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The rapid spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) required swift preparation to protect healthcare personnel (HCP) and patients, especially in light of personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages. Due to a lack of a pre-existing bio-containment unit, we needed to develop a novel approach to cohort patients while working with the pre-existing physical space.
Prevent disease transmission to non-COVID-19 patients and HCP caring for COVID-19 patients, optimize PPE usage, and provide a comfortable and safe working environment.
An interdisciplinary workgroup developed a combination of approaches to convert existing spaces into COVID-19 containment units with high-risk zones (HRZs). We developed standard workflow and visual management in conjunction with updated staff training and workflows. Infection Prevention created PPE standard practices for ease of use, conservation, and staff safety.
The interventions resulted in one possible case of patient-to-HCP transmission and zero cases of patient-to-patient transmission. PPE usage decreased with the HRZ model while maintaining a safe environment of care. COVID-19 unit staff were extremely satisfied with PPE availability (76.7%) and efforts to protect them from COVID-19 (72.7%). Approximately half of COVID-19 unit HCP agreed (54.8%) that PPE monitors played an essential role in staff safety.
The HRZ model of containment unit is an effective method to prevent the spread of COVID-19 with several benefits. It is easily implemented and scaled to account for census changes. Our experience suggests that other institutions do not need to modify existing physical structures to create similarly protective spaces.
After implementing a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection prevention bundle, the incidence rate ratio (IRR) of non–severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (non–SARS-CoV-2) hospital-acquired respiratory viral infection (HA-RVI) was significantly lower than the IRR from the pre–COVID-19 period (IRR, 0.322; 95% CI, 0.266–0.393; P < .01). However, HA-RVIs incidence rates mirrored community RVI trends, suggesting that hospital interventions alone did not significantly affect HA-RVI incidence.
Background: SARS-CoV-2 N95 mask contamination in healthcare providers (HCPs) treating patients with COVID-19 is poorly understood. Method: We performed a prospective observational study of HCP N95 respirator SARS-CoV-2 contamination during aerosol-generating procedures (AGPs) on SARS-CoV-2–positive patients housed in a COVID-19–specific unit at an academic medical center. Medical masks were used as surrogates for N95 respirators to avoid waste and were worn on top of HCP N95 respirators during study AGPs. Study masks were provided to HCPs while donning PPE and were retrieved during doffing. Additionally, during doffing, face shields were swabbed with Floq swabs premoistened with viral transport media (VTM) prior to disinfection. Medical masks were cut into 9 position-based pieces, placed in VTM, vortexed, and centrifuged (Fig. 1). RNA extraction and RT-PCR were completed on all samples. RT-PCR–positive samples underwent cell culture infection to detect cytopathic effects (CPE). Contamination was characterized by mask location and front and back of face shields. Patient COVID-19 symptoms were collected from routine clinical documentation. Study HCPs completed HCP-role–specific routine care (eg, assessing, administering medications, and maintaining oxygen supplementation) while in patient rooms and were observed by study team members. Results: We enrolled 31 HCPs between September and December 2021. HCP and patient characteristics are presented in Table 1. In total, 330 individual samples were obtained from 31 masks and 26 face shields among 12 patient rooms. Of the 330 samples, 0 samples were positive for SARS-CoV-2 via RT-PCR. Positive controls were successfully performed in the laboratory setting to confirm that the virus was recoverable using these methods. Notably, all samples were collected from HCPs caring for COVID-19 patients on high-flow, high-humidity Optiflow (AGP), with an average of 960 seconds (IQR, 525–1,680) spent in each room. In addition to Optiflow and routine care, study speech pathologists completed an additional AGP of fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing. Notably, 29 (94%) of 31 study HCP had physical contact with their patient. Conclusions: Overall, mask contamination in HCPs treating patients with COVID-19 undergoing AGPs was not detectable while wearing face shields, despite patient contact and performing AGP.
Background: Working while ill, or presenteeism, has been documented at substantial levels among healthcare personnel (HCP) along with its consequences for both patient and HCP safety. Limited literature has been published on HCP presenteeism during the COVID-19 pandemic, and specific motivations for this behavior are not well described. Understanding both individual and systemic factors that contribute to presenteeism is key to reducing respiratory illness transmission in the healthcare setting. We characterized the frequency of and motivations for presenteeism in the workforce of a large academic medical center during the COVID-19 pandemic. Method: We deployed a voluntary, anonymous electronic survey to HCP at University of North Carolina (UNC) Medical Center in December 2021, which was approved by the UNC Institutional Review Board. We received 591 responses recruited through employee newsletters. Respondents recounted their frequency of presenteeism since March 2020, defined as coming to work feeling feverish plus cough and/or sore throat. In total, 24.6% reported presenteeism at least once, with 8.1% reporting twice and 5.3% 3 or more times. Asking more generally about any symptoms while working, the following were most common: headache (26%), sinus congestion (20%), sore throat (13%), cough (13%), and muscle aches (9.3%). Results: Motivations for presenteeism fell broadly into 4 categories: (1) perception of low risk for COVID-19 infection, (2) concerns about workplace culture and operations, (3) issues with sick leave, and (4) concerns about employment record and status. Among HCP reporting at least 1 instance, the most common motivations for presenteeism included feeling low risk for COVID-19 infection due to mild symptoms (59.9%), being vaccinated (50.6%), avoiding increasing colleagues’ workload (48.3%), avoiding employment record impact (39.6%), and saving sick days for other purposes (37.9%). Asked to identify a primary motivation, 40.3% reported feeling low risk for COVID-19 infection due to mild symptoms or vaccination, 21.2% reported a workplace culture issue (ie, increasing colleague workload, perception of weakness, responsibility for patients), 20.6% reported sick leave availability and use (including difficulty finding coverage) and 17.8% reported employment record ramifications including termination. Conclusions: This survey coincided with 2the onset of the SARS-CoV-2 ο (omicron) variant locally, and as such, risk perceptions and motivations for presenteeism may have changed. Responses were self-reported and generalizability is limited. Still, these results highlight the importance of risk messaging and demonstrate the many factors to be considered as potential presenteeism motivators. Mitigating these drivers is particularly critical during high-risk times such as pandemics or seasonal peaks of respiratory illness.
Diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (Linnaeus) (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae), a globally important pest of Brassicaceae crops, migrates into all provinces of Canada annually. Life tables were used to determine the mortality levels contributed by the parasitoid complexes associated with diamondback moth in British Columbia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and insular Newfoundland. Overall, diamondback moth populations showed high generational mortality (> 90%) in all provinces, although parasitism levels were generally low. The net reproductive rate of increase in diamondback moth was less than 1.0 (populations declined) in both years in British Columbia and in each of two years in Newfoundland and Ontario, but it was greater than 1.0 in all three years in Prince Edward Island. Lower parasitism levels were found in Prince Edward Island (3.0–6.3%) compared with other provinces (8.4–17.6%, except one year in British Columbia). Diadegma insulare was the main larval parasitoid found; it was present in all provinces. Microplitis plutellae was present in all provinces except British Columbia. Oomyzus sokolowskii was found in British Columbia and Ontario. The parasitoid community documented from sentinel sampling was less diverse than that found through destructive sampling. Hypotheses are provided to explain the presence of major parasitoids. Increasing larval parasitism would have the largest effect on diamondback moth population growth in Canada.
Initial assessments of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) preparedness revealed resource shortages and variations in infection prevention policies across US hospitals. Our follow-up survey revealed improvement in resource availability, increase in testing capacity, and uniformity in infection prevention policies. Most importantly, the survey highlighted an increase in staffing shortages and use of travel nursing.
Hospital-associated fungal infections from construction and renovation activities can be mitigated using an infection control risk assessment (ICRA) and implementation of infection prevention measures. The effectiveness of these measures depends on proper installation and maintenance. Consistent infection prevention construction rounding with feedback is key to ongoing compliance.
To test the hypothesis that higher level of purpose in life is associated with lower likelihood of dementia and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in older Brazilians.
As part of the Pathology, Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Study (PARDoS), informants of 1,514 older deceased Brazilians underwent a uniform structured interview. The informant interview included demographic data, the Clinical Dementia Rating scale to diagnose dementia and MCI, the National Institute of Mental Health Diagnostic Interview Schedule for depression, and a 6-item measure of purpose in life, a component of well-being.
Purpose scores ranged from 1.5 to 5.0 with higher values indicating higher levels of purpose. On the Clinical Dementia Rating Scale, 940 persons (62.1%) had no cognitive impairment, 121 (8.0%) had MCI, and 453 (29.9%) had dementia. In logistic regression models adjusted for age at death, sex, education, and race, higher purpose was associated with lower likelihood of MCI (odds ratio = .58; 95% confidence interval [CI]: .43, .79) and dementia (odds ratio = .49, 95% CI: .41, .59). Results were comparable after adjusting for depression (identified in 161 [10.6%]). Neither race nor education modified the association of purpose with cognitive diagnoses.
Higher purpose in life is associated with lower likelihood of MCI and dementia in older black and white Brazilians.
Background: The use of personal protective equipment (PPE) is a critical intervention in preventing the spread of transmission-based infections in healthcare settings. However, contamination of the skin and clothing of healthcare personnel (HCP) frequently occurs during the doffing of PPE. In fact, nearly 40% of HCP make errors while doffing their PPE, causing them to contaminate themselves. PPE monitors are staff that help to promote their colleagues’ safety by guiding them through the PPE donning and doffing processes. With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, the UNC Medical Center chose to incorporate PPE monitors as part of its comprehensive COVID-19 prevention strategy, using them in inpatient areas (including COVID-19 containment units and all other units with known or suspected SARS-CoV-2–positive patients), procedural areas, and outpatient clinics. Methods: Infection prevention and nursing developed a PPE monitoring team using redeployed staff from outpatient clinics and inpatient areas temporarily closed because of the pandemic. Employee training took place online and included fundamentals of disease transmission, hand hygiene basics, COVID-19 policies and signage, and videos on proper donning and doffing, including coaching tips. The monitors’ first shifts were supervised by experienced monitors to continue in-place training. Employees had competency sheets signed off by a supervisor. Results: The Medical Center’s nursing house supervisors took over management and deployment of the PPE monitoring team, and infection prevention staff continued to train new members. Eventually, as closed clinics and areas reopened and these PPE monitors returned to their regular positions, areas used their own staff to perform the role of PPE monitor. In the fall of 2020, a facility-wide survey was sent to all inpatient staff to assess their perceptions of the Medical Center’s efforts to protect them from acquiring COVID-19. It included a question asking how much staff agreed or disagreed that PPE monitors “play an important role in keeping our staff who care for COVID-19 patients safe.” Of the 626 staff who answered this question, 67.6% agreed or strongly agreed that PPE monitors played an important role in keeping staff safe. Thus far, there has been no direct transmission or clusters of COVID-19 involving HCP in COVID-19 containment units with PPE monitors. Conclusions: PPE monitors are an important part of a comprehensive COVID-19 prevention strategy. In early 2021, the UNC Medical Center posted and hired paid PPE monitor positions to continue this critical work in a sustainable way.
As part of the Pathology, Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Study, we conducted uniform structured interviews with knowledgeable informants (72% children) of 1,493 older (age > 65) Brazilian decedents.
The interview included measures of social isolation (number of family and friends in at least monthly contact with decedent), emotional isolation (short form of UCLA Loneliness Scale), and major depression plus the informant portion of the Clinical Dementia Rating Scale to diagnose dementia and its precursor, mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
Decedents had a median social network size of 8.0 (interquartile range = 9.0) and a median loneliness score of 0.0 (interquartile range = 1.0). On the Clinical Dementia Rating Scale, 947 persons had no cognitive impairment, 122 had MCI, and 424 had dementia. In a logistic regression model adjusted for age, education, sex, and race, both smaller network size (odds ratio [OR] = 0.975; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.962, 0.989) and higher loneliness (OR = 1.145; 95% CI: 1.060, 1.237) were associated with higher likelihood of dementia. These associations persisted after controlling for depression (present in 10.4%) and did not vary by race. After controlling for depression, neither network size nor loneliness was related to MCI.
Social and emotional isolation are associated with higher likelihood of dementia in older black and white Brazilians.
We evaluated the ability of an ultraviolet-C (UV-C) room decontamination device to kill Candida auris and C. albicans. With an organic challenge (fetal calf serum), the UV-C device demonstrated the following log10 reductions for C. auris of 4.57 and for C. albicans of 5.26 with direct line of sight, and log10 reductions for C. auris of 2.41 and for C. ablicans of 3.96 with indirect line of sight.
This case study was prompted by the identification, in observations and in discussion with the normal class teacher, of pupil demotivation and disaffection during Latin lessons, and the fact that this represented a considerable barrier to attainment and progress. My observation of this phenomenon coincided with Year 9 submitting their GCSE options. The combination of apparently ambiguous attitudes towards the subject and the fact that these attitudes were being brought to the fore explicitly because of the options choices drew my attention to pupil perceptions of the subject. It seemed to me that understanding the way in which pupils perceive the subject might be instructive for my own teaching practice, allowing me to better understand what pupils enjoy about the subject, what they find difficult, what enthuses them and what turns them off. Furthermore, the place of Latin within schools in general, and the particular school in which I conducted this study, is not something that should be taken for granted. It seemed to me, therefore, that this case study might provide some insight into whether Latin is a subject that young people feel is relevant and perhaps might offer some insight into what can allow Latin to have as inclusive an appeal as possible.
To describe a pilot project infection prevention and control (IPC) assessment conducted in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) in New York State (NYS) during a pivotal 2-week period when the region became the nation’s epicenter for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
A telephone and video assessment of IPC measures in SNFs at high risk or experiencing COVID-19 activity.
SNFs in 14 New York counties, including New York City.
A 3-component remote IPC assessment: (1) screening tool; (2) telephone IPC checklist; and (3) COVID-19 video IPC assessment (ie, “COVIDeo”).
In total, 92 SNFs completed the IPC screening tool and checklist: 52 (57%) were conducted as part COVID-19 investigations, and 40 (43%) were proactive prevention-based assessments. Among the 40 proactive assessments, 14 (35%) identified suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases. COVIDeo was performed in 26 (28%) of 92 assessments and provided observations that other tools would have missed: personal protective equipment (PPE) that was not easily accessible, redundant, or improperly donned, doffed, or stored and specific challenges implementing IPC in specialty populations. The IPC assessments took ∼1 hour each and reached an estimated 4 times as many SNFs as on-site visits in a similar time frame.
Remote IPC assessments by telephone and video were timely and feasible methods of assessing the extent to which IPC interventions had been implemented in a vulnerable setting and to disseminate real-time recommendations. Remote assessments are now being implemented across New York State and in various healthcare facility types. Similar methods have been adapted nationally by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
ABSTRACT IMPACT: Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects ˜15% of the US population and the majority of patients are diagnosed too late to benefit from early intervention. We are developing a new diagnostic imaging tool (RadioCF-PET) for the kidney to enable early detection of diseases and to monitor overall kidney health. OBJECTIVES/GOALS: Nephron mass, or the number of functioning nephrons, is a measure of the functional capacity of the kidney. RadioCF-PET may enable early detection of nephron loss in patients with or at risk of CKD before changes are clinically detectable, facilitating early interventions to improve outcomes in these patients. METHODS/STUDY POPULATION: RadioCF-PET, labeled with Cu-64, has the advantage of using sub pharmacological doses for imaging, carrying low risk and can be used with the FDA’s exploratory IND (eIND) mechanism for early in human testing. We are developing the technology to be used in pre-eIND toxicology and pharmacology studies. We are also developing other aspects of translational science to propel this technology toward translation, including: market analysis, critical path to market, customer discovery, and commercialization strategy. RESULTS/ANTICIPATED RESULTS: Milestone 1: Apply technology in mouse model study and in human kidneys rejected for transplant. Anticipated Result 1: PET signal from RadioCF-PET correlates with glomerular density in healthy and diseased model male mice (R2 = 0.98). RadioCF-PET signal correlates with glomerular number in a donated human kidney (R2= 0.78). Milestone 2: Application to federal funding (STTR) and gap funding mechanisms to enable pre-eIND studies. Anticipated Result 1: Application for funding will aid to clarify and validate our market analysis and commercialization strategy. Milestone 3: Continued research and development with the technology in new studies. Other Anticipated Results: Future work with RadioCF-PET will enhance technology performance in preparation for pre-eIND studies. DISCUSSION/SIGNIFICANCE OF FINDINGS: We foresee a large clinical and commercial potential for RadioCF-PET to provide precise, early monitoring in patients at risk for or with CKD. The two biggest hurdles for clinical translation are validating safety and proving efficacy. This work targets both issues to facilitate RadioCF-PET toward clinical translation.
This SHEA white paper identifies knowledge gaps and challenges in healthcare epidemiology research related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) with a focus on core principles of healthcare epidemiology. These gaps, revealed during the worst phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, are described in 10 sections: epidemiology, outbreak investigation, surveillance, isolation precaution practices, personal protective equipment (PPE), environmental contamination and disinfection, drug and supply shortages, antimicrobial stewardship, healthcare personnel (HCP) occupational safety, and return to work policies. Each section highlights three critical healthcare epidemiology research questions with detailed description provided in supplementary materials. This research agenda calls for translational studies from laboratory-based basic science research to well-designed, large-scale studies and health outcomes research. Research gaps and challenges related to nursing homes and social disparities are included. Collaborations across various disciplines, expertise and across diverse geographic locations will be critical.
In recent years, a variety of efforts have been made in political science to enable, encourage, or require scholars to be more open and explicit about the bases of their empirical claims and, in turn, make those claims more readily evaluable by others. While qualitative scholars have long taken an interest in making their research open, reflexive, and systematic, the recent push for overarching transparency norms and requirements has provoked serious concern within qualitative research communities and raised fundamental questions about the meaning, value, costs, and intellectual relevance of transparency for qualitative inquiry. In this Perspectives Reflection, we crystallize the central findings of a three-year deliberative process—the Qualitative Transparency Deliberations (QTD)—involving hundreds of political scientists in a broad discussion of these issues. Following an overview of the process and the key insights that emerged, we present summaries of the QTD Working Groups’ final reports. Drawing on a series of public, online conversations that unfolded at www.qualtd.net, the reports unpack transparency’s promise, practicalities, risks, and limitations in relation to different qualitative methodologies, forms of evidence, and research contexts. Taken as a whole, these reports—the full versions of which can be found in the Supplementary Materials—offer practical guidance to scholars designing and implementing qualitative research, and to editors, reviewers, and funders seeking to develop criteria of evaluation that are appropriate—as understood by relevant research communities—to the forms of inquiry being assessed. We dedicate this Reflection to the memory of our coauthor and QTD working group leader Kendra Koivu.1
To describe epidemiologic and genomic characteristics of a severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak in a large skilled-nursing facility (SNF), and the strategies that controlled transmission.
Design, setting, and participants:
This cohort study was conducted during March 22–May 4, 2020, among all staff and residents at a 780-bed SNF in San Francisco, California.
Contact tracing and symptom screening guided targeted testing of staff and residents; respiratory specimens were also collected through serial point prevalence surveys (PPSs) in units with confirmed cases. Cases were confirmed by real-time reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction testing for SARS-CoV-2, and whole-genome sequencing (WGS) was used to characterize viral isolate lineages and relatedness. Infection prevention and control (IPC) interventions included restricting from work any staff who had close contact with a confirmed case; restricting movement between units; implementing surgical face masking facility-wide; and the use of recommended PPE (ie, isolation gown, gloves, N95 respirator and eye protection) for clinical interactions in units with confirmed cases.
Of 725 staff and residents tested through targeted testing and serial PPSs, 21 (3%) were SARS-CoV-2 positive: 16 (76%) staff and 5 (24%) residents. Fifteen cases (71%) were linked to a single unit. Targeted testing identified 17 cases (81%), and PPSs identified 4 cases (19%). Most cases (71%) were identified before IPC interventions could be implemented. WGS was performed on SARS-CoV-2 isolates from 4 staff and 4 residents: 5 were of Santa Clara County lineage and the 3 others were distinct lineages.
Early implementation of targeted testing, serial PPSs, and multimodal IPC interventions limited SARS-CoV-2 transmission within the SNF.