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Yukon Territory (YT) is a remote region in northern Canada with ongoing spread of tuberculosis (TB). To explore the utility of whole genome sequencing (WGS) for TB surveillance and monitoring in a setting with detailed contact tracing and interview data, we used a mixed-methods approach. Our analysis included all culture-confirmed cases in YT (2005–2014) and incorporated data from 24-locus Mycobacterial Interspersed Repetitive Units-Variable Number of Tandem Repeats (MIRU-VNTR) genotyping, WGS and contact tracing. We compared field-based (contact investigation (CI) data + MIRU-VNTR) and genomic-based (WGS + MIRU-VNTR + basic case data) investigations to identify the most likely source of each person's TB and assessed the knowledge, attitudes and practices of programme personnel around genotyping and genomics using online, multiple-choice surveys (n = 4) and an in-person group interview (n = 5). Field- and genomics-based approaches agreed for 26 of 32 (81%) cases on likely location of TB acquisition. There was less agreement in the identification of specific source cases (13/22 or 59% of cases). Single-locus MIRU-VNTR variants and limited genetic diversity complicated the analysis. Qualitative data indicated that participants viewed genomic epidemiology as a useful tool to streamline investigations, particularly in differentiating latent TB reactivation from the recent transmission. Based on this, genomic data could be used to enhance CIs, focus resources, target interventions and aid in TB programme evaluation.
This article discusses prospects and challenges related to the use of meta-regression models (MRMs) for ecosystem service benefit transfer, with an emphasis on validity criteria and post-estimation procedures given sparse attention in the ecosystem services literature. We illustrate these topics using a meta-analysis of willingness to pay for water quality changes that support aquatic ecosystem services and the application of this model to estimate water quality benefits under alternative riparian buffer restoration scenarios in New Hampshire's Great Bay Watershed. These illustrations highlight the advantages of MRM benefit transfers, together with the challenges and data needs encountered when quantifying ecosystem service values.
Few studies have used genomic epidemiology to understand tuberculosis (TB) transmission in rural and remote settings – regions often unique in history, geography and demographics. To improve our understanding of TB transmission dynamics in Yukon Territory (YT), a circumpolar Canadian territory, we conducted a retrospective analysis in which we combined epidemiological data collected through routine contact investigations with clinical and laboratory results. Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates from all culture-confirmed TB cases in YT (2005–2014) were genotyped using 24-locus Mycobacterial Interspersed Repetitive Units-Variable Number of Tandem Repeats (MIRU-VNTR) and compared to each other and to those from the neighbouring province of British Columbia (BC). Whole genome sequencing (WGS) of genotypically clustered isolates revealed three sustained transmission networks within YT, two of which also involved BC isolates. While each network had distinct characteristics, all had at least one individual acting as the probable source of three or more culture-positive cases. Overall, WGS revealed that TB transmission dynamics in YT are distinct from patterns of spread in other, more remote Northern Canadian regions, and that the combination of WGS and epidemiological data can provide actionable information to local public health teams.
SNP in the vitamin D receptor (VDR) gene is associated with risk of lower respiratory infections. The influence of genetic variation in the vitamin D pathway resulting in susceptibility to upper respiratory infections (URI) has not been investigated. We evaluated the influence of thirty-three SNP in eleven vitamin D pathway genes (DBP, DHCR7, RXRA, CYP2R1, CYP27B1, CYP24A1, CYP3A4, CYP27A1, LRP2, CUBN and VDR) resulting in URI risk in 725 adults in London, UK, using an additive model with adjustment for potential confounders and correction for multiple comparisons. Significant associations in this cohort were investigated in a validation cohort of 737 children in Manchester, UK. In all, three SNP in VDR (rs4334089, rs11568820 and rs7970314) and one SNP in CYP3A4 (rs2740574) were associated with risk of URI in the discovery cohort after adjusting for potential confounders and correcting for multiple comparisons (adjusted incidence rate ratio per additional minor allele ≥1·15, Pfor trend ≤0·030). This association was replicated for rs4334089 in the validation cohort (Pfor trend=0·048) but not for rs11568820, rs7970314 or rs2740574. Carriage of the minor allele of the rs4334089 SNP in VDR was associated with increased susceptibility to URI in children and adult cohorts in the United Kingdom.
Choice experiments addressing outcome uncertainty (OU) typically reframe continuous probability densities for each risky outcome into two discrete categories, each with a single probability of occurrence. The implications of this simplification for welfare estimation are unknown. This article evaluates the convergent validity of willingness-to-pay (WTP) estimates from a more accurate multiple-outcome treatment of OU, compared to the two-outcome approach. Results for a case study of coastal flood adaptation in Connecticut, United States, suggest that higher-resolution OU treatments increase choice complexity but can provide additional information on risk preferences and WTP. This tradeoff highlights challenges facing the valuation of uncertain outcomes.
We describe the design and performance of the Engineering Development Array, which is a low-frequency radio telescope comprising 256 dual-polarisation dipole antennas working as a phased array. The Engineering Development Array was conceived of, developed, and deployed in just 18 months via re-use of Square Kilometre Array precursor technology and expertise, specifically from the Murchison Widefield Array radio telescope. Using drift scans and a model for the sky brightness temperature at low frequencies, we have derived the Engineering Development Array’s receiver temperature as a function of frequency. The Engineering Development Array is shown to be sky-noise limited over most of the frequency range measured between 60 and 240 MHz. By using the Engineering Development Array in interferometric mode with the Murchison Widefield Array, we used calibrated visibilities to measure the absolute sensitivity of the array. The measured array sensitivity matches very well with a model based on the array layout and measured receiver temperature. The results demonstrate the practicality and feasibility of using Murchison Widefield Array-style precursor technology for Square Kilometre Array-scale stations. The modular architecture of the Engineering Development Array allows upgrades to the array to be rolled out in a staged approach. Future improvements to the Engineering Development Array include replacing the second stage beamformer with a fully digital system, and to transition to using RF-over-fibre for the signal output from first stage beamformers.
The incidence of recreational water-associated outbreaks in the United States has significantly increased, driven, at least in part, by outbreaks both caused by Cryptosporidium and associated with treated recreational water venues. Because of the parasite's extreme chlorine tolerance, transmission can occur even in well-maintained treated recreational water venues (e.g. pools) and a focal cryptosporidiosis outbreak can evolve into a community-wide outbreak associated with multiple recreational water venues and settings (e.g. childcare facilities). In August 2004 in Auglaize County, Ohio, multiple cryptosporidiosis cases were identified and anecdotally linked to pool A. Within 5 days of the first case being reported, pool A was hyperchlorinated to achieve 99·9% Cryptosporidium inactivition. A case-control study was launched to epidemiologically ascertain the outbreak source 11 days later. A total of 150 confirmed and probable cases were identified; the temporal distribution of illness onset was peaked, indicating a point-source exposure. Cryptosporidiosis was significantly associated with swimming in pool A (matched odds ratio 121·7, 95% confidence interval 27·4–∞) but not with another venue or setting. The findings of this investigation suggest that proactive implementation of control measures, when increased Cryptosporidium transmission is detected but before an outbreak source is epidemiologically ascertained, might prevent a focal cryptosporidiosis outbreak from evolving into a community-wide outbreak.
We applied laser THz emission spectroscopy to study the effects of monolayer graphene on the THz emission from InAs. THz emission from graphene/InAs varies linearly with the laser excitation power in the low-intensity excitation regime. We found that unlike in graphene/SI-InP junctions, graphene and O2 adsorbates on graphene have no significant effect on the THz emission from graphene/InAs junctions because the THz radiation mechanism in InAs is by the photo-Dember effect, whereas for SI-InP is by the surge current effect. There is also a slight enhancement in the THz emission from both bare InAs and graphene/InAs by UV illumination, which is probably due to the additional photoexcited carriers by UV that somehow enhances the photo-Dember field.
We present the results of an approximately 6 100 deg2 104–196 MHz radio sky survey performed with the Murchison Widefield Array during instrument commissioning between 2012 September and 2012 December: the MWACS. The data were taken as meridian drift scans with two different 32-antenna sub-arrays that were available during the commissioning period. The survey covers approximately 20.5 h < RA < 8.5 h, − 58° < Dec < −14°over three frequency bands centred on 119, 150 and 180 MHz, with image resolutions of 6–3 arcmin. The catalogue has 3 arcmin angular resolution and a typical noise level of 40 mJy beam− 1, with reduced sensitivity near the field boundaries and bright sources. We describe the data reduction strategy, based upon mosaicked snapshots, flux density calibration, and source-finding method. We present a catalogue of flux density and spectral index measurements for 14 110 sources, extracted from the mosaic, 1 247 of which are sub-components of complexes of sources.
This paper describes the system architecture of a newly constructed radio telescope – the Boolardy engineering test array, which is a prototype of the Australian square kilometre array pathfinder telescope. Phased array feed technology is used to form multiple simultaneous beams per antenna, providing astronomers with unprecedented survey speed. The test array described here is a six-antenna interferometer, fitted with prototype signal processing hardware capable of forming at least nine dual-polarisation beams simultaneously, allowing several square degrees to be imaged in a single pointed observation. The main purpose of the test array is to develop beamforming and wide-field calibration methods for use with the full telescope, but it will also be capable of limited early science demonstrations.
Significant new opportunities for astrophysics and cosmology have been identified at low radio frequencies. The Murchison Widefield Array is the first telescope in the southern hemisphere designed specifically to explore the low-frequency astronomical sky between 80 and 300 MHz with arcminute angular resolution and high survey efficiency. The telescope will enable new advances along four key science themes, including searching for redshifted 21-cm emission from the EoR in the early Universe; Galactic and extragalactic all-sky southern hemisphere surveys; time-domain astrophysics; and solar, heliospheric, and ionospheric science and space weather. The Murchison Widefield Array is located in Western Australia at the site of the planned Square Kilometre Array (SKA) low-band telescope and is the only low-frequency SKA precursor facility. In this paper, we review the performance properties of the Murchison Widefield Array and describe its primary scientific objectives.
Stated preference scenarios often provide information on intermediate biophysical processes but omit information on the resulting final services that provide utility. This may cause respondents to speculate about the effects of intermediate outcomes on their welfare, leading to biased welfare estimates. This work clarifies distinctions between intermediate and final ecosystem services within stated preference valuation and develops a structural model by which to infer respondents’ speculations when a final ecosystem service is omitted. The model also derives implications for welfare estimates. Methods and results are illustrated using an application of choice experiments to fish restoration in Rhode Island's Pawtuxet watershed.
The Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) will give us an unprecedented opportunity to investigate the transient sky at radio wavelengths. In this paper we present VAST, an ASKAP survey for Variables and Slow Transients. VAST will exploit the wide-field survey capabilities of ASKAP to enable the discovery and investigation of variable and transient phenomena from the local to the cosmological, including flare stars, intermittent pulsars, X-ray binaries, magnetars, extreme scattering events, interstellar scintillation, radio supernovae, and orphan afterglows of gamma-ray bursts. In addition, it will allow us to probe unexplored regions of parameter space where new classes of transient sources may be detected. In this paper we review the known radio transient and variable populations and the current results from blind radio surveys. We outline a comprehensive program based on a multi-tiered survey strategy to characterise the radio transient sky through detection and monitoring of transient and variable sources on the ASKAP imaging timescales of 5 s and greater. We also present an analysis of the expected source populations that we will be able to detect with VAST.
This paper presents a multinational meta-analysis estimated to identify systematic components of willingness to pay for surface water quality improvements, developed to support benefit transfer for Canadian policy development. Metadata are drawn from stated preference studies that estimate WTP for water quality changes affecting aquatic life habitats—a type of study with few Canadian examples. The goals of this paper are to assess the properties of a multinational (United States/Canada) meta-analysis compared to a single-country (U.S.) analog; illustrate the potential information that may be derived as well as the analytical challenges; and assess the performance of resulting meta-functions for benefit transfer.