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Recurrent outbreaks of haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) caused by Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) serotype O55:H7 occurred in England between 2014 and 2018. We reviewed the epidemiological evidence to identify potential source(s) and transmission routes of the pathogen, and to assess the on-going risk to public health. Over the 5-year period, there were 43 confirmed and three probable cases of STEC O55:H7. The median age of cases was 4 years old (range 6 months to 69 years old) and over half of all cases were female (28/46, 61%). There were 36/46 (78.3%) symptomatic cases, and over half of all cases developed HUS (25/46, 54%), including two fatal cases. No common food or environmental exposures were identified, although the majority of cases lived in rural or semi-rural environments and reported contact with both wild and domestic animals. This investigation informed policy on the clinical and public health management of HUS caused by STEC other than serotype O157:H7 (non-O157 STEC) in England, including comprehensive testing of all household contacts and household pets and more widespread use of polymerase chain reaction assays for the rapid diagnosis of STEC-HUS.
Diets varying in SFA and MUFA content can impact glycaemic control; however, whether underlying differences in genetic make-up can influence blood glucose responses to these dietary fatty acids is unknown. We examined the impact of dietary oils varying in SFA/MUFA content on changes in blood glucose levels (primary outcome) and whether these changes were modified by variants in the stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD) gene (secondary outcome). Obese men and women participating in the randomised, crossover, isoenergetic, controlled-feeding Canola Oil Multicenter Intervention Trial II consumed three dietary oils for 6 weeks, with washout periods of ˜6 weeks between each treatment. Diets studied included a high SFA/low MUFA Control oil (36·6 % SFA/28·2 % MUFA), a conventional canola oil (6·2 % SFA/63·1 % MUFA) and a high-oleic acid canola oil (5·8 % SFA/74·7 % MUFA). No differences in fasting blood glucose were observed following the consumption of the dietary oils. However, when stratified by SCD genotypes, significant SNP-by-treatment interactions on blood glucose response were found with additive models for rs1502593 (P = 0·01), rs3071 (P = 0·02) and rs522951 (P = 0·03). The interaction for rs3071 remained significant (P = 0·005) when analysed with a recessive model, where individuals carrying the CC genotype showed an increase (0·14 (sem 0·09) mmol/l) in blood glucose levels with the Control oil diet, but reductions in blood glucose with both MUFA oil diets. Individuals carrying the AA and AC genotypes experienced reductions in blood glucose in response to all three oils. These findings identify a potential new target for personalised nutrition approaches aimed at improving glycaemic control.
Evolving conditions at the terminus of Thwaites Glacier will be important in determining the rate of its future sea-level contribution over the coming decades. Here, we use remote-sensing observations to investigate recent changes (2000–2018) in the structure and velocity of Thwaites Glacier and its floating tongue. We show that the main trunk of Thwaites Glacier has accelerated by 38% over this period, while its previously intact floating tongue has transitioned to a weaker mélange of fractured icebergs bounded by sea ice. However, the rate of structural weakening and acceleration was not uniform across the observational period and we identify two periods of rapid acceleration and structural weakening (2006–2012; 2016–2018), separated by a period of deceleration and re-advance of the structurally-intact shear margin boundary (2012–2015). The timing of these accelerations/decelerations strongly suggests a link to variable ocean forcing. The weakened tongue now has some dependency on landfast sea ice for structural integrity and is vulnerable to changes in landfast ice persistency. Future reductions in landfast sea ice could manifest from changes in climate and/or the imminent removal of the B-22A iceberg from the Thwaites embayment. Such changes could have important implications for the integrity of the ice tongue and future glacier discharge.
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.
Replicate radiocarbon (14C) measurements of organic and inorganic control samples, with known Fraction Modern values in the range Fm = 0–1.5 and mass range 6 μg–2 mg carbon, are used to determine both the mass and radiocarbon content of the blank carbon introduced during sample processing and measurement in our laboratory. These data are used to model, separately for organic and inorganic samples, the blank contribution and subsequently “blank correct” measured unknowns in the mass range 25–100 μg. Data, formulas, and an assessment of the precision and accuracy of the blank correction are presented.
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.
Fetal growth restriction (FGR) and preterm birth are frequent co-morbidities, both are independent risks for brain injury. However, few studies have examined the mechanisms by which preterm FGR increases the risk of adverse neurological outcomes. We aimed to determine the effects of prematurity and mechanical ventilation (VENT) on the brain of FGR and appropriately grown (AG, control) lambs. We hypothesized that FGR preterm lambs are more vulnerable to ventilation-induced acute brain injury. FGR was surgically induced in fetal sheep (0.7 gestation) by ligation of a single umbilical artery. After 4 weeks, preterm lambs were euthanized at delivery or delivered and ventilated for 2 h before euthanasia. Brains and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) were collected for analysis of molecular and structural indices of early brain injury. FGRVENT lambs had increased oxidative cell damage and brain injury marker S100B levels compared with all other groups. Mechanical ventilation increased inflammatory marker IL-8 within the brain of FGRVENT and AGVENT lambs. Abnormalities in the neurovascular unit and increased blood–brain barrier permeability were observed in FGRVENT lambs, as well as an altered density of vascular tight junctions markers. FGR and AG preterm lambs have different responses to acute injurious mechanical ventilation, changes which appear to have been developmentally programmed in utero.
Oregon's Fort Rock Cave is iconic in respect to both the archaeology of the northern Great Basin and the history of debate about when the Great Basin was colonized. In 1938, Luther Cressman recovered dozens of sagebrush bark sandals from beneath Mt. Mazama ash that were later radiocarbon dated to between 10,500 and 9350 cal B.P. In 1970, Stephen Bedwell reported finding lithic tools associated with a date of more than 15,000 cal B.P., a date dismissed as unreasonably old by most researchers. Now, with evidence of a nearly 15,000-year-old occupation at the nearby Paisley Five Mile Point Caves, we returned to Fort Rock Cave to evaluate the validity of Bedwell's claim, assess the stratigraphic integrity of remaining deposits, and determine the potential for future work at the site. Here, we report the results of additional fieldwork at Fort Rock Cave undertaken in 2015 and 2016, which supports the early Holocene occupation, but does not confirm a pre–10,500 cal B.P. human presence.
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.
Fatty acid ethanolamides (FAE), a group of lipid mediators derived from long-chain fatty acids (FA), mediate biological activities including activation of cannabinoid receptors, stimulation of fat oxidation and regulation of satiety. However, how circulating FAE levels are influenced by FA intake in humans remains unclear. The objective of the present study was to investigate the response of six major circulating FAE to various dietary oil treatments in a five-period, cross-over, randomised, double-blind, clinical study in volunteers with abdominal obesity. The treatment oils (60 g/12 552 kJ per d (60 g/3000 kcal per d)) provided for 30 d were as follows: conventional canola oil, high oleic canola oil, high oleic canola oil enriched with DHA, flax/safflower oil blend and corn/safflower oil blend. Two SNP associated with FAE degradation and synthesis were studied. Post-treatment results showed overall that plasma FAE levels were modulated by dietary FA and were positively correlated with corresponding plasma FA levels; minor allele (A) carriers of SNP rs324420 in gene fatty acid amide hydrolase produced higher circulating oleoylethanolamide (OEA) (P=0·0209) and docosahexaenoylethanolamide (DHEA) levels (P=0·0002). In addition, elevated plasma DHEA levels in response to DHA intake tended to be associated with lower plasma OEA levels and an increased gynoid fat mass. In summary, data suggest that the metabolic and physiological responses to dietary FA may be influenced via circulating FAE. Genetic analysis of rs324420 might help identify a sub-population that appears to benefit from increased consumption of DHA and oleic acid.
We conducted a time-series analysis to evaluate the impact of the ASP over a 6.25-year period (July 1, 2008–September 30, 2014) while controlling for trends during a 3-year preintervention period (July 1, 2005–June 30, 2008). The primary outcome measures were total antibacterial and antipseudomonal use in days of therapy (DOT) per 1,000 patient-days (PD). Secondary outcomes included antimicrobial costs and resistance, hospital-onset Clostridium difficile infection, and other patient-centered measures.
During the preintervention period, total antibacterial and antipseudomonal use were declining (−9.2 and −5.5 DOT/1,000 PD per quarter, respectively). During the stewardship period, both continued to decline, although at lower rates (−3.7 and −2.2 DOT/1,000 PD, respectively), resulting in a slope change of 5.5 DOT/1,000 PD per quarter for total antibacterial use (P=.10) and 3.3 DOT/1,000 PD per quarter for antipseudomonal use (P=.01). Antibiotic expenditures declined markedly during the stewardship period (−$295.42/1,000 PD per quarter, P=.002). There were variable changes in antimicrobial resistance and few apparent changes in C. difficile infection and other patient-centered outcomes.
In a hospital with low baseline antibiotic use, implementation of an ASP was associated with sustained reductions in total antibacterial and antipseudomonal use and declining antibiotic expenditures. Common ASP outcome measures have limitations.
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
Consumption of almonds has been shown to be associated with a decreased risk of CHD, which may be related to their fatty acid (FA) composition. However, the effect of almond consumption on the serum FA composition is not known. Therefore, in the present study, we investigated whether almond consumption would alter the serum FA profile and risk of CHD, as calculated using Framingham's 10-year risk score, in a dose-dependent manner in hyperlipidaemic individuals when compared with a higher-carbohydrate control group using dietary interventions incorporating almonds. A total of twenty-seven hyperlipidaemic individuals consumed three isoenergetic (mean 1770 kJ/d) supplements during three 1-month dietary phases: (1) full-dose almonds (50–100 g/d); (2) half-dose almonds with half-dose muffins; (3) full-dose muffins. Fasting blood samples were obtained at weeks 0 and 4 for the determination of FA concentrations. Almond intake (g/d) was found to be inversely associated with the estimated Framingham 10-year CHD risk score (P= 0·026). In both the half-dose and full-dose almond groups, the proportions of oleic acid (OA) and MUFA in the TAG fraction (half-almond: OA P= 0·003; MUFA P= 0·004; full-almond: OA P< 0·001; MUFA P< 0·001) and in the NEFA fraction (half-almond: OA P= 0·01; MUFA P= 0·04; full-almond: OA P= 0·12; MUFA P= 0·06) increased. The estimated Framingham 10-year CHD risk score was inversely associated with the percentage change of OA (P= 0·011) and MUFA (P= 0·016) content in the TAG fraction. The proportions of MUFA in the TAG and NEFA fractions were positively associated with changes in HDL-cholesterol concentrations. Similarly, the estimated Framingham 10-year CHD risk score was inversely associated with the percentage change of OA (P= 0·069) and MUFA content in the NEFA fraction (P= 0·009). In conclusion, the results of the present study indicate that almond consumption increases OA and MUFA content in serum TAG and NEFA fractions, which are inversely associated with CHD lipid risk factors and overall estimated 10-year CHD risk.