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The rocky shores of the north-east Atlantic have been long studied. Our focus is from Gibraltar to Norway plus the Azores and Iceland. Phylogeographic processes shape biogeographic patterns of biodiversity. Long-term and broadscale studies have shown the responses of biota to past climate fluctuations and more recent anthropogenic climate change. Inter- and intra-specific species interactions along sharp local environmental gradients shape distributions and community structure and hence ecosystem functioning. Shifts in domination by fucoids in shelter to barnacles/mussels in exposure are mediated by grazing by patellid limpets. Further south fucoids become increasingly rare, with species disappearing or restricted to estuarine refuges, caused by greater desiccation and grazing pressure. Mesoscale processes influence bottom-up nutrient forcing and larval supply, hence affecting species abundance and distribution, and can be proximate factors setting range edges (e.g., the English Channel, the Iberian Peninsula). Impacts of invasive non-native species are reviewed. Knowledge gaps such as the work on rockpools and host–parasite dynamics are also outlined.
Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) infection can cause serious illness including haemolytic uraemic syndrome. The role of socio-economic status (SES) in differential clinical presentation and exposure to potential risk factors amongst STEC cases has not previously been reported in England. We conducted an observational study using a dataset of all STEC cases identified in England, 2010–2015. Odds ratios for clinical characteristics of cases and foodborne, waterborne and environmental risk factors were estimated using logistic regression, stratified by SES, adjusting for baseline demographic factors. Incidence was higher in the highest SES group compared to the lowest (RR 1.54, 95% CI 1.19–2.00). Odds of Accident and Emergency attendance (OR 1.35, 95% CI 1.10–1.75) and hospitalisation (OR 1.71, 95% CI 1.36–2.15) because of illness were higher in the most disadvantaged compared to the least, suggesting potential lower ascertainment of milder cases or delayed care-seeking behaviour in disadvantaged groups. Advantaged individuals were significantly more likely to report salad/fruit/vegetable/herb consumption (OR 1.59, 95% CI 1.16–2.17), non-UK or UK travel (OR 1.76, 95% CI 1.40–2.27; OR 1.85, 95% CI 1.35–2.56) and environmental exposures (walking in a paddock, OR 1.82, 95% CI 1.22–2.70; soil contact, OR 1.52, 95% CI 2.13–1.09) suggesting other unmeasured risks, such as person-to-person transmission, could be more important in the most disadvantaged group.
A set of experimentally obtained “d” values is subject to a variety of random and systematic errors, some of which are inherent to a given diffractometer configuration and some of which may result from incorrect alignment of the diffractometer or technique in establishing peak positions and subsequent calculation of “d” values. In a previous paper (1) we have discussed the problems involved in the identification and control of errors in the computer controlled diffractometer and in that paper we indicated that it is useful to differentiate between different types of two-theta values. Firstly the Theoretical 20 values are those values which are dependant only on the size and distribution of atoms in the unit cell of the phase. The Practical 20 values on the other hand result when aberrations inherent in a given diffractometer geometry are convoluted with the Theoretical 20 values. In terms of their typical magnitudes the most important of these aberrations in decreasing order are: Specimen Displacement, Axial Divergence, Flat Specimen and Transparency Errors. Other inherent errors include refraction and the effects of focal line and receiving slit widths etc., but these latter effects are generally considered small. At the second level, Experimental 20 values also depend on misalignment errors. The third level errors accrue in the conversion of the experimental 20 value to “d” spacing. These errors may arise simply from round-off errors or from more fundamental reasons arising from the polychromatic nature of the source and uncertainties in the wavelength of the diffracted radiation.
In August 2015, Public Health England detected an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) serotype O157:H7 caused by contaminated salad leaves in a mixed leaf prepacked salad product from a national retailer. The implicated leaves were cultivated at five different farms and the zoonotic source of the outbreak strain was not determined. In March 2016, additional isolates from new cases were identified that shared a recent common ancestor with the outbreak strain. A case–case study involving the cases identified in 2016 revealed that ovine exposures were associated with illness (n = 16; AOR 8·24; 95% CI 1·55–39·74). By mapping the recent movement of sheep and lambs across the United Kingdom, epidemiological links were established between the cases reporting ovine exposures. Given the close phylogenetic relationship between the outbreak strain and the isolates from cases with ovine exposures, it is plausible that ovine faeces may have contaminated the salad leaves via untreated irrigation water or run-off from fields nearby. Timely and targeted veterinary and environmental sampling should be considered during foodborne outbreaks of STEC, particularly where ready to eat vegetables and salads are implicated.
Survey-based contingent valuation (CV) techniques are commonly used to value the potential effects of a policy change when market-based valuation of those effects is not possible. The results of these analyses are often intended to inform policy decisions, which are made within the context of formal policymaking institutions. These institutions are typically designed to reduce the large number of potential options for addressing any given policy problem to a binary choice between the continuation of current policy and a single, specified alternative. In this research we develop an approach for conducting CV exercises in a manner consistent with the decision structure typically faced by policymakers. The data generated from this approach allow for an estimate of willingness to pay (WTP) for a defined policy alternative, relative to leaving policy unchanged, which we argue is of direct interest to policymakers. We illustrate our approach within the context of policy governing the storage of used nuclear fuel in the United States. We value the policy option of constructing an interim storage facility relative to continuation of current policy, wherein used nuclear fuel is stored on-site at or near commercial nuclear generating plants. We close the paper with a discussion of the implications for future research and the role of CV in the policymaking process.
Fifteen confirmed cases and 15 possible cases of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O157 phage type 21/28 were linked to direct contact with lambs at a ‘Lambing Live’ event in the North West of England between 29 March and 21 April 2014. Twenty-one (70%) of the cases were female, 23 (77%) were children aged <16 years, of whom 14 (46%) were in the 0–5 years age group. Five children developed haemolytic uraemic syndrome. Multilocus variable number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA) profiles on 14 human cases were indistinguishable, and 6/10 animal isolates had a MLVA profile identical to the outbreak profile. Whole-genome sequencing analysis revealed that all isolates, both human and animal, fell within a 5-single nucleotide polymorphism cluster indicating the isolates belonged to the same point source. On inspection of the premises, extensive and uncontrolled physical contact between visitors and animals was occuring within the animal pens and during bottle-feeding. Public areas were visibly contaminated with animal faeces. Information to visitors, and the infection control awareness demonstrated by staff, was inadequate. Managing the risk to visitors of STEC O157 infection at animal petting events and open farms requires implementation of stringent control measures by the operator, as outlined in the industry code of practice. Enforcement action is sometimes required to prevent high-risk activities taking place at both permanent and temporary attractions.
SN 1987A has been observed with a combined high energy γ-ray (50-500 MeV) and hard X-ray (15-150 keV) payload during a balloon flight on 5 April 1988 from Alice Springs, Australia. The γ-ray observations, along with our earlier ones on 19 April 1987 are the only such observations of the supernova to date. The γ-ray detector characteristics are described. The preliminary results of the recent flight and their implications in terms of the known supernova parameters are discussed.
Echinococcus granulosus (sensu lato) is now recognized as an assemblage of cryptic species, which differ considerably in morphology, development, host specificity (including infectivity/pathogenicity for humans) and other aspects. One of these species, E. granulosus sensu stricto (s.s.), is now clearly identified as the principal agent causing cystic echinococcosis in humans. Previous studies of a small section of the cox1 and nadh1 genes identified two variants of E. granulosus s.s. to be present in Australia; however, no further work has been carried out to characterize the microdiversity of the parasite in its territory. We have analysed the sequence of the full length of the cox1 gene (1609 bp) from 37 isolates of E. granulosus from different hosts and geographic regions of Australia. The analysis shows that seven haplotypes of E. granulosus s.s. not previously described were found, together with five haplotypes known to be present in other parts of the world, including the haplotype EG01 which is widespread and present in all endemic regions. These data extend knowledge related to the geographical spread and host range of E. granulosus s.s. in a country such as Australia in which the parasite established around 200 years ago.
Five cases of STEC O157 phage type (PT) 21/28 reported consumption of raw cows' drinking milk (RDM) produced at a dairy farm in the South West of England. STEC O157 PT21/28 was isolated from faecal specimens from milking cows on the implicated farm. Whole genome sequencing (WGS) showed that human and cattle isolates were the same strain. Further analysis of WGS data confirmed that sequences of isolates from an additional four cases (who did not report consumption of RDM when first questioned) fell within the same five single nucleotide polymorphism cluster as the initial five cases epidemiologically linked to the consumption of RDM. These four additional cases identified by WGS were investigated further and were, ultimately, associated with the implicated farm. The RDM outbreak strain encoded stx2a, which is associated with increased pathogenicity and severity of symptoms. Further epidemiological analysis showed that 70% of isolates within a wider cluster containing the outbreak strain were from cases residing in, or linked to, the same geographical region of England. During this RDM outbreak, use of WGS improved case ascertainment and provided insights into the evolution of a highly pathogenic clade of STEC O157 PT21/28 stx2a associated with the South West of England.
Recent meta-analyses of resting-state networks in major depressive disorder (MDD) implicate network disruptions underlying cognitive and affective features of illness. Heterogeneity of findings to date may stem from the relative lack of data parsing clinical features of MDD such as phase of illness and the burden of multiple episodes.
Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data were collected from 17 active MDD and 34 remitted MDD patients, and 26 healthy controls (HCs) across two sites. Participants were medication-free and further subdivided into those with single v. multiple episodes to examine disease burden. Seed-based connectivity using the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) seed to probe the default mode network as well as the amygdala and subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (sgACC) seeds to probe the salience network (SN) were conducted.
Young adults with remitted MDD demonstrated hyperconnectivity of the left PCC to the left inferior frontal gyrus and of the left sgACC to the right ventromedial prefrontal cortex (PFC) and left hippocampus compared with HCs. Episode-independent effects were observed between the left PCC and the right dorsolateral PFC, as well as between the left amygdala and right insula and caudate, whereas the burden of multiple episodes was associated with hypoconnectivity of the left PCC to multiple cognitive control regions as well as hypoconnectivity of the amygdala to large portions of the SN.
This is the first study of a homogeneous sample of unmedicated young adults with a history of adolescent-onset MDD illustrating brain-based episodic features of illness.
Many serogroups of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) other than serogroup O157 (non-O157 STEC), for example STEC O26:H11, are highly pathogenic and capable of causing haemolytic uraemic syndrome. A recent increase in non-O157 STEC cases identified in England, resulting from a change in the testing paradigm, prompted a review of the current methods available for detection and typing of non-O157 STEC for surveillance and outbreak investigations. Nineteen STEC O26:H11 strains, including four from a nursery outbreak were selected to assess typing methods. Serotyping and multilocus sequence typing were not able to discriminate between the stx-producing strains in the dataset. However, genome sequencing provided rapid and robust confirmation that isolates of STEC O26:H11 associated with a nursery outbreak were linked at the molecular level, had a common source and were distinct from the other strains analysed. Virulence gene profiling of DNA extracted from a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-positive/culture-negative faecal specimen from a case that was epidemiologically linked to the STEC O26:H11 nursery outbreak, provided evidence at the molecular level to support that link. During this study, we describe the utility of PCR and the genome sequencing approach in facilitating surveillance and enhancing the response to outbreaks of non-O157 STEC.
Hospitalizations for acute bacterial skin and skin structure infection (ABSSSI) are common. Optimizing antibiotic use for ABSSSIs requires an understanding of current management. The objective of this study was to evaluate antibiotic prescribing practices and factors affecting prescribing in a diverse group of hospitals
Multicenter, retrospective cohort study.
Seven community and academic hospitals.
Children and adults hospitalized between June 2010 and May 2012 for cellulitis, wound infection, or cutaneous abscess were eligible. The primary endpoint was a composite of 2 prescribing practices representing potentially avoidable antibiotic exposure: (1) use of antibiotics with a broad spectrum of activity against gram-negative bacteria or (2) treatment duration greater than 10 days.
A total of 533 cases were included: 320 with nonpurulent cellulitis, 44 with wound infection or purulent cellulitis, and 169 with abscess. Of 492 cases with complete prescribing data, the primary endpoint occurred in 394 (80%) cases and varied significantly across hospitals (64%–97%; P < .001). By logistic regression, independent predictors of the primary endpoint included wound infection or purulent cellulitis (odds ratio [OR], 5.12 [95% confidence interval (CI)], 1.46–17.88), head or neck involvement (OR, 2.83 [95% CI, 1.17–6.82]), adult cases (OR, 2.20 [95% CI, 1.18–4.11]), and admission to a community hospital (OR, 1.90 [95% CI, 1.05–3.44]).
Among patients hospitalized for ABSSSI, use of antibiotics with broad gram-negative activity or treatment courses longer than 10 days were common. There may be substantial opportunity to reduce antibiotic exposure through shorter courses of therapy targeting gram-positive bacteria.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2014;35(10):1241–1250
To develop and validate a partially automated algorithm to identify surgical site infections (SSIs) using commonly available electronic data to reduce manual chart review.
Retrospective cohort study of patients undergoing specific surgical procedures over a 4-year period from 2007 through 2010 (algorithm development cohort) or over a 3-month period from January 2011 through March 2011 (algorithm validation cohort).
A single academic safety-net hospital in a major metropolitan area.
Patients undergoing at least 1 included surgical procedure during the study period.
Procedures were identified in the National Healthcare Safety Network; SSIs were identified by manual chart review. Commonly available electronic data, including microbiologic, laboratory, and administrative data, were identified via a clinical data warehouse. Algorithms using combinations of these electronic variables were constructed and assessed for their ability to identify SSIs and reduce chart review.
The most efficient algorithm identified in the development cohort combined microbiologic data with postoperative procedure and diagnosis codes. This algorithm resulted in 100% sensitivity and 85% specificity. Time savings from the algorithm was almost 600 person-hours of chart review. The algorithm demonstrated similar sensitivity on application to the validation cohort.
A partially automated algorithm to identify potential SSIs was highly sensitive and dramatically reduced the amount of manual chart review required of infection control personnel during SSI surveillance.
The aim of this study was to retrospectively assess the value of whole genome sequencing (WGS) compared to conventional typing methods in the investigation and control of an outbreak of Shigella sonnei in the Orthodox Jewish (OJ) community in the UK. The genome sequence analysis showed that the strains implicated in the outbreak formed three phylogenetically distinct clusters. One cluster represented cases associated with recent exposure to a single strain, whereas the other two clusters represented related but distinct strains of S. sonnei circulating in the OJ community across the UK. The WGS data challenged the conclusions drawn during the initial outbreak investigation and allowed cases of dysentery to be implicated or ruled out of the outbreak that were previously misclassified. This study showed that the resolution achieved using WGS would have clearly defined the outbreak, thus facilitating the promotion of infection control measures within local schools and the dissemination of a stronger public health message to the community.
The present study aimed to assess the prevalence of common mental disorders (CMDs) by occupation in a representative sample of the English adult population. Another aim was to examine whether the increased risk of CMD in some occupations could be explained by adverse work characteristics.
We derived a sample of 3425 working-age respondents from the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2007. Occupations were classified by Standard Occupational Classification group, and CMD measured by the Revised Clinical Interview Schedule. Job characteristics were measured by questionnaire, and tested as explanatory factors in associations of occupation and CMD.
After adjusting for age, gender, housing tenure and marital status, caring personal service occupations had the greatest risk of CMD compared with all occupations (odds ratio 1.73, 95% confidence interval 1.16–2.58). The prevalence of adverse psychosocial work characteristics did not follow the pattern of CMD by occupation. Work characteristics did not explain the increased risk of CMDs associated with working in personal service occupations. Contrary to our hypotheses, adding work characteristics individually to the association of occupation and CMD tended to increase rather than decrease the odds for CMD.
As has been found by others, psychosocial work characteristics were associated with CMD. However, we found that in our English national dataset they could not explain the high rates of CMD in particular occupations. We suggest that selection into occupations may partly explain high CMD rates in certain occupations. Also, we did not measure emotional demands, and these may be important mediators of the relationship between occupation type and CMDs.
Although communicable diseases have hitherto played a small part in illness associated with Olympic Games, an outbreak of infection in a national team, Games venue or visiting spectators has the potential to disrupt a global sporting event and distract from the international celebration of athletic excellence. Preparation for hosting the Olympic Games includes implementation of early warning systems for detecting emerging infection problems. Ensuring capability for rapid microbiological diagnoses to inform situational risk assessments underpins the ability to dispel rumours. These are a prelude to control measures to minimize impact of any outbreak of infectious disease at a time of intense public scrutiny. Complex multidisciplinary teamwork combined with laboratory technical innovation and efficient information flows underlie the Health Protection Agency's preparation for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. These will deliver durable legacies for clinical and public health microbiology, outbreak investigation and control in the coming years.