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Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a zoonotic disease transmitted from dromedary camels to people, which can result in outbreaks with human-to-human transmission. Because it is a subclinical infection in camels, epidemiological measures other than prevalence are challenging to assess. This study estimated the force of infection (FOI) of MERS-CoV in camel populations from age-stratified serological data. A cross-sectional study of MERS-CoV was conducted in Kenya from July 2016 to July 2017. Seroprevalence was stratified into four age groups: <1, 1–2, 2–3 and >3 years old. Age-independent and age-dependent linear and quadratic generalised linear models were used to estimate FOI in pastoral and ranching camel herds. Models were compared based on computed AIC values. Among pastoral herds, the age-dependent quadratic FOI was the best fit model, while the age-independent FOI was the best fit for the ranching herd data. FOI provides an indirect estimate of infection risk, which is especially valuable where direct estimates of incidence and other measures of infection are challenging to obtain. The FOIs estimated in this study provide important insight about MERS-CoV dynamics in the reservoir species, and contribute to our understanding of the zoonotic risks of this important public health threat.
Background: While recent clinical trials have demonstrated immense efficacy of mechanical thrombectomy (MT) in the setting of acute stroke, there remains debate over the safety in performing this procedure under general anesthesia (GA). In the Saskatchewan Acute Stroke Pathway, all patients presenting with LVO have endovascular thrombectomy performed under GA. Methods: Data was retrospectively reviewed on 108 consecutive LVO in 2016-2017. All MT were done under GA. Anatomical location of LVO, pre-MT ASPECTS score, post-MT TICI scores and 90-day NIHSS and mRS were recorded. Results: Of 108 LVO, 103 went on to have MT. 44 were right anterior circulation, 50 were left anterior circulation and 9 were posterior circulation. Of 94 anterior circulation strokes, 47 (50.0%), 43 (45.7%) and 4 (4.3%) had good, moderate and poor collateral circulation respectively, and the average pre-MT ASPECTS was 8.6. The average pre-MT NIHSS was 14.7. 81/90 (90.0%) achieved thrombolysis in cerebral infarction (TICI) perfusion scale grade of 2b/3 after recanalization. Average documented 90-day NIHSS was 2.4 and mRS was 2.5. Overall mortality was 21/103 (20.4%). Conclusions: In the Saskatchewan acute stroke pathway, general anesthesia is a safe modality for MT. This adds to the body of evidence supporting GA as a viable option for sedation in MT.
The least-squares method with complete component library spectra is applied to the quantitative analysis of X-ray fluorescence spectral intensities. An approach is outlined for application to the general case of thick homogeneous samples at high counting rates, A simplified approach can be taken with the more specific case represented, by atmospheric particulates collected on filters. The details and sample results of this approach for this specific case are given for an energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence analyzer. The results indicate that the least-squares method as developed and applied here is valid and should prove generally useful to X-ray analysts.
The Monte Carlo simulation method that has been previously developed and demonstrated for EDXRF analysis with annular radioisotope excitation sources is extended to systems using secondary fluorescer X-ray machines for excitation. Comparisons of the Monte Carlo predictions with experimental results indicate that the modification is valid.
A Monte Carlo model that predicts the entire photon, spectrum for energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence (EDXRF) analyzers excited by radio-isotope sources from multielement homogeneous samples is developed and demonstrated. The components of the photon spectrum include: (1) the and Kα and Kβ characteristic primary, secondary and tertiary X rays from both the unscattered and scattered source photons, (2) the characteristic X rays excited by other characteristic X rays that have been scattered, and (3) the scattered source photons from single, double, and multiple scatters in the sample.
The computer code NCSMCXF based on this model has been developed. It is capable of handling up to 20 elements per sample and provides a detailed account of the intensities of the X rays and backscattered source photons per unit source decay as well as a summary of the relative intensities from all elements present in the sample. Cubic splines are used within the code for photoelectric and total scattering cross sections and two-variable cubic splines for angular coherent and incoherent scattering distributions for efficiency in both computation time and storage. The code also provides the pulse-height spectrum of the sample by using the appropriate Si(Li) detector response function. The Monte Carlo predictions for benchmark experimental results on two alloy samples of known composition indicate that the model is very accurate. This approach is capable of replacing most of the experimental work presently required in EDXRF quantitative analysis.
A previous Monte Carlo model that uses the simple assumption of spherical homogeneous particles to approximate sample heterogeneities has been modified to improve the computer execution time requirements for the heterogeneous sample case. A new technique for photon tracking in this medium is used and reduces the computation time requirement by half.
A procedure to obtain analytical models for the elemental X-ray pulse-height distribution libraries necessary in the library least-squares analysis of energy-dispersive x-ray fluorescence spectra is outlined. This is accomplished by first obtaining the response function of Si(Li) detectors for incident photons in the energy range of interest. Subsequently this response function is used to generate the desired elemental library standards for use in the least-squares analysis of spectra, or it can be used directly within a least-squares computer program, thus eliminating the large amount of computer storage required for the standards.
Composition imaging of industrial samples has been reported using dual energy and multiple energy transmission computed tomography [1,2]. The simplest approach utilizes monoenergetic sources to obtain tomographs of a sample at two different energies. Each tomograph represents the linear attenuation coefficient distribution of the sample at the given source energy.
The error introduced by sample scattering in EDXRF analysis is evaluated by Monte Carlo simulation. This is accomplished by deriving a Monte Carlo model capable of simulating single Compton and Rayleigh scatters from the exciting photon source and from fluorescent X rays in homogeneous samples. The model also includes primary, secondary, and tertiary fluorescence events. (1) Results are given for Ni-Fe-Cr ternary samples for various exciting energies with and without scattering and indicate that errors as large as 2% can be attributed to this effect.
Inherent in the use of radioisotope sources with secondary fluorescers is the background produced by scattering of the source photons from the exciter system. A Monte Carlo program has been developed that is capable of simulating the backscattered photon spectrum as a function of the system geometry, including shielding and collimation variations. This computer program generates the scattered photon spectrum incident on both the sample and detector. The program is applied to a commercially available exciter system to study the effect of specific geometric design changes on the scattered spectrum.
EDXRF analysis is conveniently split into two parts: (1) the determination of X-ray intensities and (2) the determination of elemental amounts from X-ray intensities. For the first, most EDXRF analysis has been done by some method of integrating the essentially Gaussian distribution of observed full energy pulse heights. This might be done, for example, by least-square fitting of Gaussian distributions superimposed on a straight line or a quadratic background. Recently more elaborate shapes of the energy peaks also have been considered (Kennedy, 1990). After the X-ray intensities have been determined, interelement effects between the analyte element and other elements must be corrected for in order to obtain the elemental amounts from X-ray intensities. This correction can be done either by an empirical correction procedure as in the influence coefficient method which requires measurements on a number of standard samples to determine the required coefficients, or by theoretical calculation as in the fundamental parameters method which does not require standard samples.
A review of the application of the Monte Carlo, fundamental parameters method to XRF fluorescence analysis for the reduction of matrix effects is made. The analytical solutions arising from theoretical equations are given along with the restrictive assumptions that are necessary to this approach. The extensions of the fundamental parameters method by the Monte Carlo simulation to practical situations that require much less restrictive assumptions are outlined. The average angle approach to the use of the analytical solutions is investigated by comparison with the Monte Carlo method. Future extensions of the fundamental parameters method by the Monte Carlo approach are discussed.
Monte Carlo simulation is used to determine the effects of selfabsorption for the low energy X-rays of light elements in the size range front 1 to 20 μm. Calculations are performed for a wide angle Fe-55 radioisotope-excited energy dispersive XRF system. Results are obtained for sulfur attenuation in thin layers, long cylinders, and spheres composed of various matrix materials. The enhancement effect is also treated for the transition region between thin and thick layer samples as well as in spheres of various sizes. Results are also comrpared to fixed angle analytical models.
The Meat Standards Australia (MSA) grading scheme has the ability to predict beef eating quality for each ‘cut×cooking method combination’ from animal and carcass traits such as sex, age, breed, marbling, hot carcass weight and fatness, ageing time, etc. Following MSA testing protocols, a total of 22 different muscles, cooked by four different cooking methods and to three different degrees of doneness, were tasted by over 19 000 consumers from Northern Ireland, Poland, Ireland, France and Australia. Consumers scored the sensory characteristics (tenderness, flavor liking, juiciness and overall liking) and then allocated samples to one of four quality grades: unsatisfactory, good-every-day, better-than-every-day and premium. We observed that 26% of the beef was unsatisfactory. As previously reported, 68% of samples were allocated to the correct quality grades using the MSA grading scheme. Furthermore, only 7% of the beef unsatisfactory to consumers was misclassified as acceptable. Overall, we concluded that an MSA-like grading scheme could be used to predict beef eating quality and hence underpin commercial brands or labels in a number of European countries, and possibly the whole of Europe. In addition, such an eating quality guarantee system may allow the implementation of an MSA genetic index to improve eating quality through genetics as well as through management. Finally, such an eating quality guarantee system is likely to generate economic benefits to be shared along the beef supply chain from farmers to retailors, as consumers are willing to pay more for a better quality product.
Accurately quantifying a consumer’s willingness to pay (WTP) for beef of different eating qualities is intrinsically linked to the development of eating-quality-based meat grading systems, and therefore the delivery of consistent, quality beef to the consumer. Following Australian MSA (Meat Standards Australia) testing protocols, over 19 000 consumers from Northern Ireland, Poland, Ireland, France and Australia were asked to detail their willingness to pay for beef from one of four categories that best described the sample; unsatisfactory, good-every-day, better-than-every-day or premium quality. These figures were subsequently converted to a proportion relative to the good-every-day category (P-WTP) to allow comparison between different currencies and time periods. Consumers also answered a short demographic questionnaire. Consumer P-WTP was found to be remarkably consistent between different demographic groups. After quality grade, by far the greatest influence on P-WTP was country of origin. This difference was unable to be explained by the other demographic factors examined in this study, such as occupation, gender, frequency of consumption and the importance of beef in the diet. Therefore, we can conclude that the P-WTP for beef is highly transferrable between different consumer groups, but not countries.
A spectral line survey for interstellar NH3 is being carried out using the 64-m telescopes at Parkes and Tidbinbilla. Both telescopes are equipped with K-band masers yielding system temperatures below 100 K. The preliminary survey was to be made with the Parkes antenna (beam = 1.5′ arc) with follow-up mapping of the more interesting sources at Tidbinbilla (beam = 0.9′ arc). Sources have in general been H II regions from the H2CO surveys made at Parkes. Approximately 70 sources (out of a target of (∼ 100) have been observed simultaneously in the metastable (1,1), (2,2) and (3,3) transitions. The (1,1) line has been detected in about 70% of the sources surveyed. The other lines which involve higher excitation are detected primarily in the more compact sources, particularly those associated with OH and H2O masers. Examples are given of spectra for different types of source.
H2CO and OH masers in the H II-region/molecular-cloud complex Sgr B2 have been observed with the VLA and combined with other observations of OH and H2O masers. It is found that groups of the masers and compact continuum components are located along a north-south line extending across the complex. The overall alignment suggests that star formation is being triggered by a single large-scale event such as an interaction between molecular clouds.
The phenotype of the human embryo conceived through in vitro fertilization (IVF), that is its morphology, developmental kinetics, physiology and metabolism, can be affected by numerous components of the laboratory and embryo culture system (which comprise the laboratory environment). The culture media formulation is important in determining embryo phenotype, but this exists within a culture system that includes oxygen, temperature, pH and whether an embryo is cultured individually or in a group, all of which can influence embryo development. Significantly, exposure of an embryo to one suboptimal component of the culture system of laboratory typically predisposes the embryo to become more vulnerable to a second stressor, as has been well documented for atmospheric oxygen and individual culture, as well as for oxygen and ammonium. Furthermore, the inherent viability of the human embryo is derived from the quality of the gametes from which it is created. Patient age, aetiology, genetics, lifestyle (as well as ovarian stimulation in women) are all known to affect the developmental potential of gametes and hence the embryo. Thus, as well as considering the impact of the IVF laboratory environment, one needs to be aware of the status of the infertile couple, as this impacts how their gametes and embryos will respond to an in vitro environment. Although far from straight forward, analysing the interactions that exist between the human embryo and its environment will facilitate the creation of more effective and safer treatments for the infertile couple.
This study examined the response of forage crops to composted dairy waste (compost) applied at low rates and investigated effects on soil health. The evenness of spreading compost by commercial machinery was also assessed. An experiment was established on a commercial dairy farm with target rates of compost up to 5 t ha−1 applied to a field containing millet [Echinochloa esculenta (A. Braun) H. Scholz] and Pasja leafy turnip (Brassica hybrid). A pot experiment was also conducted to monitor the response of a legume forage crop (vetch; Vicia sativa L.) on three soils with equivalent rates of compost up to 20 t ha−1 with and without ‘additive blends’ comprising gypsum, lime or other soil treatments. Few significant increases in forage biomass were observed with the application of low rates of compost in either the field or pot experiment. In the field experiment, compost had little impact on crop herbage mineral composition, soil chemical attributes or soil fungal and bacterial biomass. However, small but significant increases were observed in gravimetric water content resulting in up to 22.4 mm of additional plant available water calculated in the surface 0.45 m of soil, 2 years after compost was applied in the field at 6 t ha−1 dried (7.2 t ha−1 undried), compared with the nil control. In the pot experiment, where the soil was homogenized and compost incorporated into the soil prior to sowing, there were significant differences in mineral composition in herbage and in soil. A response in biomass yield to compost was only observed on the sandier and lower fertility soil type, and yields only exceeded that of the conventional fertilizer treatment where rates equivalent to 20 t ha−1 were applied. With few yield responses observed, the justification for applying low rates of compost to forage crops and pastures seems uncertain. Our collective experience from the field and the glasshouse suggests that farmers might increase the response to compost by: (i) increasing compost application rates; (ii) applying it prior to sowing a crop; (iii) incorporating the compost into the soil; (iv) applying only to responsive soil types; (v) growing only responsive crops; and (vi) reducing weed burdens in crops following application. Commercial machinery incorporating a centrifugal twin disc mechanism was shown to deliver double the quantity of compost in the area immediately behind the spreader compared with the edges of the spreading swathe. Spatial variability in the delivery of compost could be reduced but not eliminated by increased overlapping, but this might represent a potential 20% increase in spreading costs.
Araucaria goroensis R.R.Mill & Ruhsam sp. nov., a new monkey puzzle species from New Caledonia, is described and illustrated with photographs from the field and from herbarium specimens. Previously confused with Araucaria muelleri, it is more similar to A. rulei. It is distinguished from the latter species by its larger leaves, microsporophylls without a shouldered base, and shorter female cone bracts. It occurs in a very limited area of south-east New Caledonia, where its existence is threatened by nickel mining. Using the guidelines of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, we propose an assessment of Endangered for the new species and reassess Araucaria muelleri also as Endangered. A key to the seven species in the ‘large-leaved clade’ of New Caledonian species of Araucaria is given. The name Eutassa latifolia de Laub. is synonymised with Araucaria muelleri, and the recent typification of the latter name by Vieillard 1276 is rejected. Detailed reasoning is given for these nomenclatural acts.