significant economy of resources allows using fine resolution in the direction of propagation and a small time step, making numerical dispersion vanishingly small, together with a large number of particles per cell, enabling good particle statistics. Quantitative agreement of two simulations indicates that these are free of numerical artefacts. Both approaches thus retrieve the physically correct evolution of the plasma bubble, recovering the intrinsic connection of electron self-injection to the nonlinear optical evolution of the driver.
In France, haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) is endemic along the Belgian border. However, this rodent-borne zoonosis caused by the Puumala virus has recently spread south to the Franche-Comté region. We investigated the space–time distribution of HFRS and evaluated the influence of environmental factors that drive the hantavirus reservoir abundance and/or the disease transmission in this area. A scan test clearly indicated space–time clustering, highlighting a single-year (2005) epidemic in the southern part of the region, preceded by a heat-wave 2 years earlier. A Bayesian regression approach showed an association between a variable reflecting biomass (normalized difference vegetation index) and HFRS incidence. The reasons why HFRS cases recently emerged remain largely unknown, and climate parameters alone do not reliably predict outbreaks. Concerted efforts that combine reservoir monitoring, surveillance, and investigation of human cases are warranted to better understand the epidemiological patterns of HFRS in this area.
We report continuous wave and time resolved photoluminescence studies of
self-assembled InP quantum dots grown by metalorganic chemical vapor
deposition. The quantum dots are embedded into indirect band-gap
In0.5Al0.5P layers or In0.5Al0.3Ga0.2P layers with
a conduction band line-up close to the direct-to-indirect crossover. As
revealed by photoluminescence spectra, efficient interdiffusion of species
from the barrier layers produces (Al,In)P or (Al,Ga,In)P-dots. This
interdiffusion creates potential barriers that are repulsive for electrons
of X valleys around the QDs. Both samples show a fast exponential decay
component with a time constant between 0.5 and 0.7 ns. In addition, the
sample with indirect band gap matrix shows a slow non-exponential
time-decay, which is still visible after more than 100 µs. The fast
component is attributed to direct recombination of electron-hole pairs in
the dots whilst the slow component, which follows a power law t−0.75
results from recombination of holes in the dots and electrons in metastable
states around the dots.
Nitrogen dynamics were investigated in the top centimeters of bottom sediment in three different geomorphologic units
(riffles, sand bars, pools) and along two contrasted reaches (nitrogen-rich, nitrogen-poor) of a rural stream. Some predictions
of links between geomorphology and processes were verified: (i) hydrological exchanges and nitrification were lower in pools
than in riffles and bars, whereas (ii) ammonification and denitrification were higher in pools. Studies of denitrification potential
in six other reaches of three N-rich streams support these conclusions and demonstrate that pools are spots of high microbial
activity in streams.
Highly crystalline zinc oxide (ZnO) nanomaterials are synthesized using a seeded growth sol-gel method. In order to control the morphology and the organization of the ZnO nanomaterials, a double hydrophilic block copolymer has been introduced during the seeded growth synthesis: the Polyacrylic acid-Polyacrylamide (PAA-PAM). Depending on the amount of PAA-PAM copolymers, different morphologies were obtained, such as ZnO nanostructured spheres or flat hexagonal crystals. Thus, systematic studies have been done to investigate the influence of the copolymer addition on ZnO nanomaterial morphologies and explain the mechanisms of the morphological modifications.
Due to its own rotation, it is expected that the visual figure of the Sun is a spheroid; this is not truly the case because the solar rotation is not constant both over all heliographic latitudes and in depth. The photospheric shape is thus sensitive to the interior structure: accurate measurements of both limb shape distortions and solar rotation rates determination provide useful constraints on the internal layers (density, shear zones, …). We show why and how the implication of the successive gravitational moments are important to probe the solar interior, and we compare measurements obtained either from space (SOHO/MDI) or from ground-based experiments (scanning heliometer at the Pic du Midi). The found faint departures to the sphericity, not exceeding 22 mas, could explain fluctuations that are not yet taken into account in the classical modelling of the solar irradiance. A crude model could explain the asphericities which is based on a core rotating at a nearly uniform rate combined with a prolate tachocline and an oblate outer convective zone.
We have developed an index based on macroscopic criteria to easily assess the health state of the eel swimbladder as a result of infection by the nematode Anguillicola crassus. In the sampling area (brackish lagoons of the French Mediterranean coast), 92% of the host sample (1251 eels covering all size classes) showed pathological signs of infection. The general trend was for increasing damage as eel size increased, thus suggesting accumulation of pathological effects. We also revealed a non-linear relationship between the swimbladder index and the abundance of living worms. In particular, we showed that severely damaged swimbladders harboured very few living nematodes. We argue that the swimbladder degenerative index more closely reflects the parasite pressure than does classic parasite count. We found seasonal variation in the swimbladder index, with maximum damage occurring in July and thereafter a trend for healthy individuals. We discuss the possibility that the seasonal decrease in the swimbladder index could reflect the death of the more severely affected individuals during the warmest months.
GaN/sapphire layers have been grown by Metal Organic Vapour Phase Epitaxy (MOVPE). An amorphous silicon nitride layer is deposited using a SiH4/NH3 mixture prior to the growth of the low temperature GaN buffer layer. Such a process induces a 3D nucleation at the early beginning of the growth, resulting in a kind of maskless ELO process with random opening sizes. This produces a significant decrease of the threading dislocation (TD) density compared to the best GaN/sapphire templates. Ultra Low Dislocation density (ULD) GaN layers were obtained with TD density as low as 7×107cm−2 as measured by atomic force microscopy (AFM), cathodoluminescence and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Time-resolved photoluminescence experiments show that the lifetime of the A free exciton is principally limited by capture onto residual donors, similar to the situation for nearly dislocation-free homoepitaxial layers.
We have calculated the change of interband absorption spectra of a quantum well based on hexagonal group-III nitride semiconductors under photo-injection of high densities of electron-hole pairs. The screening of internal electric fields by such optical excitation is known to blue-shift and reinforce the ground-state optical transition. Due to the large values of densities of states and of internal fields, we predict novel properties that rather concern optical absorption via transitions between excited states. The absorption coefficient can be strongly enhanced by the optical excitation itself, in this particular spectral region, yielding the possibility for self-induced absorption properties. In other words, if sufficiently intense, an excitation laser can increase the absorption coefficient of the system at its own wavelength, thus providing a strong nonlinear optical response. Finally, we briefly discuss the potential application of these optical phenomena.
Time-resolved photoluminescence experiments at varying temperature are performed on a series of InxGa1−xN/GaN quantum well and quantum box samples of similar compositions (0.15 < x < 0.20). The results are analyzed by using envelope-function calculations of transition energies and oscillator strengths, accounting for internal electric fields. The respective influences of localization and electric fields on radiative and nonradiative lifetimes and on the Stokes shift are deduced. The results indicate that the spatial extension of localization centers is much smaller than the size of the quantum boxes (∼10 × 3 nm, typically). The room-temperature radiative efficiency of both quantum well and quantum box samples is enhanced by replacing the topmost GaN barrier by an AlGaN one.
Low-energy electron diffraction, x-ray diffraction, and x-ray absorption techniques are used to investigate the atomic structure of ternary silicides (MSi2, M = Co, Fe). 100 Å thick Co1−xFexSi2 films (with 0 ≤ × ≤ 1) were grown by codeposition onto a Si(111) substrate held at room temperature. The as-deposited films are metallic and adopt an ordered cubic structure of CsCl-type with essentially random vacancies, very similar to that of room-temperature grown FeSi2 and CoSi2 silicides. Upon annealing at 650°C, Fe-rich (x ≥ 0.85) films invariably convert into a semiconducting phase with a structure similar to the orthorhombic β-FeSi2 one. Yet, most interestingly, an almost cubic structure is preserved for x ≤ 0.85. Nevertheless, x-ray diffraction reveals a demixion into a Co rich CaF2-type silicide and a Fe-rich phase with a nearly cubic α-FeSi2 type structure. Extended x-ray absorption fine structure measurements indicate a local environment of Fe atoms similar to that in CsCl-type or α-FeSi2-type structure over the whole 0 < x < 0.85 composition range, showing that Fe does not merely substitute for Co atoms in a perfect CaF2-type CoSi2 structure, even for very low Fe content. In contrast, the local environment of Co atoms is similar to that in CoSi2 for Co-rich ternary compounds. Substantial modifications around Co sites are although observed in Fe richer silicides, suggesting that for x < 0.5, an appreciable amount of Co is incorporated in the α-FeSi2-type silicide phase.
In this paper, the problem of electromagnetic scattering from a 3D system of spheres is considered and
an iterative solution that accounts for multiple scattering is proposed. The Mie formalism used for a
single sphere is extended to account for multiple scattered fields between several particles. The
translational addition theorems for spherical wave functions are used to express the electromagnetic field
scattered by a sphere Si in terms of an incident field for a sphere Sk in a spherical coordinates system
attached to the sphere Sk. In this work, the numerical convergence of the method is discussed and
associated computational times are given. Numerical computations including Radar Cross Section
(RCS) and radiation patterns for various 3D configurations are presented. Some of them are compared
with free-space measurements made in the 8 to 100 GHz frequency band using vectorial network
Metallic Multilayers (MLs) have attracted a considerable interest during these last years because of their unusual properties. In small periods ML's (a few nm) the high density of interfaces give rise to structures very far from equilibrium. Au/Ni multilayers have been grown in the (111) orientation by M.B.E. on Si(100) via a Cu(100) buffer layer. Two different parameters have been studied: the Au:Ni ratio at constant (4 nm) superperiod and the superperiod at constant (1:1) Au:Ni ratio. The full strain state of Au and of Ni has been determined via x-ray diffraction measurements. The high lattice parameter misfit beween Au and Ni (14%) implies that all the layers are partially relaxed. Residual strains as high as several % are encountered. The residual strain in the Au layers is clearly correlated with their thickness. A residual stress as high as 3.9 GPa is determined in the thinner layers.
Time-resolved photoluminescence spectra have been recorded on three GaN epitaxial layers of thickness 2.5 μm, 7 μm and 16 μm, at various temperatures ranging from 8K to 300K. The layers were deposited by MOVPE on (0001) sapphire substrates with standard AlN buffer layers. To achieve good homogeneities, the growth was in-situ monitored by laser reflectometry. All GaN layers showed sharp excitonic peaks in cw PL and three excitonic contributions were seen by reflectivity. The recombination dynamics of excitons depends strongly upon the layer thickness. For the thinnest layer, exponential decays with τ ~ 35 ps have been measured for both XA and XB free excitons. For the thickest layer, the decay becomes biexponential with τ1 ~ 80 ps and τ2 ~ 250 ps. These values are preserved up to room temperature. By solving coupled rate equations in a four-level model, this evolution is interpreted in terms of the reduction of density of both shallow impurities and deep traps, versus layer thickness, roughly following a L−1 law.