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Influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are common causes of respiratory tract infections and place a burden on health services each winter. Systems to describe the timing and intensity of such activity will improve the public health response and deployment of interventions to these pressures. Here we develop early warning and activity intensity thresholds for monitoring influenza and RSV using two novel data sources: general practitioner out-of-hours consultations (GP OOH) and telehealth calls (NHS 111). Moving Epidemic Method (MEM) thresholds were developed for winter 2017–2018. The NHS 111 cold/flu threshold was breached several weeks in advance of other systems. The NHS 111 RSV epidemic threshold was breached in week 41, in advance of RSV laboratory reporting. Combining the use of MEM thresholds with daily monitoring of NHS 111 and GP OOH syndromic surveillance systems provides the potential to alert to threshold breaches in real-time. An advantage of using thresholds across different health systems is the ability to capture a range of healthcare-seeking behaviour, which may reflect differences in disease severity. This study also provides a quantifiable measure of seasonal RSV activity, which contributes to our understanding of RSV activity in advance of the potential introduction of new RSV vaccines.
Mismatch negativity (MMN) is an event-related potential (ERP) component reflecting auditory predictive coding. Repeated standard tones evoke increasing positivity (‘repetition positivity’; RP), reflecting strengthening of the standard's memory trace and the prediction it will recur. Likewise, deviant tones preceded by more standard repetitions evoke greater negativity (‘deviant negativity’; DN), reflecting stronger prediction error signaling. These memory trace effects are also evident in MMN difference wave. Here, we assess group differences and test-retest reliability of these indices in schizophrenia patients (SZ) and healthy controls (HC).
Electroencephalography was recorded twice, 2 weeks apart, from 43 SZ and 30 HC, during a roving standard paradigm. We examined ERPs to the third, eighth, and 33rd standards (RP), immediately subsequent deviants (DN), and the corresponding MMN. Memory trace effects were assessed by comparing amplitudes associated with the three standard repetition trains.
Compared with controls, SZ showed reduced MMNs and DNs, but normal RPs. Both groups showed memory trace effects for RP, MMN, and DN, with a trend for attenuated DNs in SZ. Intraclass correlations obtained via this paradigm indicated good-to-moderate reliabilities for overall MMN, DN and RP, but moderate to poor reliabilities for components associated with short, intermediate, and long standard trains, and poor reliability of their memory trace effects.
MMN deficits in SZ reflected attenuated prediction error signaling (DN), with relatively intact predictive code formation (RP) and memory trace effects. This roving standard MMN paradigm requires additional development/validation to obtain suitable levels of reliability for use in clinical trials.
A proper subgraph of a connected linear graph is said to disconnect the graph if removing it leaves a disconnected graph. In this paper we characterize, in the following sense, the disconnecting subgraphs of a fixed connected graph. We define two distinct types of disconnecting subgraphs (isthmuses and articulators) which are minimal in the sense that no proper subgraph of either type can disconnect the graph. We then show that any disconnecting subgraph must contain either an isthmus or an articulator. We also define a set of subgraphs (called dense) which form a lattice. We show that the union of the minimal dense subgraphs contains all isthmuses and articulators. In terms of these subgraphs we investigate some of the consequences of assuming that a disconnecting subgraph must contain at least m points.
Legionnaires’ disease (LD) incidence in the USA has quadrupled since 2000. Health departments must detect LD outbreaks quickly to identify and remediate sources. We tested the performance of a system to prospectively detect simulated LD outbreaks in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA. We generated three simulated LD outbreaks based on published outbreaks. After verifying no significant clusters existed in surveillance data during 2014–2016, we embedded simulated outbreak-associated cases into 2016, assigning simulated residences and report dates. We mimicked daily analyses in 2016 using the prospective space-time permutation scan statistic to detect clusters of ⩽30 and ⩽180 days using 365-day and 730-day baseline periods, respectively. We used recurrence interval (RI) thresholds of ⩾20, ⩾100 and ⩾365 days to define significant signals. We calculated sensitivity, specificity and positive and negative predictive values for daily analyses, separately for each embedded outbreak. Two large, simulated cooling tower-associated outbreaks were detected. As the RI threshold was increased, sensitivity and negative predictive value decreased, while positive predictive value and specificity increased. A small, simulated potable water-associated outbreak was not detected. Use of a RI threshold of ⩾100 days minimised time-to-detection while maximizing positive predictive value. Health departments should consider using this system to detect community-acquired LD outbreaks.
A cluster of Salmonella Paratyphi B variant L(+) tartrate(+) infections with indistinguishable pulsed-field gel electrophoresis patterns was detected in October 2015. Interviews initially identified nut butters, kale, kombucha, chia seeds and nutrition bars as common exposures. Epidemiologic, environmental and traceback investigations were conducted. Thirteen ill people infected with the outbreak strain were identified in 10 states with illness onset during 18 July–22 November 2015. Eight of 10 (80%) ill people reported eating Brand A raw sprouted nut butters. Brand A conducted a voluntary recall. Raw sprouted nut butters are a novel outbreak vehicle, though contaminated raw nuts, nut butters and sprouted seeds have all caused outbreaks previously. Firms producing raw sprouted products, including nut butters, should consider a kill step to reduce the risk of contamination. People at greater risk for foodborne illness may wish to consider avoiding raw products containing raw sprouted ingredients.
During the 2009 influenza pandemic, a rapid assessment of disease severity was a challenge as a significant proportion of cases did not seek medical care; care-seeking behaviour changed and the proportion asymptomatic was unknown. A random-digit-dialling telephone survey was undertaken during the 2011/12 winter season in England and Wales to address the feasibility of answering these questions. A proportional quota sampling strategy was employed based on gender, age group, geographical location, employment status and level of education. Households were recruited pre-season and re-contacted immediately following peak seasonal influenza activity. The pre-peak survey was undertaken in October 2011 with 1061 individuals recruited and the post-peak telephone survey in March 2012. Eight hundred and thirty-four of the 1061 (78.6%) participants were successfully re-contacted. Their demographic characteristics compared well to national census data. In total, 8.4% of participants self-reported an influenza-like illness (ILI) in the previous 2 weeks, with 3.2% conforming to the World Health Organization (WHO) ILI case definition. In total, 29.6% of the cases reported consulting their general practitioner. 54.1% of the 1061 participants agreed to be re-contacted about providing biological samples. A population-based cohort was successfully recruited and followed up. Longitudinal survey methodology provides a practical tool to assess disease severity during future pandemics.
In 2016, imported Zika virus (ZIKV) infections and the presence of a potentially competent mosquito vector (Aedes albopictus) implied that ZIKV transmission in New York City (NYC) was possible. The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene developed contingency plans for a urosurvey to rule out ongoing local transmission as quickly as possible if a locally acquired case of confirmed ZIKV infection was suspected. We identified tools to (1) rapidly estimate the population living in any given 150-m radius (i.e. within the typical flight distance of an Aedes mosquito) and (2) calculate the sample size needed to test and rule out the further local transmission. As we expected near-zero ZIKV prevalence, methods relying on the normal approximation to the binomial distribution were inappropriate. Instead, we assumed a hypergeometric distribution, 10 missed cases at maximum, a urine assay sensitivity of 92.6% and 100% specificity. Three suspected example risk areas were evaluated with estimated population sizes of 479–4,453, corresponding to a minimum of 133–1244 urine samples. This planning exercise improved our capacity for ruling out local transmission of an emerging infection in a dense, urban environment where all residents in a suspected risk area cannot be feasibly sampled.
Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is the most common blood-borne infection in the USA. Estimating prevalence is critical for monitoring diagnosis, treatment, and cure and for allocating resources. Surveillance data reported to the New York City (NYC) Health Department, 2000–2015, were used to estimate HCV prevalence in NYC in 2015. The numbers who died, out-migrated or whose last RNA test was negative were removed from the count of people reported with HCV. A simulation model was used to remove estimates of people whose infection spontaneously cleared or was cured and to add an estimate of people unaware of infection. The surveillance-based HCV prevalence in NYC in 2015 overall was 1.4% (95% certainty level (CL) 1.2–1.6%; n ≈ 116 000, 95% CL ≈99 000–135 000) and among adults aged ⩾20 years was 1.8% (95% CL 1.5–2.0%, n ≈ 115 000, 95% CL ≈99 000–134 000), lower than the 2010 estimate among adults aged ⩾20 years of 2.4% (n ≈ 147 000). Contributors to the decrease in HCV prevalence from 2010 to 2015 include both the availability of highly effective treatment and also deaths among an ageing population. The 2015 estimate can be used to set NYC-specific HCV screening and treatment targets and monitor progress towards HCV elimination.
Significant increases in excess all-cause mortality, particularly in the elderly, were observed during the winter of 2014/15 in England. With influenza A(H3N2) the dominant circulating influenza A subtype, this paper determines the contribution of influenza to this excess controlling for weather. A standardised multivariable Poisson regression model was employed with weekly all-cause deaths the dependent variable for the period 2008–2015. Adjusting for extreme temperature, a total of 26 542 (95% CI 25 301–27 804) deaths in 65+ and 1942 (95% CI 1834–2052) in 15–64-year-olds were associated with influenza from week 40, 2014 to week 20, 2015. This is compatible with the circulation of influenza A(H3N2). It is the largest estimated number of influenza-related deaths in England since prior to 2008/09. The findings highlight the potential health impact of influenza and the important role of the annual influenza vaccination programme that is required to protect the population including the elderly, who are vulnerable to a severe outcome.
Introduction: Our emergency department (ED) sees a low volume of high acuity pediatric cases. A needs assessment revealed that 68% of our Emergency Physicians (EP) manage pediatric patients in less than 25% of their shifts. The same percentage of EPs as well as ED nurses indicated they were uncomfortable managing a critically unwell neonate. Thus, an interprofessional curriculum focused on pediatric emergencies for ED staff was developed. In-situ simulation education was chosen as the most appropriate method to consolidate each didactic block of curriculum, and uncover important system gaps. Methods: Needs assessment conducted, and emerging themes informed IPE curriculum objectives. A committee of experts in simulation, pediatric emergencies and nursing education designed a full-day, RCPSC accredited, interprofessional in-situ simulation program. Results: Progressive segmental strategy maximized learning outcomes. The initial phase (2 hrs) comprised an” early recognition of sepsis” seminar and 4 rotating skills stations (equipment familiarity, sedating the child, IV starts, and mixing IV medication). This deliberate, adaptive, customized practice was enhanced by expert facilitation at each station, directly engaging participants and providing real-time feedback. The second phase allowed interprofessional teams of MDs, RNs and Physician Assistants to apply knowledge gained from the didactic and skills stations to in-situ simulated emergencies. Each group participated in two pediatric emergency scenarios. Scenarios ran 20 minutes, followed by a 40 minute debrief. Each scenario had a trained debriefer and content expert. The day concluded with a final debrief, attended by all participants. Formalized checklists assessed participants knowledge translation during simulation exercises. Participants assessed facilitators and evaluated the simulation day and curriculum via anonymous feedback forms. Debriefing sessions were scribed and knowledge gaps and system errors were recorded. Results were distributed to ED leaders and responsibilities assigned to key stakeholders to ensure accountability and improvement in system errors. Results All participants reported the experience to be relevant and helpful in their learning. All participants requested more frequent simulation days. System gaps identified included: use of metric vs imperial measurements, non-compatible laryngoscope equipment, inadequate identification of team personnel. As a result, the above-mentioned equipment has been replaced, and we are developing resuscitation room ID stickers for all team roles. Conclusion: Simulation as a culmination to a didactic curriculum provides a safe environment to translate acquired knowledge, increasing ED staff comfort and familiarity with rare pediatric cases. Additionally, is an excellent tool to reveal system gaps and allow us to fill these gaps to improve departmental functioning and safety.
Encouraging people to eat more seafood can offer a direct, cost-effective way of improving overall health outcomes. However, dietary recommendations to increase seafood consumption have been criticised following concern over the capacity of the seafood industry to meet increased demand, while maintaining sustainable fish stocks. The current research sought to investigate Australian accredited practising dietitians’ (APD) and public health nutritionists’ (PHN) views on seafood sustainability and their dietary recommendations, to identify ways to better align nutrition and sustainability goals.
A self-administered online questionnaire exploring seafood consumption advice, perceptions of seafood sustainability and information sources of APD and PHN. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected via open and closed questions. Quantitative data were analysed with χ2 tests and reported using descriptive statistics. Content analysis was used for qualitative data.
APD and PHN were targeted to participate; the sample includes respondents from urban and regional areas throughout Australia.
Results indicate confusion around the concept of seafood sustainability and where to obtain information, which may limit health professionals’ ability to recommend the best types of seafood to maximise health and sustainability outcomes. Respondents demonstrated limited understanding of seafood sustainability, with 7·5 % (n 6/80) satisfied with their level of understanding.
Nutrition and sustainability goals can be better aligned by increasing awareness on seafood that is healthy and sustainable. For health professionals to confidently make recommendations, or identify trade-offs, more evidence-based information needs to be made accessible through forums such as dietetic organisations, industry groups and nutrition programmes.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
The increased use of the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery (MCCB) to investigate cognitive dysfunctions in schizophrenia fostered interest in its sensitivity in the context of family studies. As various measures of the same cognitive domains may have different power to distinguish between unaffected relatives of patients and controls, the relative sensitivity of MCCB tests for relative–control differences has to be established. We compared MCCB scores of 852 outpatients with schizophrenia (SCZ) with those of 342 unaffected relatives (REL) and a normative Italian sample of 774 healthy subjects (HCS). We examined familial aggregation of cognitive impairment by investigating within-family prediction of MCCB scores based on probands’ scores.
Multivariate analysis of variance was used to analyze group differences in adjusted MCCB scores. Weighted least-squares analysis was used to investigate whether probands’ MCCB scores predicted REL neurocognitive performance.
SCZ were significantly impaired on all MCCB domains. REL had intermediate scores between SCZ and HCS, showing a similar pattern of impairment, except for social cognition. Proband's scores significantly predicted REL MCCB scores on all domains except for visual learning.
In a large sample of stable patients with schizophrenia, living in the community, and in their unaffected relatives, MCCB demonstrated sensitivity to cognitive deficits in both groups. Our findings of significant within-family prediction of MCCB scores might reflect disease-related genetic or environmental factors.
Mycobacterium marinum, a bacterium found in freshwater and saltwater, can infect persons with direct exposure to fish or aquariums. During December 2013, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene learned of four suspected or confirmed M. marinum skin or soft tissue infections (SSTIs) among persons who purchased whole fish from Chinese markets. Ninety-eight case-patients with non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) SSTIs were identified with onset June 2013–March 2014. Of these, 77 (79%) were female. The median age was 62 years (range 30–91). Whole genome sequencing of clinical isolates revealed two main clusters and marked genetic diversity. Environmental samples from distributors yielded NTM though not M. marinum. We compared 56 case-patients with 185 control subjects who shopped in Chinese markets, frequency-matched by age group and sex. Risk factors for infection included skin injury to the finger or hand (odds ratio [OR]: 15·5; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 6·9–37·3), hand injury while preparing fish or seafood (OR 8·3; 95% CI 3·8–19·1), and purchasing tilapia (OR 3·6; 95% CI 1·1–13·9) or whiting (OR 2·7; 95% CI 1·1–6·6). A definitive environmental outbreak source was not identified.
Measures of social cognition are increasingly being applied to psychopathology, including studies of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. Tests of social cognition present unique challenges for international adaptations. The Mayer–Salovey–Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test, Managing Emotions Branch (MSCEIT-ME) is a commonly-used social cognition test that involves the evaluation of social scenarios presented in vignettes.
This paper presents evaluations of translations of this test in six different languages based on representative samples from the relevant countries. The goal was to identify items from the MSCEIT-ME that show different response patterns across countries using indices of discrepancy and content validity criteria. An international version of the MSCEIT-ME scoring was developed that excludes items that showed undesirable properties across countries.
We then confirmed that this new version had better performance (i.e. less discrepancy across regions) in international samples than the version based on the original norms. Additionally, it provides scores that are comparable to ratings based on local norms.
This paper shows that it is possible to adapt complex social cognitive tasks so they can provide valid data across different cultural contexts.
Bone-anchored hearing aids improve hearing for patients for whom conventional behind-the-ear aids are problematic. However, uptake of bone-anchored hearing aids is low and it is important to understand why this is the case.
A narrative review was conducted. Studies examining why people accept or decline bone-anchored hearing aids and satisfaction levels of people with bone-anchored hearing aids were reviewed.
Reasons for declining bone-anchored hearing aids included limited perceived benefits, concerns about surgery, aesthetic concerns and treatment cost. No studies providing in-depth analysis of the reasons for declining or accepting bone-anchored hearing aids were identified. Studies of patient satisfaction showed that most participants reported benefits with bone-anchored hearing aids. However, most studies used cross-sectional and/or retrospective designs and only included people with bone-anchored hearing aids.
Important avenues for further research are in-depth qualitative research designed to fully understand the decision-making process for bone-anchored hearing aids and rigorous quantitative research comparing satisfaction of people who receive bone-anchored hearing aids with those who receive alternative (or no) treatments.
Parental criminal offending is an established risk factor for offending among offspring, but little evidence is available indicating the impact of offending on early childhood functioning. We used data from a large Australian population cohort to determine associations between exposure to parental offending and a range of developmental outcomes at age 5 years.
Multi-generation data in 66 477 children and their parents from the New South Wales Child Development Study were combined using data linkage. Logistic and multinomial regressions tested associations between any and violent offending histories of parents (fathers, mothers, or both parents) obtained from official records, and multiple measures of early childhood developmental functioning (social, emotional–behavioural, cognitive, communication and physical domains) obtained from the teacher-reported 2009 Australian Early Development Census.
Parental offending conferred significantly increased risk of vulnerability on all domains, particularly the cognitive domain. Greater risk magnitudes were observed for offending by both parents and by mothers than by fathers, and for violent than for any offending. For all parental offending exposures, vulnerability on multiple domains (where medium to large effects were observed) was more likely than on a single domain (small to medium effects). Relationships remained significant and of comparable magnitude following adjustment for sociodemographic covariates.
The effect of parental offending on early childhood developmental outcomes is pervasive, with the strongest effects on functioning apparent when both parents engage in violent offending. Supporting affected families in early childhood might mitigate both early developmental vulnerability and the propensity for later delinquency among these offspring.
Toxigenic strains of Vibrio cholerae serogroups O1 and O139 have caused cholera epidemics, but other serogroups – such as O75 or O141 – can also produce cholera toxin and cause severe watery diarrhoea similar to cholera. We describe 31 years of surveillance for toxigenic non-O1, non-O139 infections in the United States and map these infections to the state where the exposure probably originated. While serogroups O75 and O141 are closely related pathogens, they differ in how and where they infect people. Oysters were the main vehicle for O75 infection. The vehicles for O141 infection include oysters, clams, and freshwater in lakes and rivers. The patients infected with serogroup O75 who had food traceback information available ate raw oysters from Florida. Patients infected with O141 ate oysters from Florida and clams from New Jersey, and those who only reported being exposed to freshwater were exposed in Arizona, Michigan, Missouri, and Texas. Improving the safety of oysters, specifically, should help prevent future illnesses from these toxigenic strains and similar pathogenic Vibrio species. Post-harvest processing of raw oysters, such as individual quick freezing, heat-cool pasteurization, and high hydrostatic pressurization, should be considered.