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Background:Clostridioides difficile is a leading cause of nosocomial infectious diarrhea in developed countries, and it has a significant economic impact throughout the world. Early detection of the pathogen and its toxins is critical because early treatment significantly reduces infection-related morbidity, mortality, and medical cost. Surveillance of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) is conducted using the NHSN standardized infection ratio (SIR). This metric allows comparison of a facility’s observed infection rate to a national benchmark. The SIR can be elevated due to both a lack of institutional criteria for stool submission and the use of highly sensitive but poorly specific testing as a standalone test for diagnosis. The SIR can be artificially elevated by inclusion of C difficile carriers rather than infected patients due to inappropriate testing and overly sensitive methods. We aimed to determine the impact of an institutional nursing-driven protocol for stool submission as well as 2-step testing on the SIR. Methods: Starting from the fourth quarter of 2018, we instituted a nursing protocol for initiation of C. difficile testing. If the patient had ≥3 soft, loose, or liquid stools in 24 hours within the first 3 days of admission, they were placed on contact precautions and an unformed stool sample was submitted for C. difficile nucleic acid amplification testing (NAAT). A positive result prompted further evaluation with a stool enzyme immunoassay toxin test for confirmation of active infection. From hospital day 4 onward, stricter criteria were implemented for testing for C. difficile infection. Data were extrapolated for calculation of a quarterly SIR. This value was then compared to retrospective SIR data from the first quarter of 2016 to the third quarter of 2018. Results: The quarterly total of hospital-onset C. difficile infections from the first quarter of 2016 to the third quarter of 2018 ranged from 24 to 39 incidents per quarter. After implementing the nursing-driven protocol and 2-step testing, the quarterly total of hospital onset C. difficile infections decreased to 5–6 per quarter. The SIR prior to initiation ranged from 0.66 to 1.37 and decreased to 0.306–0.386 after the nursing-driven protocol and 2-step testing were implemented. Conclusions: Implementation of both an institutional nursing-driven protocol for stool submission and a 2-step testing protocol reduced the number of quarterly hospital-onset C. difficile events as well as our facility’s quarterly SIR to below the national standard.
SHEA endorses adhering to the recommendations by the CDC and ACIP for immunizations of all children and adults. All persons providing clinical care should be familiar with these recommendations and should routinely assess immunization compliance of their patients and strongly recommend all routine immunizations to patients. All healthcare personnel (HCP) should be immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases as recommended by the CDC/ACIP (unless immunity is demonstrated by another recommended method). SHEA endorses the policy that immunization should be a condition of employment or functioning (students, contract workers, volunteers, etc) at a healthcare facility. Only recognized medical contraindications should be accepted for not receiving recommended immunizations.
The experiments reported in this research paper aimed to investigate differences in the levels of chlorate (CHLO), perchlorate (PCHLO), trichloromethane (TCM) and iodine residues in bulk tank (BT) milk produced at different milk production periods, and to monitor those levels throughout a skim milk powder (SMP) production chain (BTs, collection tankers [CTs], whole milk silo [WMS] and skim milk silo [SMS]). Chlorate, PCHLO and iodine were measured in SMP, while TCM was measured in the milk cream. The CHLO, TCM and iodine levels in the mid-lactation milk stored in the WMS were lower than legislative and industrial specifications (0.0100 mg/kg, 0.0015 mg/kg and 150 µg/l, respectively). However, in late-lactation, these levels were numerically higher than the mid-lactation levels and specifications. Trichloromethane accumulated in the cream portion after separation. Perchlorate was not detected in any of the samples. Regarding iodine, the levels in mid-lactation reconstituted SMP were higher than that required by manufacturers (100 µg/l), indicating that the levels in milk should be lower than 142 µg/l. The higher residue levels observed in late-lactation could be related to the low milk volume produced during that period and changes in sanitation practices, while changes in feed management could have affected iodine levels. This study could assist in controlling and setting limits for CHLO, TCM and iodine levels in milk, ensuring premium quality dairy products.
The experiments reported in this research paper aimed to track the microbiological load of milk throughout a low-heat skim milk powder (SMP) manufacturing process, from farm bulk tanks to final powder, during mid- and late-lactation (spring and winter, respectively). In the milk powder processing plant studied, low-heat SMP was produced using only the milk supplied by the farms involved in this study. Samples of milk were collected from farm bulk tanks (mid-lactation: 67 farms; late-lactation: 150 farms), collection tankers (CTs), whole milk silo (WMS), skim milk silo (SMS), cream silo (CS) and final SMP. During mid-lactation, the raw milk produced on-farm and transported by the CTs had better microbiological quality than the late-lactation raw milk (e.g., total bacterial count (TBC): 3.60 ± 0.55 and 4.37 ± 0.62 log 10 cfu/ml, respectively). After pasteurisation, reductions in TBC, psychrotrophic (PBC) and proteolytic (PROT) bacterial counts were of lower magnitude in late-lactation than in mid-lactation milk, while thermoduric (LPC—laboratory pasteurisation count) and thermophilic (THERM) bacterial counts were not reduced in both periods. The microbiological quality of the SMP produced was better when using mid-lactation than late-lactation milk (e.g., TBC: 2.36 ± 0.09 and 3.55 ± 0.13 cfu/g, respectively), as mid-lactation raw milk had better quality than late-lactation milk. The bacterial counts of some CTs and of the WMS samples were higher than the upper confidence limit predicted using the bacterial counts measured in the farm milk samples, indicating that the transport conditions or cleaning protocols could have influenced the microbiological load. Therefore, during the different production seasons, appropriate cow management and hygiene practices (on-farm and within the factory) are necessary to control the numbers of different bacterial groups in milk, as those can influence the effectiveness of thermal treatments and consequently affect final product quality.
This Review describes the objectives and methodology of the DairyWater project as it aims to aid the Irish dairy processing industry in achieving sustainability as it expands. With the abolition of European milk quotas in March 2015, the Republic of Ireland saw a surge in milk production. The DairyWater project was established in anticipation of this expansion of the Irish dairy sector in order to develop innovative solutions for the efficient management of water consumption, wastewater treatment and the resulting energy use within the country's dairy processing industry. Therefore, the project can be divided into three main thematic areas: dairy wastewater treatment technologies and microbial analysis, water re-use and rainwater harvesting and environmental assessment. In order to ensure the project remains as relevant as possible to the industry, a project advisory board containing key industry stakeholders has been established. To date, a number of large scale studies, using data obtained directly from the Irish dairy industry, have been performed. Additionally, pilot-scale wastewater treatment (intermittently aerated sequencing batch reactor) and tertiary treatment (flow-through pulsed ultraviolet system) technologies have been demonstrated within the project. Further details on selected aspects of the project are discussed in greater detail in the subsequent cluster of research communications.
The study investigated the seasonal changes in the compositional, physicochemical and processing characteristics of milk from a mixed-herd of spring- and autumn-calving cows during the year 2014–2015. The volume proportion of autumn-calving milk (% of total milk) varied with season, from ~10–20 in Spring (March–May), 5–13 in Summer (June–August), 20–40 in Autumn (September–November) and 50–100 in Winter (December–February). While all characteristics varied somewhat from month to month, variation was inconsistent, showing no significant trend with progression of time (year). Consequently, season did not significantly affect many parameters including concentrations of total protein, casein, whey protein, NPN, total calcium, pH, rennet gelation properties or heat stability characteristics. However, season had a significant effect on the concentrations of total P and serum P, levels of αs1- and β-caseins as proportions of total casein, casein micelle size, zeta potential and ethanol stability. The absence of a significant effect of season for most compositional parameters, rennet gelation and heat-stability characteristics suggest that milk from a mixed-herd of spring- and autumn-calving cows is suitable for the manufacture of cheese and milk powder on a year-round basis, when the volume proportion of autumn milk, as a % of total, is similar to that of the current study.
The macular carotenoids lutein (L), zeaxanthin (Z) and meso-zeaxanthin (MZ) accumulate at the macula, where they are collectively referred to as macular pigment (MP). Augmentation of this pigment, typically achieved through diet and supplementation, enhances visual function and protects against progression of age-related macular degeneration. However, it is known that eggs are a rich dietary source of L and Z, in a highly bioavailable matrix. In this single-blind placebo-controlled study, L- and MZ-enriched eggs and control non-enriched eggs were fed to human subjects (mean age 41 and 35 years, respectively) over an 8-week period, and outcome measures included MP, visual function and serum concentrations of carotenoids and cholesterol. Serum carotenoid concentrations increased significantly in control and enriched egg groups, but to a significantly greater extent in the enriched egg group (P<0·001 for L, Z and MZ). There was no significant increase in MP in either study group post intervention, and we saw no significant improvement in visual performance in either group. Total cholesterol increased significantly in each group, but it did not exceed the upper limit of the normative range (6·5 mmol/l). Therefore, carotenoid-enriched eggs may represent an effective dietary source of L, Z and MZ, reflected in significantly raised serum concentrations of these carotenoids, and consequentially improved bioavailability for capture by target tissues. However, benefits in terms of MP augmentation and /or improved visual performance were not realised over the 8-week study period, and a study of greater duration will be required to address these questions.
There are multiple recent reports of an association between anxious/depressed (A/D) symptomatology and the rate of cerebral cortical thickness maturation in typically developing youths. We investigated the degree to which anxious/depressed symptoms are tied to age-related microstructural changes in cerebral fiber pathways. The participants were part of the NIH MRI Study of Normal Brain Development. Child Behavior Checklist A/D scores and diffusion imaging were available for 175 youths (84 males, 91 females; 241 magnetic resonance imagings) at up to three visits. The participants ranged from 5.7 to 18.4 years of age at the time of the scan. Alignment of fractional anisotropy data was implemented using FSL/Tract-Based Spatial Statistics, and linear mixed model regression was carried out using SPSS. Child Behavior Checklist A/D was associated with the rate of microstructural development in several white matter pathways, including the bilateral anterior thalamic radiation, bilateral inferior longitudinal fasciculus, left superior longitudinal fasciculus, and right cingulum. Across these pathways, greater age-related fractional anisotropy increases were observed at lower levels of A/D. The results suggest that subclinical A/D symptoms are associated with the rate of microstructural development within several white matter pathways that have been implicated in affect regulation, as well as mood and anxiety psychopathology.
Glyphosate-resistant (GR) weeds are most challenging for growers to control in cotton in the midsouth region of the United States. As a result, growers in these states are transitioning from a glyphosate-based system to a glufosinate-based system. A field study was conducted in 2010 and 2011 in Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee to determine the effect of repeated glufosinate applications to WideStrike cotton applied at various application timings. One to three glufosinate applications at 594 g ai ha−1 were applied to cotton at the two-leaf, seven-leaf, bloom, or 2 wk after bloom stages. Visual estimates of crop injury were evaluated after each application, in addition to crop height, development, and yield. Crop injury after each glufosinate application typically ranged from 3 to 11%, with higher injury observed where multiple glufosinate applications were made. Crop height differences were noted after the bloom and 2 wk after bloom applications. Treatments that had one, two, or three glufosinate applications had reduced crop height when compared with the weed-free control. Node above cracked boll ratings also indicated that glufosinate treatments may have stressed the cotton. Ultimately, yield was reduced where three glufosinate treatments were applied to WideStrike cotton. In addition, one glufosinate application at the bloom stage or two glufosinate applications at the bloom and 2 wk after bloom stages reduced yield when compared with the weed-free control. Although it is a legal application, growers should use caution when applying glufosinate to WideStrike cotton because the manufacturer of glufosinate and the manufacturer of WideStrike cotton do not recommend this application. However, where GR Palmer amaranth is present, these applications may be necessary.
Glyphosate-resistant (GR) weeds, especially GR Palmer amaranth, are very problematic for cotton growers in the Southeast and Midsouth regions of the United States. Glufosinate can control GR Palmer amaranth, and growers are transitioning to glufosinate-based systems. Palmer amaranth must be small for consistently effective control by glufosinate. Because this weed grows rapidly, growers are not always timely with applications. With widespread resistance to acetolactate synthase-inhibiting herbicides, growers have few herbicide options to mix with glufosinate to improve control of larger weeds. In a field study using a WideStrike® cotton cultivar, we evaluated fluometuron at 140 to 1,120 g ai ha−1 mixed with the ammonium salt of glufosinate at 485 g ae ha−1 for control of GR Palmer amaranth 13 and 26 cm tall. Standard PRE- and POST-directed herbicides were included in the systems. Glufosinate alone injured the WideStrike® cotton less than 10%. Fluometuron increased injury up to 25% but did not adversely affect yield. Glufosinate controlled 13-cm Palmer amaranth at least 90%, and there was no improvement in weed control nor a cotton yield response to fluometuron mixed with glufosinate. Palmer amaranth 26 cm tall was controlled only 59% by glufosinate. Fluometuron mixed with glufosinate increased control of the larger weeds up to 28% and there was a trend for greater yields. However, delaying applications until weeds were 26 cm reduced yield 22% relative to timely application. Our results suggest fluometuron mixed with glufosinate may be of some benefit when attempting to control large Palmer amaranth. However, mixing fluometuron with glufosinate is not a substitute for a timely glufosinate application.
The arousal system involves multiple distributed neural networks working in harmony to permit normal sleep-wake cycles, satisfy internal drive states, and respond to environmental demands. Disorders of arousal involve pathology of the brainstem, thalamus, or widespread areas of both cerebral hemispheres. A parallel series of distinct neural networks using dopamine, histamine, serotonin, acetylcholine, and norepinephrine as neurotransmitters originates in the brainstem. Brain death represents the most severe disturbance of arousal, with total and irreversible cessation of any brain function. Coma is the state of neurological unconsciousness exhibited by unarousable unawareness of the external environment that is due to extensive damage to or depressed function of both cerebral hemispheres, bilateral diencephalic structures, or the ascending reticular activating system. A specific rehabilitative strategy is coma stimulation, in which structured sensory stimulation is administered for the purposes of improving sensory awareness and facilitating improvements in arousal and awareness.