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Before October 2012 there was no service level agreement for psychiatry cover in Whiston Hospital, an acute trust in the UK. The Crisis team would visit on goodwill to assess patients. This changed when a Liaison Psychiatry (LP) service was commissioned to provide 24 hour cover, Monday to Sunday for the Emergency Department (ED) for adults.
To quantify waiting times to be assessed by psychiatry, comparing the new LP Service (intervention group) to its predecessor (control). The null hypothesis being that the waiting time for the control and intervention group are the same.
The authors prospectively collected data on all referrals received by the LP service in the first three months of operation n=305 and retrospectively collected data on a random sample of 50 patients referred from ED in the same months 2011 (control).
The median time from referral to the time of psychiatric assessment in the control group was 162.5 minutes [IQR 130–330], the mean time was 246.16 [95% CI 180 to 312]. The median time from referral to the time of psychiatric assessment following the introduction of the LP service was 30 minutes [IQR 15-90], the mean time was 79.63 [95% CI 65 to 93]. When the two samples were compared using an independent t test they were significantly different p<0.002.
The new LP service has decreased the median wait for a psychiatry assessment by 132 minutes. The team currently seeS 82% of referrals within 60 minutes. This improves patient safety and encourages appropriate and timely discharge.
Mental health stigma is a multidimensional concept that encompasses many different themes and definitions. Public stigma is defined as the degree to which the general public holds negative views and discriminates against a specific group.
To understand the context and correlates of stigma in multi-ethnic Singapore.
The current study aimed to (i) explore the factor structure of the Depression Stigma Scale and the Social Distance Scale using an exploratory structural equation modelling approach and (ii) examine the correlates of the identified dimensions of stigma in the general population of Singapore.
Data for the current study came from a larger nation-wide cross-sectional study of mental health literacy conducted in Singapore. All respondents were administered the Personal and Perceived scales of the Depression Stigma Scale and the Social Distance scale to measure personal stigma and social distance respectively.
The findings from the factor analysis revealed that personal stigma formed two distinct dimensions comprising “Weak-not-Sick” and “Dangerous/Unpredictable” components while social distance stigma items loaded strongly into a single factor. Those of Malay and Indian ethnicity, lower education, lower income status and those who were administered the depression and alcohol abuse vignette were significantly associated with higher weak-not-sick scores. Those of Indian ethnicity, 6 years of education and below, lower income status and those who were administered the alcohol abuse vignette were significantly associated with higher dangerous/unpredictable scores.
There is a need for well-planned and culturally relevant anti-stigma campaigns in this population.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
To assess the role of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus, WTD) in the epidemiology of toxoplasmosis, we conducted a national survey of WTD across the USA for Toxoplasma gondii infection. To do this, we combined serology with parasite isolation to evaluate the prevalence and genetic diversity of T. gondii in this game species. From October 2012 to March 2019, serum and tissues were collected from 914 WTD across the USA. Serum samples were screened for antibodies to T. gondii, and then the tissues of seropositive WTD were bioassayed in mice. Antibodies were detected in 329 (36%) of 914 WTD tested by the modified agglutination test (positive reaction at 1:25 or higher). Viable T. gondii was isolated from the heart of 36 WTD from 11 states. Three of the 36 isolates were pathogenic but not highly virulent to outbred Swiss Webster mice and all 36 isolates could be propagated further in cell culture and were genotyped. For genotyping, DNA extracted from cell culture-derived tachyzoites was characterized by polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) using the genetic markers SAG1, SAG2, SAG3, BTUB, GRA6, c22-8, c29-2, L358, PK1 and Apico. Genotyping revealed seven ToxoDB PCR-RFLP genotypes, including 24 isolates for genotype #5 (haplogroup 12), four isolates for #2 (type III, haplogroup 3), three isolates for genotypes #1 (type II, haplogroup 2), two isolates for genotypes #3 (type II, haplogroup 2) and one isolate each for #39, #221 and #224. Genotype #5 was the most frequently isolated, accounting for 66.6% (24 of 36) of the isolates. Combining the 36 isolates from this study with previously reported 69 isolates from WTD, 15 genotypes have been identified. Among these, 50.4% (53/105) isolates belong to genotype #5. Our results indicate moderate genetic diversity of T. gondii in WTD. The results also indicate that undercooked venison should not be consumed by humans or fed to cats.
Feral swine are known reservoirs of various pathogens, including Toxoplasma gondii. Here, we report the first national survey of viable T. gondii in feral swine in the USA. We paired serological surveys with parasite isolation and bioassay to evaluate the prevalence and genetic diversity of these parasites. From 2012–2017, sera and tissues from 1517 feral swine across the USA were collected for the isolation of viable T. gondii. Serum samples were initially screened for antibodies to T. gondii, and then the tissues of seropositive feral swine were bioassayed in mice. Antibodies were detected in 27.7% of feral swine tested by the modified agglutination test (1:25 or higher). Antibody positive rates increased significantly with age, with 10.1% of juveniles, 16.0% of sub-adults and 38.4% of adults testing seropositive. Myocardium (50 g) from 232 seropositive feral swine was digested in pepsin and bioassayed in mice. Viable T. gondii was isolated from 78 feral swine from 21 states. Twelve of the 78 isolates were pathogenic to outbred Swiss Webster mice and 76 of the 78 isolates could be propagated further in cell culture and were genotyped. For genotyping, deoxyribonucleic acid extracted from cell culture-derived tachyzoites was characterized by polymerase chain reaction restriction fragment length polymorphism using the genetic markers SAG1, SAG2, SAG3, BTUB, GRA6, c22-8, c29-2, L358, PK1 and Apico. Genotyping revealed 15 ToxoDB genotypes, including 43 isolates for genotype #5 (haplogroup 12), 11 isolates for #24, four isolates for #2 (haplogroup 3), two isolates for each of genotypes #3 (haplogroup 2), #4 (haplogroup 12), #216, #221, #289 and #297 and one isolate for each of genotypes #1 (haplogroup 2), #39, #66, #260, #261 and #299. Genotype #5 was the most frequently isolated, accounted for 57% (43/76) of the isolates, followed by #24, accounted for 14% (11/76). Genotypes #260, #289, #297 and #299 are new types. Genotype #289 was highly virulent to mice and originated from feral swine collected in Louisiana on the same day at the same location. Genotype #216 was previously demonstrated to be highly virulent to mice. Our results indicate moderate genetic diversity of T. gondii in feral swine in the USA, with the genotype #5 (haplogroup 12) dominant in the continental USA, whereas genotype #24 (10/14) was dominant in Hawaii, suggesting different population structures of the parasites among the two distinct geographical locations.
Background: Canadian Stroke Guidelines recommend that Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) patients at highest risk of stroke recurrence should undergo immediate vascular imaging. Computed tomography angiography (CTA) of the head and neck is recommended over carotid doppler because it allows for enhanced visualization of the intracranial and posterior circulation vasculature. Imaging while patients are in the emergency department (ED) is optimal for high-risk patients because the risk of stroke recurrence is highest in the first 48 hours. Aim Statement: At our hospital, a designated stroke centre, less than 5% of TIA patients meet national recommendations by undergoing CTA in the ED. We sought to increase the rate of CTA in high risk ED TIA patients from less than 5% to at least 80% in 10 months. Measures & Design: We used a multi-faceted approach to improve our adherence to guidelines including: 1) education for staff ED physicians; 2) agreements between ED and radiology to facilitate rapid access to CTA; 3) agreements between ED and neurology for consultations regarding patients with abnormal CTA; and 4) the creation of an electronic decision support tool to guide ED physicians as to which patients require CTA. We measured the rate of CTA in high risk patients biweekly using retrospective chart review of patients referred to the TIA clinic from the ED on a biweekly basis. As a balancing measure, we also measured the rate of CTA in non-high risk patients. Evaluation/Results: Data collection is ongoing. An interim run chart at 19 weeks shows a complete shift above the median after implementation, with CTA rates between 70 and 100%. At the time of submission, we had no downward trends below 80%, showing sustained improvement. The CTA rate in non-high risk patients did also increase. Disucssion/Impact: After 19 weeks of our intervention, 112 (78.9%) of high risk TIA patients had a CTA, compared to 10 (9.8%) in the 19 weeks prior to our intervention. On average, 10-15% of high risk patients will have an identifiable lesion on CTA, leading to immediate change in management (at minimum, an inpatient consultation with neurology). Our multi-faceted approach could be replicated in any ED with the engagement and availability of the same multi-disciplinary team (ED, radiology, and neurology), access to CTA, and electronic orders.
The second Singapore Mental Health Study (SMHS) – a nationwide, cross-sectional, epidemiological survey - was initiated in 2016 with the intent of tracking the state of mental health of the general population in Singapore. The study employed the same methodology as the first survey initiated in 2010. The SMHS 2016 aimed to (i) establish the 12-month and lifetime prevalence and correlates of major depressive disorder (MDD), dysthymia, bipolar disorder, generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and alcohol use disorder (AUD) (which included alcohol abuse and dependence) and (ii) compare the prevalence of these disorders with reference to data from the SMHS 2010.
Door-to-door household surveys were conducted with adult Singapore residents aged 18 years and above from 2016 to 2018 (n = 6126) which yielded a response rate of 69.0%. The subjects were randomly selected using a disproportionate stratified sampling method and assessed using World Health Organization Composite International Diagnostic Interview version 3.0 (WHO-CIDI 3.0). The diagnoses of lifetime and 12-month selected mental disorders including MDD, dysthymia, bipolar disorder, GAD, OCD, and AUD (alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence), were based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) criteria.
The lifetime prevalence of at least one mood, anxiety or alcohol use disorder was 13.9% in the adult population. MDD had the highest lifetime prevalence (6.3%) followed by alcohol abuse (4.1%). The 12-month prevalence of any DSM-IV mental disorders was 6.5%. OCD had the highest 12-month prevalence (2.9%) followed by MDD (2.3%). Lifetime and 12-month prevalence of mental disorders assessed in SMHS 2016 (13.8% and 6.4%) was significantly higher than that in SMHS 2010 (12.0% and 4.4%). A significant increase was observed in the prevalence of lifetime GAD (0.9% to 1.6%) and alcohol abuse (3.1% to 4.1%). The 12-month prevalence of GAD (0.8% vs. 0.4%) and OCD (2.9% vs. 1.1%) was significantly higher in SMHS 2016 as compared to SMHS 2010.
The high prevalence of OCD and the increase across the two surveys needs to be tackled at a population level both in terms of creating awareness of the disorder and the need for early treatment. Youth emerge as a vulnerable group who are more likely to be associated with mental disorders and thus targeted interventions in this group with a focus on youth friendly and accessible care centres may lead to earlier detection and treatment of mental disorders.
To recount experience with cerebrospinal fluid otorrhoea and temporal bone meningoencephalocele repair in a tertiary care hospital.
A retrospective review was conducted of 16 cerebrospinal fluid otorrhoea and meningoencephalic herniation patients managed surgically from 1991 to 2016.
Aetiology was: congenital (n = 3), post-traumatic (n = 2), spontaneous (n = 1) or post-mastoidectomy (n = 10). Surgical repair was undertaken by combined middle cranial fossa and transmastoid approach in 3 patients, transmastoid approach in 2, oval window plugging in 1, and subtotal petrosectomy with middle-ear obliteration in 10. All patients had successful long-term outcomes, except one, who experienced recurrence after primary stage oval window plugging, but has been recurrence-free after second-stage subtotal petrosectomy with middle-ear obliteration.
Dural injury or exposure in mastoidectomy may lead to cerebrospinal fluid otorrhoea or meningoencephalic herniation years later. Congenital, spontaneous and traumatic temporal bone defects may present similarly. Middle cranial fossa dural repair, transmastoid multilayer closure and subtotal petrosectomy with middle-ear obliteration were successful procedures. Subtotal petrosectomy with middle-ear obliteration offers advantages over middle cranial fossa dural repair alone; soft tissue closure is more robust and is preferred in situations where hearing preservation is not a priority.
Agriculture in the Central Himalayan Region depends on the availability of suitable germplasm as well as natural conditions. Due to extreme weather conditions, food and nutrition security is a major issue for communities inhabiting these remote and inaccessible areas. Millets are common crops grown in these areas. Foxtail millet (Setaria italica (L.) P. Beauv) is an important crop and forms a considerable part of the diet in this region. The aim of the present study was to explore, collect, conserve and evaluate the untapped genetic diversity of foxtail millet at the molecular level and discover variability in their nutritional traits. A total of 30 accessions having unique traits of agronomic importance were collected and molecular profiling was performed. A total of 63 alleles were generated with an average of 2.52 alleles per locus and average expected heterozygosity of 0.37 ± 0.231. Significant genetic variability was revealed through the genetic differentiation (Fst) and gene flow (Nm) values. Structure-based analysis divided whole germplasm into three sub-groups. Rich variability was found in nutritional traits such as dietary fibre in husked grains, carbohydrate, protein, lysine and thiamine content. The collected germplasm may be useful for developing nutritionally rich and agronomically beneficial varieties of foxtail millet and also designing strategies for utilization of unexploited genetic diversity for food and nutrition security in this and other similar agro-ecological regions.
In this paper, case wise studies have been made to investigate the possibility of propagation of Rayleigh-type wave in a composite structure comprised of two transversely-isotropic material layers with viscoelastic effect. The common interface between the layers is considered to be rigid whereas the base has been considered as rigid, stress-free and yielding in three different cases (Case-I, II and III). Closed-form of frequency equation and damped velocity equation has been established analytically for propagation of Rayleigh-type wave in a composite structure for all three cases. In special cases, frequency equations and damped velocity equations for the case of composite structure with rigid, stress-free and yielding base have been found in well-agreement to the established standard results pre-existing in the literature. Numerical and graphical computation of phase and damped velocity of Rayleigh-type wave propagating in the composite structure comprised of double transversely-isotropic viscoelastic Taylor sandstone material layers (Model-I) and double isotropic viscoelastic material layers (Model-II) have been carried out. Significant effect of anisotropy and width ratio of layers, dilatational and volume viscoelasticity associated with viscoelasticity of layer medium and yielding parameter associated with yielding base of composite structure on phase and damped velocities of Rayleigh-type wave for the considered models have been traced out. The comparative study has been performed to unravel the effect of viscoelasticity over elasticity and anisotropy over isotropy in the present problem.
The mountain ecosystem of the Central Himalayan Region is known for its diversity of crops and their wild relatives. In spite of adverse climatic conditions, this region is endowed with a rich diversity of millets. Hence, the aim of the present study was to explore, collect, conserve and evaluate the diversity of barnyard millet (Echinochloa frumentacea) to find out the extent of diversity available in different traits and the traits responsible for abiotic stress tolerance, and to identify trait-specific accessions for crop improvement and also for the cultivation of millets in the region as well as in other similar agro-ecological regions. A total of 178 accessions were collected and evaluated for a range of morpho-physiological and biochemical traits. Significant variability was noted in days to 50% flowering, days to 80% maturity, 1000 seed weight and yield potential of the germplasm. These traits are considered to be crucial for tailoring new varieties for different agro-climatic conditions. Variations in biochemical traits such as lipid peroxidation (0·552–7·421 nmol malondialdehyde formed/mg protein/h), total glutathione (105·270–423·630 mmol/g fresh weight) and total ascorbate (4·980–9·880 mmol/g fresh weight) content indicate the potential of collected germplasm for abiotic stress tolerance. Principal component analysis also indicated that yield, superoxide dismutase activity, plant height, days to 50% flowering, catalase activity and glutathione content are suitable traits for screening large populations of millet and selection of suitable germplasm for crop improvement and cultivation. Trait-specific accessions identified in the present study could be useful in crop improvement programmes, climate-resilient agriculture and improving food security in areas with limited resources.
A new generation of solar instruments provides improved spectral, spatial, and temporal resolution, thus facilitating a better understanding of dynamic processes on the Sun. High-resolution observations often reveal multiple-component spectral line profiles, e.g., in the near-infrared He i 10830 Å triplet, which provides information about the chromospheric velocity and magnetic fine structure. We observed an emerging flux region, including two small pores and an arch filament system, on 2015 April 17 with the ‘very fast spectroscopic mode’ of the GREGOR Infrared Spectrograph (GRIS) situated at the 1.5-meter GREGOR solar telescope at Observatorio del Teide, Tenerife, Spain. We discuss this method of obtaining fast (one per minute) spectral scans of the solar surface and its potential to follow dynamic processes on the Sun. We demonstrate the performance of the ‘very fast spectroscopic mode’ by tracking chromospheric high-velocity features in the arch filament system.
The current study aimed to: (i) describe the extent of overall stigma as well as the differences in stigma towards people with alcohol abuse, dementia, depression, schizophrenia and obsessive compulsive disorder, as well as (ii) establish the dimensions of stigma and examine its correlates, in the general population of Singapore, using a vignette approach.
Data for the current study came from a larger nation-wide cross-sectional study of mental health literacy conducted in Singapore. The study population comprised Singapore Residents (Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents) aged 18–65 years who were living in Singapore at the time of the survey. All respondents were administered the Personal and Perceived scales of the Depression Stigma scale and the Social Distance scale to measure personal stigma and social distance, respectively. Weighted mean and standard error of the mean were calculated for continuous variables, and frequencies and percentages for categorical variables. Exploratory structural equation modelling and confirmatory factor analysis were used to establish the dimensions of stigma. Multivariable linear regressions were conducted to examine factors associated with each of the stigma scale scores.
The mean age of the respondents was 40.9 years and gender was equally represented (50.9% were males). The findings from the factor analysis revealed that personal stigma formed two distinct dimensions comprising ‘weak-not-sick’ and ‘dangerous/unpredictable’ while social distance stigma items loaded strongly into a single factor. Those of Malay and Indian ethnicity, lower education, lower income status and those who were administered the depression and alcohol abuse vignette were significantly associated with higher weak-not-sick scores. Those of Indian ethnicity, 6 years of education and below, lower income status and those who were administered the alcohol abuse vignette were significantly associated with higher dangerous/unpredictable scores. Those administered the alcohol abuse vignette were associated with higher social distance scores.
This population-wide study found significant stigma towards people with mental illness and identified specific groups who have more stigmatising attitudes. The study also found that having a friend or family member with similar problems was associated with having lower personal as well as social distance stigma. There is a need for well-planned and culturally relevant anti-stigma campaigns in this population that take into consideration the findings of this study.
There is considerable confusion concerning Sarcocystis species in equids. Little is known of Sarcocystis infections in donkeys (Equus asinus). Here we describe the structure of Sarcocystis bertrami-like from the donkey by light microscopy (LM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Nineteen sarcocysts from the tongue of a donkey from Egypt were studied both by LM and TEM. By LM, all sarcocysts had variably shaped and sized projections on the sarcocyst walls, giving it a thin-walled to thick-walled appearance, depending on individual sarcocyst and plane of section. By TEM, sarcocysts walls had villar protrusions (vp) of type 11. The sarcocyst wall had conical to slender vp, up to 6 µm long and 1 µm wide; the vp were folded over the sarcocyst wall. The total thickness of the sarcocyst wall with ground substance layer (gs) was 1–3 µm. The vp had microtubules (mt) that originated deeper in the gs and continued up to the tip. The apical part of the vp had electron dense granules. The mt were configured into 3 types: a tuft of electron dense mt1 extending the entire length of the vp with a tuft of medium electron dense mt2 appearing in parallel, and fine mt3 present only in the villar tips. The gs was mainly smooth with few indistinct granules. All sarcocysts were mature and contained metrocytes and bradyzoites. Bradyzoites were approximately 11–15 × 2–3 µm in size with typical organelles.
The North American opossum (Didelphis virginiana) is the definitive host for at least three named species of Sarcocystis: Sarcocystis falcatula, Sarcocystis neurona and Sarcocystis speeri. The South American opossums (Didelphis albiventris, Didelphis marsupialis and Didelphis aurita) are definitive hosts for S. falcatula and S. lindsayi. The sporocysts of these Sarcocystis species are similar morphologically. They are also not easily distinguished genetically because of the difficulties of DNA extraction from sporocysts and availability of distinguishing genetic markers. Some of these species can be distinguished by bioassay; S. neurona and S. speeri are infective to gamma interferon gene knockout (KO) mice, but not to budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus); whereas S. falcatula and S. lindsayi are infective to budgerigars but not to KO mice. The natural intermediate host of S. speeri is unknown. In the present study, development of sarcocysts of S. speeri in the KO mice is described. Sarcocysts were first seen at 12 days post-inoculation (p.i.), and they became macroscopic (up to 4 mm long) by 25 days p.i. The structure of the sarcocyst wall did not change from the time bradyzoites had formed at 50–220 days p.i. Sarcocysts contained unique villar protrusions, ‘type 38’. The polymerase chain reaction amplifications and sequences analysis of three nuclear loci (18S rRNA, 28S rRNA and ITS1) and two mitochondrial loci (cox1 and cytb) of S. speeri isolate from an Argentinean opossum (D. albiventris) confirmed its membership among species of Sarcocystis and indicated an especially close relationship to another parasite in this genus that employs opossums as its definitive host, S. neurona. These results should be useful in finding natural intermediate host of S. speeri.
There is considerable confusion concerning Sarcocystis species in camels. Five species: Sarcocystis cameli, Sarcocystis ippeni, Sarcocystis camelicanis, Sarcocystis camelocanis and Sarcocystis miescheri were named with inadequate descriptions and no type specimens. Here, we review literature on sarcocystosis in camels worldwide and redescribe structure of S. cameli and S. ippeni sarcocysts by light- and transmission electron microscopy (LM and TEM). Eight sarcocysts from the oesophagi of two camels (Camelus dromedarius) from Egypt were studied. By LM, all sarcocysts were thin-walled with barely visible projections on the cyst walls. By TEM, two structurally distinct sarcocysts were recognized by unique villar protrusions (vp) not found in sarcocysts from any other host. Sarcocysts of S. cameli had vp of type 9j. The sarcocyst wall had upright slender vp, up to 3·0 µm long and 0·5 µm wide; the total thickness of the sarcocyst wall with ground substance (gs) layer was 3·5 µm. On each vp, there were rows of knob-like protrusions that appeared to be interconnected. The vp had microtubules that originated at midpoint of the gs and continued up to the tip; microtubules were smooth, without any granules or dense areas. Bradyzoites were approximately 14–15 × 3–4 µm in size with typical organelles. Sarcocystis ippeni sarcocysts had type 32 sarcocyst wall characterized by conical vp with an electron dense knob. The total thickness of the sarcocyst wall (from the base of gs to vp tip) was 2·3–3·0 µm. The vp were up to 1·2 µm wide at the base and 0·25 µm at the tip. Microtubules in vp originated at midpoint of gs and continued up to tip; microtubules were criss-crossed, smooth and without granules or dense areas. Bradyzoites were 12·0–13·5 × 2·0–3·0 µm in size. Sarcocystis camelicanis, S. camelocanis and S. miescheri are considered invalid.
This study compared genetic diversity of Toxoplasma gondii isolates from Portugal, Austria and Israel. For this, we genotyped 90 T. gondii isolates (16 from Portugal, 67 from Austria and 7 from Israel) using 10 nested PCR-restriction length polymorphism (RFLP) genetic markers and 15 microsatellite (MS) markers. By PCR-RFLP typing, 7 isolates from Portugal chickens were identified as type II (ToxoDB #1 or #3), 4 were type III (ToxoDB #2) and the remaining 4 isolates have unique genotype pattern were designated as ToxoDB #254. One mouse virulent isolate from a bovine fetus (Bos taurus) in Portugal was type I (ToxoDB #10) at all loci and designated as TgCowPr1. All 67 isolates from Austria and 7 from Israel were type II (ToxoDB #1 or #3). By MS typing, many additional genetic variations were revealed among the type II and type III isolates. Phylogenetic analysis showed that isolates from the same geographical locations tend to cluster together, and there is little overlapping of genotypes among different locations. This study demonstrated that the MS markers can provide higher discriminatory power to reveal association of genotypes with geographical locations. Future studies of the type II strains in Europe by these MS markers will be useful to reveal transmission patterns of the parasite.
Transmission of pathogens between domestic and wild life animals plays an important role in epidemiology. Feral pig populations are increasing and expanding in the USA, and may constitute a risk to non-biosecure domestic pig facilities by serving as reservoirs for pathogens. We surveyed, for Sarcocystis infection, the myocardium of 1006 feral pigs (Sus scrofa) trapped or hunted in 29 states during the Comprehensive Feral Swine Disease Surveillance Program of the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services unit during 2012–2014. Sarcocysts were detected in histological sections of 25% (251/1006) of myocardium with an average parasitic load/intensity of infection of 3·03 sarcocysts/section (1·5×0·7 cm), and higher prevalence of myocarditis in severe infections. Microscopic examination of pepsin digests of 147 hearts revealed a higher prevalence of Sarcocystis bradyzoites (49%, 72/147) than when diagnosed by histology. A fragment of Sarcocystis 18S rRNA was amplified and digested with a restriction endonuclease, revealing a pattern consistent with Sarcocystis miescheriana in all 44 selected samples. Sequencing 31 of these 44 isolates confirmed their correspondence to S. miescheriana. Thus, S. miescheriana infection, but not the zoonotic parasite Sarcocystis suihominis, appears to be prevalent and widespread in feral pigs in the USA.
Four valid species of Sarcocystis have been reported from the water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis): Sarcocystis fusiformis, Sarcocystis buffalonis, Sarcocystis levinei and Sarcocystis dubeyi. Here, we redescribe structure of S. fusiformis sarcocysts by scanning and transmission electron microscopy (SEM, TEM). Twenty-one macroscopic sarcocysts from oesophagus of the water buffalo in Egypt were examined by light microscopy, SEM and TEM. The sarcocyst wall was up to 9 μm thick, depending on the section and the technique. In 5 μm paraffin-embedded sections, the sarcocyst wall was indistinct, 2–5 μm thick and appeared smooth. In 1 μm plastic-embedded sections stained with toluidine blue, the sarcocyst wall was 2·5–5·2 μm thick and had branched villar protrusions (vp)-like branches of a dead tree. By SEM, the sarcocyst wall had a mesh-like structure with irregularly shaped vp that were folded over the sarcocyst wall. On each vp there were uniform papillomatous structures that were 100 nm wide. By TEM, vp were up to 6 μm long and contained filamentous tubular structures, most of which were parallel to the long axis of the projections; granules were absent from these tubules. By TEM, bradyzoites within the same cyst varied from 11·2 to 16·8 μm in length. By TEM, bradyzoites had a very long (10 μm) convoluted mitochondrion, up to 12 dense granules, but only 2 rhoptries. This redescription should help to differentiate the sarcocysts of S. fusiformis from similar sarcocysts in domestic and wild ruminants.
The north eastern region (NER) of India receives a high amount of rainfall (2450 mm) both in terms of intensity and frequency. Most of the precipitation goes waste because of improper conservation measures and inadequate rainwater harvesting. Growing a second crop during winter (rabi) season on hill slopes and uplands without moisture conservation measure is almost impossible. A simple and very low-cost technique of in situ soil moisture conservation in maize (Zea mays L.)–toria (Brassica campestris L.) system has been developed using residue of preceding rainy season maize crop and mulching with locally available weed biomass Ambrosia artemisiifolia. Six residue mulching combinations tested were viz. control, Maize stalk cover (MSC), MSC + Ambrosia sp. 5 t/ha, MSC + Ambrosia sp. 10 t/ha, MSC + farmyard manure (FYM) 10 t/ha and MSC + Ambrosia sp. 5 t/ha + poultry manure 5 t/ha under zero tillage (ZT) and conventional tillage (CT) systems. Results showed that in situ residue retention of preceding maize crop along with green biomass of Ambrosia sp., applied before sowing of toria, maintained optimum soil moisture for good growth and higher yield of toria. The soil moisture content was consistently higher under residue mulched plots than that under control. All the residue mulching measures recorded higher crop yield for maize and toria than those observed under residue removal (control). The productivity of toria was enhanced by about 99%, only due to retention of MSC as mulch. Mulching with MSC + Ambrosia sp. 5 t/ha + poultry manure 5 t/ha recorded the highest seed yield of toria (four-year average: 641 kg/ha), which was 228% and 64% higher than no mulching (control) and MSC alone. MSC + FYM 10 t/ha (568.3 t/ha) and MSC + Ambrosia sp. 10 t/ha (517.4 t/ha) were found equally effective and produced significantly higher toria yield than that of control. MSC + Ambrosia mulch 10 t/ha gave the highest net returns and B:C ratio of the maize–toria system. The overall B:C ratios were better under ZT than CT. Thus, the study indicated that the integrated management of crop residues and weed biomass (Ambrosia sp.) under ZT created favourable soil moisture to support double cropping with high yield in hill eco-system of northeastern Indian Himalayas.