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The savannah enclaves (i.e. patches) in the southern Brazilian Amazonia are among the most threatened and poorly surveyed sites in Amazonia. As part of an extensive mammal survey, we set camera traps in three of these savannah enclaves. We obtained 23 independent records of pampas deer Ozotoceros bezoarticus, a medium sized Neotropical cervid that is strongly associated with open habitats and categorized as Vulnerable on the Brazilian Red List of threatened species. These savannah enclaves with confirmed populations of pampas deer lie outside the species’ previously presumed historical range and are at least 350 km from any known extant population. Together, these savannah enclaves add c. 4,000 km2 to the pampas deer's currently known range. The small pampas deer populations in these enclaves are probably isolated by a matrix of Amazon forest, raising questions about spatial genetic structure and meta-population dynamics, and making them vulnerable to local extinction. We highlight the need for further studies, particularly genetic, to assess the conservation status of these populations, the results of which could potentially inform management decisions in other areas of the heavily fragmented range of this species.
Infection with STEC O157 is relatively rare but has potentially serious sequelae, particularly for children. Large outbreaks have prompted considerable efforts designed to reduce transmission primarily from food and direct animal contact. Despite these interventions, numbers of infections have remained constant for many years and the mechanisms leading to many sporadic infections remain unclear.
Here, we show that two-thirds of all cases reported in England between 2009 and 2015 were sporadic. Crude rates of infection differed geographically and were highest in rural areas during the summer months. Living in rural areas with high densities of cattle, sheep or pigs and those served by private water supplies were associated with increased risk. Living in an area of lower deprivation contributed to increased risk but this appeared to be associated with reported travel abroad. Fresh water coverage and residential proximity to the coast were not risk factors.
To reduce the overall burden of infection in England, interventions designed to reduce the number of sporadic infections with STEC should focus on the residents of rural areas with high densities of livestock and the effective management of non-municipal water supplies. The role of sheep as a reservoir and potential source of infection in humans should not be overlooked.
Established methods of recruiting population controls for case–control studies to investigate gastrointestinal disease outbreaks can be time consuming, resulting in delays in identifying the source or vehicle of infection. After an initial evaluation of using online market research panel members as controls in a case–control study to investigate a Salmonella outbreak in 2013, this method was applied in four further studies in the UK between 2014 and 2016. We used data from all five studies and interviews with members of each outbreak control team and market research panel provider to review operational issues, evaluate risk of bias in this approach and consider methods to reduce confounding and bias. The investigators of each outbreak reported likely time and cost savings from using market research controls. There were systematic differences between case and control groups in some studies but no evidence that conclusions on the likely source or vehicle of infection were incorrect. Potential selection biases introduced by using this sampling frame and the low response rate are unclear. Methods that might reduce confounding and some bias should be balanced with concerns for overmatching. Further evaluation of this approach using comparisons with traditional methods and population-based exposure survey data is recommended.
In August 2015, Public Health England detected an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) serotype O157:H7 caused by contaminated salad leaves in a mixed leaf prepacked salad product from a national retailer. The implicated leaves were cultivated at five different farms and the zoonotic source of the outbreak strain was not determined. In March 2016, additional isolates from new cases were identified that shared a recent common ancestor with the outbreak strain. A case–case study involving the cases identified in 2016 revealed that ovine exposures were associated with illness (n = 16; AOR 8·24; 95% CI 1·55–39·74). By mapping the recent movement of sheep and lambs across the United Kingdom, epidemiological links were established between the cases reporting ovine exposures. Given the close phylogenetic relationship between the outbreak strain and the isolates from cases with ovine exposures, it is plausible that ovine faeces may have contaminated the salad leaves via untreated irrigation water or run-off from fields nearby. Timely and targeted veterinary and environmental sampling should be considered during foodborne outbreaks of STEC, particularly where ready to eat vegetables and salads are implicated.
Oxidative stress has been documented in chronic schizophrenia and in the first episode of psychosis, but there are very little data on oxidative stress prior to the disease onset.
This work aimed to compare serum levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) in young individuals at ultra-high risk (UHR) of developing psychosis with a comparison healthy control group (HC).
Thirteen UHR subjects and 29 age- and sex-matched healthy controls (HC) were enrolled in this study. Clinical assessment included the Comprehensive Assessment of At-Risk Mental States (CAARMS), the Semi-Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis-I (SCID-I) or the Kiddie-SADS-Present and Lifetime Version (K-SADS-PL), and the Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) scale. Activities of SOD and GPx were measured in serum by the spectrophotometric method using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kits.
After adjusting for age and years of education, there was a significant lower activity of SOD and lower GPX activity in the UHR group compared to the healthy control group (rate ratio [RR]=0.330, 95% CI 0.187; 0.584, p<0.001 and RR=0.509, 95% CI 0.323; 0.803, p=0.004, respectively). There were also positive correlations between GAF functioning scores and GPx and SOD activities.
Our results suggest that oxidative imbalances could be present prior to the onset of full-blown psychosis, including in at-risk stages. Future studies should replicate and expand these results.
We summarise the first year of operation of the Medium Deep Survey - a key project of the HST. Two fields in the LMC are discussed and some preliminary scientific results presented. We also comment on image deconvolution for the extragalactic fields observed as part of the Medium Deep Survey.
We present details of the database from a large Cycle 7 HST project to study the formation and evolution of rich star clusters in the LMC (see Elson et al., this volume). Our data set, which includes NICMOS, WFPC2 and STIS images of 8 clusters, will enable us to derive deep luminosity functions for the clusters and to investigate the universality of the stellar IMF. We will look for age spreads in the youngest clusters, quantify the population of binary stars in the cores of the clusters and at the half-mass radii, and follow the development of mass segregation.
We present deep luminosity functions derived from HST STIS data for three rich LMC clusters (NGC 1805, NGC 1868, and NGC 2209), and for one Galactic globular cluster (NGC 6553). All of the LMC cluster luminosity functions are roughly consistent with a Salpeter IMF or with the solar neighbourhood IMF from Kroupa, Tout & Gilmore (1993). They continue to rise at least to 0.7M⊙. NGC 1868 shows evidence for mass segregation which may be primordial. A comparison of deep luminsoisty functions for seven Galactic globulars shows that the luminosity functions are eroded at low masses by amounts that are strongly correlated with distance from the Galactic plane.
With HST and WFPC2, galaxies in the Medium Deep Survey can be reliably classified to magnitudes I814 ≲ 22.0 in the F814W band, at a mean redshift . The main result is the relatively high proportion (~40%) of objects which are in some way irregular or anomalous, and which are of relevance in understanding the origin of the familiar excess population of faint galaxies. These diverse objects include compact galaxies, apparently interacting pairs, galaxies with superluminous starforming regions and diffuse low surface brightness galaxies of various forms. The ‘irregulars’ and ‘peculiar’ galaxies contribute most of the excess counts in the I-band at our limiting magnitude, and may explain the ‘faint blue galaxy’ problem.
Five cases of STEC O157 phage type (PT) 21/28 reported consumption of raw cows' drinking milk (RDM) produced at a dairy farm in the South West of England. STEC O157 PT21/28 was isolated from faecal specimens from milking cows on the implicated farm. Whole genome sequencing (WGS) showed that human and cattle isolates were the same strain. Further analysis of WGS data confirmed that sequences of isolates from an additional four cases (who did not report consumption of RDM when first questioned) fell within the same five single nucleotide polymorphism cluster as the initial five cases epidemiologically linked to the consumption of RDM. These four additional cases identified by WGS were investigated further and were, ultimately, associated with the implicated farm. The RDM outbreak strain encoded stx2a, which is associated with increased pathogenicity and severity of symptoms. Further epidemiological analysis showed that 70% of isolates within a wider cluster containing the outbreak strain were from cases residing in, or linked to, the same geographical region of England. During this RDM outbreak, use of WGS improved case ascertainment and provided insights into the evolution of a highly pathogenic clade of STEC O157 PT21/28 stx2a associated with the South West of England.
Between 1 January 2009 and 31 December 2012 in England, a total of 3717 cases were reported with evidence of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infection, and the crude incidence of STEC infection was 1·80/100 000 person-years. Incidence was highest in children aged 1–4 years (7·63/100 000 person-years). Females had a higher incidence of STEC than males [rate ratio (RR) 1·24, P < 0·001], and white ethnic groups had a higher incidence than non-white ethnic groups (RR 1·43, P < 0·001). Progression to haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) was more frequent in females and children. Non-O157 STEC strains were associated with higher hospitalization and HUS rates than O157 STEC strains. In STEC O157 cases, phage type (PT) 21/28, predominantly indigenously acquired, was also associated with more severe disease than other PTs, as were strains encoding stx2 genes. Incidence of STEC was over four times higher in people residing in rural areas than urban areas (RR 4·39, P < 0·001). Exposure to livestock and/or their faeces was reported twice as often in cases living in rural areas than urban areas (P < 0·001). Environmental/animal contact remains an important risk factor for STEC transmission and is a significant driver in the burden of sporadic STEC infection. The most commonly detected STEC serogroup in England was O157. However, a bias in testing methods results in an unquantifiable under-ascertainment of non-O157 STEC infections. Implementation of PCR-based diagnostic methods designed to detect all STEC, to address this diagnostic deficit, is therefore important.
Listeriosis is a rare but severe foodborne disease with low morbidity and high case-fatality rates. Pregnant women, unborn and newborn babies are among the high-risk groups for listeriosis. We examined listeriosis cases reported to the enhanced surveillance system in England and Wales from 1990 to 2010 to identify risk factors influencing outcome. Cases were defined as pregnancy-associated if Listeria monocytogenes was isolated from a pregnant woman or newborn infants aged <28 days. Of the 3088 cases reported, pregnancy-associated listeriosis accounted for 462 (15%) cases and 315 cases resulted in a live birth. Several factors were identified as affecting the severity and outcome of listeriosis in pregnancy in both mother and child including: presence or absence of maternal symptoms, gestational age at onset of symptoms, and clinical presentation in the infant (meningitis or septicaemia). Deprivation, ethnicity and molecular serotype had no effect on outcome.
The introduction of the UK Protection of Animals Act 1911 demonstrates that animal welfare has been of concern for at least a century. The matter came to the fore about 50 years ago, when the welfare of hens in battery cages became an issue. Since then poultry welfare research and the development of superior management and housing systems for poultry have been stimulated by the lobbying of animal welfare organisations along with subsequent policy decisions and legislation. WPSA WG9 was formed in 1972 to encourage scientific studies to inform the poultry welfare debate; its members have positively influenced research and development of welfare-friendly housing systems and husbandry throughout Europe. They have also been active in EU projects aimed at improving the wellbeing of poultry e.g. LayWel, EFSA Opinions and Welfare Quality®. Information derived from such projects has influenced EU Directives and national legislation on the protection and welfare of laying hens and broilers, in particular.
A new nanocomposite electrolyte was synthesized using a simple non-hydrolytic sol-gel route without specific treatment of the reagents. The nanocomposite ion conductor was prepared with citric acid, tetraethyl orthosilicate and ethylene glycol, forming polyester chains. The time-consuming drying step that is a necessary part of most chemical syntheses was not required in the preparation of the present nanocomposite electrolyte of the polyelectrolyte class, because only Li+ is mobile in the polymeric chain. The effects of the concentration of Li, SiO 2 and SnO2nanoparticles were investigated in terms of Li+ ionic conductivity. Conductivity measurements as a function of the metal oxide nanocrystal content in the nanocomposite revealed a significant increase in conductivity at approximately 5 and 10 wt % of nanoparticles. The new nanocomposite conductor proved to be fully amorphous at room temperature, with a vitreous transition temperature of approximately 228K (−45°C). The material is solid and transparent, displaying an ionic conductivity of 10−4to 10−5 (O.cm)−1at room temperature presenting excellent reproducibility of all these characteristics. Cyclic voltammetry measurements indicate that the hybrid electrolyte possesses outstanding electrochemical stability.
A 3-year survey of wild fish in Loch Awe and the surrounding watershed has shown a restricted distribution and low prevalence of infection with infectious pancreatic necrosis virus. No signs of clinical disease were observed in infected fish. The restricted distribution close to a rainbow trout farm is consistent with the virus originating from this farm, where virus infected stocks have been found each year since 1971. The continuing low prevalence is also consistent with virus in wild fish resulting from the spread of infection from the farm. If infection is spreading between wild fish, it is slow within the time scale of the survey. The possible mechanisms of transmission of infection from the farm to wild fish are discussed.
A modified sol-gel technique was used to synthesize nanocomposites of Ni:SiO2 which resulted in Ni nanoparticles embedded in a SiO2 amorphous matrix. Transmission electron microscopy TEM analysis were performed to study the structure and morphology of the magnetic powders. The Ni particles were found to have a good dispersion and a controlled particle size distribution, with average particle radius of ∼ 3 nm. A detailed characterization of the magnetic properties was done through magnetization measurements M(T,H) in applied magnetic fields up to ± 7 T and for temperatures ranging from 2 to 300 K. The superparamagnetic (SPM) behavior of these metallic nanoparticles was inferred from the temperature dependence of the magnetization. The blocking temperature TB, as low as 20 K, was found to be dependent on Ni concentration, increasing with increasing Ni content. The SPM behavior above the blocking temperature TB was confirmed by the collapse of M/MS vs. H/T data in universal curves. These curves were fitted to a log-normal weighted Langevin function allowing us to determine the distribution of magnetic moments. Using the fitted magnetic moments and the Ni saturation magnetization, the radii of spherical particles were determined to be close to ∼ 3 nm, in excellent agreement with TEM analysis. Also, magnetic hysteresis loops were found to be symmetric along the field axis with no shift via exchange bias, suggesting that Ni particles are free from an oxide layer. In addition, for the most diluted samples, the magnetic behavior of these Ni nanoparticles is in excellent agreement with the predictions of randomly oriented and noninteracting magnetic particles. This was confirmed by the temperature dependence of the coercivity field that obeys the relation HC(T) = HC0 [1-(T/TB)1/2] below TB with HC0 ∼ 780 Oe.