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Salmonella is a leading cause of bacterial foodborne illness. We report the collaborative investigative efforts of US and Canadian public health officials during the 2013–2014 international outbreak of multiple Salmonella serotype infections linked to sprouted chia seed powder. The investigation included open-ended interviews of ill persons, traceback, product testing, facility inspections, and trace forward. Ninety-four persons infected with outbreak strains from 16 states and four provinces were identified; 21% were hospitalized and none died. Fifty-four (96%) of 56 persons who consumed chia seed powder, reported 13 different brands that traced back to a single Canadian firm, distributed by four US and eight Canadian companies. Laboratory testing yielded outbreak strains from leftover and intact product. Contaminated product was recalled. Although chia seed powder is a novel outbreak vehicle, sprouted seeds are recognized as an important cause of foodborne illness; firms should follow available guidance to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination during sprouting.
The International Astronomical Union's Commission 51 was established in 1982 as\break “Bioastronomy: Search for Extraterrestrial Life”. As the interests of Commission members expanded to include all aspects of the study of the origin, evolution, and distribution of life in the universe, C51 was renamed simply “Bioastronomy” in 2006. Thus, the term “bioastronomy” became for the Commission essentially synonymous with the NASA-coined term “astrobiology“. Since the latter term has been adopted by many scientific societies around the world with similar interests, under the new Division and Commission structure of the IAU the Commission has been again renamed and is now Commission F-3 “Astrobiology”.
The 2013 multistate outbreaks contributed to the largest annual number of reported US cases of cyclosporiasis since 1997. In this paper we focus on investigations in Texas. We defined an outbreak-associated case as laboratory-confirmed cyclosporiasis in a person with illness onset between 1 June and 31 August 2013, with no history of international travel in the previous 14 days. Epidemiological, environmental, and traceback investigations were conducted. Of the 631 cases reported in the multistate outbreaks, Texas reported the greatest number of cases, 270 (43%). More than 70 clusters were identified in Texas, four of which were further investigated. One restaurant-associated cluster of 25 case-patients was selected for a case-control study. Consumption of cilantro was most strongly associated with illness on meal date-matched analysis (matched odds ratio 19·8, 95% confidence interval 4·0–∞). All case-patients in the other three clusters investigated also ate cilantro. Traceback investigations converged on three suppliers in Puebla, Mexico. Cilantro was the vehicle of infection in the four clusters investigated; the temporal association of these clusters with the large overall increase in cyclosporiasis cases in Texas suggests cilantro was the vehicle of infection for many other cases. However, the paucity of epidemiological and traceback information does not allow for a conclusive determination; moreover, molecular epidemiological tools for cyclosporiasis that could provide more definitive linkage between case clusters are needed.
Division III, with 1126 members, is the third largest of the 12 IAU Divisions, focusing on subject matter related to the physical study of interplanetary dust, comets, minor planets, satellites, planets, planetary systems and astrobiology. Within the Division are very active working groups that are responsible for planetary system and small body nomenclature, as well as a newly created working group on Near Earth Objects which was established order to investigate the requirements for international ground-and/or space-based NEO surveys to characterize 90% of all NEOs with diameters >40m in order to establish a permanent international NEO Early Warning System.
Astrobiology, also known as bioastronomy or exobiology, is the study of the origin, evolution and distribution of life in the Universe. These are subjects which have been of interest to mankind throughout recorded history. Although questions of origins have most frequently invoked divine beings, non-supernatural speculation on these fundamental issues dates back at least to the Ionian school of pre-Socratic Greek philosophers. Anaximander, the successor to Thales, is reported as saying that all living creatures arose from the moist element (water) through the action of the Sun (Freeman, 1966), a prescient insight given current ideas that life as we know it requires water, that radiation acting on inorganic matter can produce the molecular components of life (amino acids, nucleic acids, etc.) and that the Sun is the ultimate energy source for almost all life on Earth. In fact, Anaximander seems to have gone further and suggested that human beings arose from fish-like creatures (presumably a natural result of life having originated in water).
Speculation about life beyond the Earth has also had a long tradition. Although Pythagoras himself is not known to have recorded his teachings, his school (in particular, Philolaus, ca. 400 BCE) is said to have written that the Moon appears Earth-like because it is inhabited with animals and plants (Dreyer, 1953). At roughly the same time the atomist school of Leucippus and Democritus taught that the Universe is infinite and contains innumerable worlds.
Commission 51 met on August 12, 2009. Outgoing President Alan Boss chaired the meeting, and there were several dozen members present, including incoming President William Irvine, incoming Vice President Pascale Ehrenfreund, and outgoing Past President Karen Meech. Commission 51 (C51) was re-authorized for a term of six more years at the 2006 Prague General Assembly of the IAU, and hence comes up for renewal at the 2012 IAU General Assembly in Beijing, China.
We report the first studies of electroabsorption in Cu(InGa)Se2 (CIGS) solar cell devices. We utilized a bifacial CIGS device with a Ga/(In+Ga) ratio of 0.8 (bandgap of 1.5 eV) deposited onto semi-transparent (40 nm thick) Mo coated glass as the back contact. By modulating the electric field using a small sinusoidal potential of amplitude δV across the CIGS layer, we were able to detect the modulation ΔT of the transmitted light. This was examined as a function of photon energy, DC bias, temperature, and modulation frequency (100 Hz to 10 kHz) and had a maximum amplitude of ΔT/T ≈ 10−5 for δV = 0.3 V. Very different characteristics were obtained for near bandgap light (1.3 eV) compared to photon energies considerable smaller (<0.95 eV). While the latter exhibited a strong temperature and frequency dependence, indicating an important role for deep defects in the effect, the former exhibited very little change with temperature or frequency, indicating the predominance of transitions involving bandtail states. Different metastable states of the CIGS layer produced by prolonged light soaking above the bandgap energy were also examined.
A variety of junction capacitance-based characterization methods were used to investigate alloys of Ag into Cu(In1-xGax)Se2 photovoltaic solar cells over a broad range of compositions. Alloys show encouraging trends of increasing VOC with increasing Ag content, opening the possibility of wide-gap cells for use in tandem device applications. Drive level capacitance profiling (DLCP) has shown very low free carrier concentrations for all Ag-alloyed devices, in some cases less than 1014 cm−3, which is roughly an order of magnitude lower than that of CIGS devices. Transient photocapacitance spectroscopy has revealed very steep Urbach edges, with energies between 10 meV and 20 meV, in the Ag-alloyed samples. This is in general lower than the Urbach edges measured for standard CIGS samples and suggests a significantly lower degree of structural disorder.
Bioastronomy: Search for Extraterrestrial Life was established as Commission 51 of the IAU in 1982. The objectives of the commission included: the search for planets around other stars; the search for radio transmissions, intentional or unintentional, of extraterrestrial origin; the search for biologically relevant interstellar molecules and the study of their formation processes; detection methods for potential spectroscopic evidence of biological activity; the coordination of efforts in all these areas at the international level and the establishment of collaborative programs with other international scientific societies with related interests. In 2006, Commission 51 was renamed simply Bioastronomy at the IAU General Assembly in Prague, and approved for the next six years, the default extension for an IAU Commission.
In order to prepare for pandemics, it is important to assess the likelihood that hospital personnel would report to work and to identify the issues that may affect this decision.
To survey hospital personnel regarding their attendance at work in the hypothetical event of avian influenza pandemic, and what factors might influence this decision. Methods: A voluntary, confidential, institutional review board-approved survey was offered to a convenience sample of hospital workers regarding their willingness to report to work and what issues would be important in making this decision. Surveys not returned and individuals declining to participate were recorded.
Of 187 surveys offered, 169 were completed (90% response rate): 34% were doctors, 33% were nurses, and 33% were clerical and other associates (other). The average age of the participants was 38 years, and 32% were males. Participants were asked: “In the event of an avian pandemic, and patients were being treated at this hospital, would you report to work as usual?”. Of those who responded to the survey, 50% reported “yes”, 42% reported “maybe”, and 8% reported “no”. Doctors were more likely than nurses or others to respond “yes” (73%), as were males (66%). For the “maybe” responders, the most important factor (83%) was: “How confident I am that the hospital can protect me”. For 19% of the “maybe” responders, financial incentives would not make a difference for them to work, even up to triple pay.
Personnel absenteeism during a pandemic due to fear of contracting an illness may result in a significant personnel shortage. Ensuring worker confidence in adequate personal protection may be more important than financial incentives.
Three-millimeter-wavelength spectra of a number of nearby galaxies have been obtained at the Five College Radio Astronomy Observatory (FCRAO) using a new, very broadband receiver. This instrument, which we call the Redshift Search Receiver, has an instantaneous bandwidth of 36 GHz and operates from 74 to 110.5 GHz. The receiver has been built at UMass/FCRAO to be part of the initial instrumentation for the Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT) and is intended primarily for determination of the redshift of distant, dust-obscured galaxies. It is being tested on the FCRAO 14 m by measuring the 3 mm spectra of a number of nearby galaxies. There are interesting differences in the chemistry of these galaxies.
Gynecologic malignancies account for approximately 15% of all new female cancers diagnosed in the US each year. Based upon US population estimates, 80 000 women were diagnosed with gynecologic cancers in 1998. In that same year, an estimated 27 000 women died as a result of these cancers. Worldwide, cervical cancer represents the second leading cause of cancer-related death among women, second only to breast cancer. In certain developing countries of the world, cervical cancer is the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age.
In the US, endometrial cancer is the most common invasive neoplasm of the female genital tract. It is estimated that 36 000 new cases of endometrial cancer will be diagnosed this year, and that approximately 6000 women will die from their disease.
Endometrial cancer is predominantly a disorder of older women, with 75% of all cases arising in the postmenopausal age group (Table 28.1). The average age at diagnosis is 58 years. Only 2–5% of all cases of endometrial cancer are diagnosed in women less than 40 years of age.
Endometrial cancer arises as a result of unopposed estrogenic stimulation of the endometrial lining. A number of constitutional factors have been identified in women who develop endometrial cancer. These include obesity, nulliparity, early menarche, late menopause, diabetes, hypertension, gallbladder disease, unopposed exogenous estrogen therapy, and prior history of pelvic irradiation (Table 28.2). Protective factors that mitigate against the development of endometrial cancer include the use of combination oral contraceptives.
A number of Sn/C composites were prepared for evaluation as anode materials for Li-ion cells. In one case, samples were prepared by incorporation of Sn species into organic precursors that were then pyrolyzed under an Ar/H2 cover gas to prepare the Sn/C composites. They were also prepared by decoration of various types of carbon with nanoparticles of Sn by electroless deposition using hydrazine. The carbons examined included a disordered carbon prepared in house from poly(methacrylonitrile), a mesocarbon microbead (MCMB) carbon, and a platelet graphite. The Sn/C composites were examined by x-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and were also analyzed for Sn content. They were then tested as anodes in three-electrode cells against Li metal using 1M LiPF6 in ethylene carbonate (EC)/dimethyl carbonate (DMC) solution. The best overall electrochemical performance was obtained with a Sn/C composite made by electroless deposition of 10% Sn onto platelet graphite.
The field of Molecular Astrophysics or “Astrochemistry” has grown considerably since its inception in the late 1930’s. Molecules have been observed in astronomical environments as diverse as comets in the solar system and galaxies at the highest redshifts. The common thread in these studies is that molecules are excellent probes of the physical structure and dynamics of such regions, owing to the complexity of their energy level structure and the resulting emission and absorption spectra. In addition, the chemical characteristics provide a powerful tool to study the evolution of astrophysical regions. Molecules also play an active role in the energy balance of clouds. Interstellar space is a unique laboratory in which chemical processes can occur that are not normally found on Earth. Indeed, astrochemistry is a highly interdisciplinary subject, linking the macrocosm (galaxies, stars, planets) with the microcosm (basic chemical processes and spectroscopy). The increased potential of ground- and space-based observational facilities over the full wavelength range provides a wealth of information about the physical environments in which molecules occur and makes it possible to study the development of molecular complexity throughout the Universe.
Our knowledge of the volatile composition of comets has advanced considerably since the last IAU Astrochemistry Symposium, in large part due to the apparition of comet Hale-Bopp and its study with both new ground-based instruments and from spacecraft. Some 23 or 24 coma molecules are now known which are probably, at least in part, volatile constituents of the nucleus. Relative abundances have been measured for rarer isotopomers of molecules containing 13C, 15N, 34S, and D, and significant isotopic fractionation is observed for D-containing species. There are striking similarities in both relative abundances of molecular constituents and in isotopic fractionation between material in dense interstellar clouds and that in cometary comae. Whether this indicates that cometary nuclei consist of relatively unprocessed interstellar matter is less clear, since the observed coma composition is not simply related to the nuclear composition, and since recent chemical models of the outer solar nebula mimic interstellar chemistry in important respects.
Kirtland's Warbler Dendroica kirtlandii breeds in young jack pine Pinus banksiana forests on sandy soils in Michigan's lower peninsula, where there were 502 censused singing males in 1951 and 167 in 1974 and 1987. An ongoing control programme for the Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater, a nest parasite, resulted in immediate and continued improvement in warbler reproductive success which was not, however, matched by an increase in warbler numbers until the 1990s. From three 1,000 ha reserves in the 1960s, currently over 54,000 ha are managed for the warbler. Despite the establishment of managed plantations, over 70% of warblers censused in the past 15 years have occupied habitat created by wildfires. Optimal habitat consists of more than 5,000 trees per hectare in a mosaic of dense patches interspersed with small openings. Nearly 70% of adult and 30% of juvenile warblers departing for the Bahamian wintering grounds return each spring, and the Michigan singing male population increased from 212 (1989) to 397 (1992) as abundant habitat, resulting from a 1980 wildfire, became available at Mack Lake. This suggests that lack of optimal habitat in Michigan has been the species's major problem.
A measure of the electron mobility anisotropy in n-type 4H and 6H-SiC has been obtained using the Hall effect over the temperature range 80K<T<600K. Hall mobility and resistivity data are collected from appropriately oriented bar patterns fabricated into high quality epitaxial material grown on (1100) or (1120)surfaces having total impurity concentrations 1017-1018 cm-3. The observed mobility ratio for 4H is μ/ and is independent of temperature. For 6H, the ratio μ/ decreases from ∼6.2 at 80K to ∼5.0 at 150K and is essentially constant (∼4.8) above 200K. A donor level near 0.6 eV is occasionally observed in 4H which reduces the high temperature electron mobility and introduces an apparent temperature dependence to the mobility ratio if nonuniformly distributed.
Gas phase models of ion molecule chemistry have been rather successful in matching the observed abundances of small interstellar molecules containing carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. However, the situation is somewhat less clear for nitrogen-containing species, partly because the important initiating reaction N+ + H2 is slightly endothermic; and for sulfur-containing molecules, where it remains uncertain whether it is necessary to invoke surface reactions on grains to match the observed abundances. As a relatively simple species, the abundance of nitrogen sulfide should provide a good test of the models of the coupled chemistry of nitrogen and sulfur. Until very recently only two molecules containing both these elements were known in the interstellar medium, NS and HNCS, and both have been observed only in Sgr B2. We have therefore undertaken a survey for interstellar NS in Galactic molecular clouds using the FCRAO 14-meter telescope. The 2Π1/2, J = 5/2 → 3/2, transition has in fact been detected in many regions of massive star formation (see table).