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To investigate the source in an outbreak of carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (CRA) in a general hospital due to contamination of a laundry evaporative cooler and the laundry environment using multilocus sequence typing (MLST).
For CRA culture, clinical samples were collected from infected patients and close contacts, and environmental sampling was performed in patient surroundings and laundry facilities. MLST was used for the molecular typing of representative CRA isolates. Bacterial isolates with identical sequence types were considered epidemiologically linked and attributable to the same source. OXA genes in Acinetobacter baumannii were detected using polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
In total, 58 patients were affected in this outbreak. The mean patient age was 75.3, and 50% were female. The most common diagnoses at admission were skin and soft-tissue infection (n = 12, 20.7%) and pneumonia (n = 12, 20.7%). OXA-23 was positive in 64.7% of isolates. A CRA isolate from the evaporative cooler in the laundry was identical to that of 11 patients across 3 wards, belonging to ST345. Isolates from 3 laundry linen racks were identical to those of 7 patients from 3 wards, classified as ST1145. Isolates found on another linen rack and a pajama shelf were identical to isolates from 3 other patients from 2 wards, belonging to ST2207. There was no significant difference between sequence type distributions of clinical and environmental isolates (P = .12), indicating high likelihood of CRA originating from the same source.
MLST confirmed that contamination of the laundry evaporative cooler and surrounding environment caused a polyclonal CRA hospital outbreak. Hospital laundry is an important area for infection control and outbreak investigations of CRA.
The fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda), a destructive pest that originated in South and North America, spread to China in early 2019. Controlling this invasive pest requires an understanding of its population structure and migration patterns, yet the invasion genetics of Chinese S. frugiperda is not clear. Here, using the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) gene, triose phosphate isomerase (Tpi) gene and eight microsatellite loci, we investigated genetic structure and genetic diversity of 16 S. frugiperda populations in China. The Tpi locus identified most S. frugiperda populations as the corn-strains, and a few were heterozygous strains. The microsatellite loci revealed that the genetic diversity of this pest in China was lower than that in South America. Furthermore, we found moderate differentiation among the populations, distinct genetic structures between adjacent populations and abundant genetic resources in the S. frugiperda populations from China sampled across 2 years. The survival rate of S. frugiperda was significantly higher when it was fed on corn leaves than on rice leaves, and the larval stage mortality rate was the highest under both treatments. Our results showed that S. frugiperda probably invaded China via multiple independent introductions and careful pesticide control, continuous monitoring and further studies will be needed to minimize its potential future outbreak.
Metabolically healthy obesity (MHO) might be an alternative valuable target in obesity treatment. We aimed to assess whether alternative Mediterranean (aMED) diet and Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet were favourably associated with obesity and MHO phenotype in a Chinese multi-ethnic population. We conducted this cross-sectional analysis using the baseline data of the China Multi-Ethnic Cohort study that enrolled 99 556 participants from seven diverse ethnic groups. Participants with self-reported cardiometabolic diseases were excluded to eliminate possible reverse causality. Marginal structural logistic models were used to estimate the associations, with confounders determined by directed acyclic graph (DAG). Among 65 699 included participants, 11·2 % were with obesity. MHO phenotype was present in 5·7 % of total population and 52·7 % of population with obesity. Compared with the lowest quintile, the highest quintile of DASH diet score had 23 % decreased odds of obesity (OR = 0·77, 95 % CI 0·71, 0·83, Ptrend < 0·001) and 27 % increased odds of MHO (OR = 1·27, 95 % CI 1·10, 1·48, Ptrend = 0·001) in population with obesity. However, aMED diet showed no obvious favourable associations. Further adjusting for BMI did not change the associations between diet scores and MHO. Results were robust to various sensitivity analyses. In conclusion, DASH diet rather than aMED diet is associated with reduced risk of obesity and presents BMI-independent metabolic benefits in this large population-based study. Recommendation for adhering to DASH diet may benefit the prevention of obesity and related metabolic disorders in Chinese population.
Neuroimaging- and machine-learning-based brain-age prediction of schizophrenia is well established. However, the diagnostic significance and the effect of early medication on first-episode schizophrenia remains unclear.
To explore whether predicted brain age can be used as a biomarker for schizophrenia diagnosis, and the relationship between clinical characteristics and brain-predicted age difference (PAD), and the effects of early medication on predicted brain age.
The predicted model was built on 523 diffusion tensor imaging magnetic resonance imaging scans from healthy controls. First, the brain-PAD of 60 patients with first-episode schizophrenia, 60 healthy controls and 21 follow-up patients from the principal data-set and 40 pairs of individuals in the replication data-set were calculated. Next, the brain-PAD between groups were compared and the correlations between brain-PAD and clinical measurements were analysed.
The patients showed a significant increase in brain-PAD compared with healthy controls. After early medication, the brain-PAD of patients decreased significantly compared with baseline (P < 0.001). The fractional anisotropy value of 31/33 white matter tract features, which related to the brain-PAD scores, had significantly statistical differences before and after measurements (P < 0.05, false discovery rate corrected). Correlation analysis showed that the age gap was negatively associated with the positive score on the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale in the principal data-set (r = −0.326, P = 0.014).
The brain age of patients with first-episode schizophrenia may be older than their chronological age. Early medication holds promise for improving the patient's brain ageing. Neuroimaging-based brain-age prediction can provide novel insights into the understanding of schizophrenia.
In this paper, we study a mathematical model for an infectious disease caused by a virus such as Cholera without lifetime immunity. Due to the different mobility for susceptible, infected human and recovered human hosts, the diffusion coefficients are assumed to be different. The resulting system is governed by a strongly coupled reaction–diffusion system with different diffusion coefficients. Global existence and uniqueness are established under certain assumptions on known data. Moreover, global asymptotic behaviour of the solution is obtained when some parameters satisfy certain conditions. These results extend the existing results in the literature. The main tool used in this paper comes from the delicate theory of elliptic and parabolic equations. Moreover, the energy method and Sobolev embedding are used in deriving a priori estimates. The analysis developed in this paper can be employed to study other epidemic models in biological, ecological and health sciences.
Advanced telecommunication systems are moving toward a high data transfer rate and wider bandwidth. The 5G communication network has recently been implemented for such aims. However, 5G networks operating with high operating frequency (typically above 20 GHz) could lead to impairments because of the atmospheric phenomena mainly precipitation and especially heavy rain. To address this, an optimum rain fade margin for the 5G network in Peninsular Malaysia is proposed using 77 sites of the rain-gauge network, which convert 1-h rain data to 1-min rain data by means of the international telecommunication union recommendation (ITU-R) P.837-7 model. Long-term rain attenuation statistics are obtained from ITU-R P.530-17 and the synthetic storm technique. The predicted rain attenuation is also presented in monthly statistics and in rain attenuation contour maps. The analysis showed that at 99.99% of link availability, the optimum rain fade margin operating at 26 GHz link should be in the range of 6.50 to 10 dB and 7 to 11 dB at 28 GHz link for a 5G network. Such information is useful for network operators and system engineers for the operation of 5G terrestrial microwave links in heavy rain regions.
The global outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is greatly threatening the public health in the world. We reconstructed global transmissions and potential demographic expansions of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 based on genomic information. We found that intercontinental transmissions were rare in January and early February but drastically increased since late February. After world-wide implements of travel restrictions, the transmission frequencies decreased to a low level in April. We identified a total of 88 potential demographic expansions over the world based on the star-radiative networks and 75 of them were found in Europe and North America. The expansion numbers peaked in March and quickly dropped since April. These findings are highly concordant with epidemic reports and modelling results and highlight the significance of quarantine validity on the global spread of COVID-19. Our analyses indicate that the travel restrictions and social distancing measures are effective in containing the spread of COVID-19.
Sugarcane brown rust, caused by Puccinia melanocephala, is one of the main diseases of sugarcane in China. The identification and discovery of new resistance genes have important theoretical and practical significance for preventing outbreaks of brown rust and ensuring the sustainable production of sugarcane. To screen for polymorphic simple-sequence repeat (SSR) molecular markers for localization of brown rust resistance genes, we used two populations that are suitable for genetic linkage map construction and mapping of new resistance genes to construct resistant and susceptible genetic pools. We then screened 449 pairs of primers to identify polymorphic SSR markers in the parental lines and the resistant/susceptible genetic pools. The results showed that 25 pairs of primers directed amplification of polymorphic DNA fragments between the parents of the cross combination ‘Yuetang 03-393’ × ‘ROC 24’, and 16 pairs of primers amplified polymorphic fragments between the parents of the cross combination ‘Liucheng 03-1137’ × ‘Dezhe 93-88’. Four pairs of primers (SMC236CG, SCESSR0928, SCESSR0636 and SCESSR2551) amplified polymorphic DNA fragments between the parental lines and the resistant/susceptible genetic pools in ‘Yuetang 03-393’ × ‘ROC 24’. The results of this study will establish a solid foundation for the mapping of new brown rust resistance genes, genetic linkage map construction and the development of closely-associated molecular markers in sugarcane.
To explore if there is association between vitamin D supplementation through cod liver oil ingestion around the periconceptional period and the risk of developing severe CHD in offspring. Furthermore, we would examine the interaction between vitamin D and folic acid supplementation in the association.
A case–control study was conducted in Shanghai Children’s Medical Center, in which, a total of 262 severe CHD cases versus 262 controls were recruited through June 2016 to December 2017. All children were younger than 2 years. To reduce potential selection bias and to minimise confounding effects, propensity score matching was applied.
After propensity score matching, vitamin D supplementation seemed to be associated with decreased odds ratio of severe CHD (odds ratio = 0.666; 95% confidence intervals: 0.449–0.990) in the multivariable conditional logistic analysis. Furthermore, we found an additive interaction between vitamin D and folic acid supplementation (relative excess risk due to interaction = 0.810, 95% confidence intervals: 0.386–1.235) in the association.
The results suggested that maternal vitamin D supplementation could decrease the risk of offspring severe CHD; moreover, it could strengthen the protective effect of folic acid. The significance of this study lies in providing epidemiological evidence that vitamin D supplementation around the periconceptional period could be a potential nutritional intervention strategy to meet the challenge of increasing CHD.
No studies have reported on how to relieve distress or relax in medical health workers while wearing medical protective equipment in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The study aimed to establish which relaxation technique, among six, is the most feasible in first-line medical health workers wearing medical protective equipment.
This was a two-step study collecting data with online surveys. Step 1: 15 first-line medical health workers were trained to use six different relaxation techniques and reported the two most feasible techniques while wearing medical protective equipment. Step 2: the most two feasible relaxation techniques revealed by step 1 were quantitatively tested in a sample of 65 medical health workers in terms of efficacy, no space limitation, no time limitation, no body position requirement, no environment limitation to be done, easiness to learn, simplicity, convenience, practicality, and acceptance.
Kegel exercise and autogenic relaxation were the most feasible techniques according to step 1. In step 2, Kegel exercise outperformed autogenic relaxation on all the 10 dimensions among the 65 participants while wearing medical protective equipment (efficacy: 24 v. 15, no space limitation: 30 v. 4, no time limitation: 31 v. 4, no body position requirement: 26 v. 4, no environment limitation: 30 v. 11, easiness to learn: 28 v. 5, simplicity: 29 v. 7, convenience: 29 v. 4, practicality: 30 v. 14, acceptance: 32 v. 6).
Kegel exercise seems a promising self-relaxation technique for first-line medical health workers while wearing medical protective equipment among COVID-19 pandemic.
In this work, we propose a broadband, polarization-insensitive and wide incident angle stable metamaterial absorber (MA) based on the resistive film. The absorber consists of a three-layer structure with each layer of dielectric substrate printed with different shapes of resistive film. The multilayer structure not only extends the absorption bandwidth but also maintains high absorption under large wave incident angles. Numerical simulation shows that the absorptivity of a normal incident wave is above 90% in the frequency range 2.34–18.95 GHz, corresponding to a relative absorption bandwidth of 156%. Moreover, the whole MA structure has a total thickness of 11.3 mm, corresponding to 0.09 λ0 at its lowest absorption frequency. Due to the high symmetry of the structure, the absorber has good polarization insensitivity. In addition, for both transverse electric and transverse magnetic incidence, the proposed absorber achieves an absorptivity of more than 80% at incident angles of up to 45° and thus has good stability for wide incident angles. The absorption principle of the absorber is analyzed by the surface current and power loss density distribution. Parameter analysis is also performed for bandwidth optimization. Due to its advantages of wideband absorption with high efficiency, the proposed absorber has the potential to be applied to the energy-harvesting and electromagnetic stealth fields.
Previous studies have shown conflicting findings regarding the relationship between maternal vitamin D deficiency (VDD) and fetal growth restriction (FGR). We hypothesised that parathyroid hormone (PTH) may be an underlying factor relevant to this potential association. In a prospective birth cohort study, descriptive statistics were evaluated for the demographic characteristics of 3407 pregnancies in the second trimester from three antenatal clinics in Hefei, China. The association of the combined status of vitamin D and PTH with birth weight and the risk of small for gestational age (SGA) was assessed by a multivariate linear and binary logistic regression. We found that declined status of 25-hydroxyvitamin D is associated with lower birth weight (for moderate VDD: adjusted β = −49·4 g, 95 % CI −91·1, −7·8, P < 0·05; for severe VDD: adjusted β = −79·8 g, 95 % CI −127·2, −32·5, P < 0·01), as well as ascended levels of PTH (for elevated PTH: adjusted β = −44·5 g, 95 % CI −82·6, −6·4, P < 0·05). Compared with the non-VDD group with non-elevated PTH, pregnancies with severe VDD and elevated PTH had the lowest neonatal birth weight (adjusted β = −124·7 g, 95 % CI −194·6, −54·8, P < 0·001) and the highest risk of SGA (adjusted risk ratio (RR) = 3·36, 95 % CI 1·41, 8·03, P < 0·01). Notably, the highest risk of less Ca supplementation was founded in severe VDD group with elevated PTH (adjusted RR = 4·67, 95 % CI 2·78, 7·85, P < 0·001). In conclusion, elevated PTH induced by less Ca supplementation would further aggravate the risk of FGR in pregnancies with severe VDD through impaired maternal Ca metabolism homoeostasis.
Previous chapters in this book have focused on domestic (or municipal) law within Hong Kong. This chapter examines the interface between Hong Kong law and international law and Chinese law (PRC law). It looks at the distinct international legal personality that Hong Kong possesses, Hong Kong’s engagement with international entities and the application of international law in Hong Kong. Previous chapters have discussed certain aspects of the interface between Hong Kong and the PRC legal system, and this chapter builds on this by focusing on mutual legal assistance between the two legal systems, access to the Mainland market for legal services from Hong Kong and cross-border crime.
With the increasing popularity of alternative methods of resolving disputes to lessen the burden on courts, a separate chapter must be dedicated to this topic. One may not typically think of alternative methods of resolving disputes as part of the legal system, but this chapter shows otherwise. Particularly with the Civil Justice Reform, alternative dispute resolution has played and will continue to play an even larger role in solving legal disputes in Hong Kong. The two main methods of alternative dispute resolution, namely mediation and arbitration, are examined.
This chapter looks at law at an abstract level and the fundamental questions of ‘What is law?’ and ‘Why have laws?’ are explored by discussing the functions and concepts of law. This chapter examines the macro and micro functions of law, as well as the major perspectives of law including natural law, legal positivism, sociology of law and critical legal theory. It concludes by exploring various classifications of legal systems and the way in which the law is divided within them, such as the difference between the common law and civil law systems, national and international law, substantive and procedural law, and public and private law.
While legislation is enacted by the Legislative Council (or under its authority), the courts have a role in the interpretation of legislation. This chapter discusses the various common law approaches to statutory interpretation that are likely to be adopted by Hong Kong courts. Moreover, this chapter goes through the aids to interpretation within an ordinance, external aids to interpretation, presumptions which protect basic values, interpretation of the Basic Law and resolving conflicts found in bilingual legislation. A case study is used to illustrate how the courts balance different interpretive considerations. Recognising how judges interpret laws will help hone the skills of legal reasoning (thinking like a judge).
Where do lawyers look to when they wish to ascertain what the law is on a particular matter? This chapter goes over the various sources of law in Hong Kong. It starts at the top with the Basic Law, which is sometimes referred to as the ‘mini-constitution’ of Hong Kong. It covers the five interpretations of the Basic Law by the Standing Committee of National People’s Congress (NPCSC). It then takes readers through legislation, including primary and secondary legislation, and through the different parts of a statue. Case law is then examined, along with the different parts of a reported case, highlighting the parts of a judgment that constitute law. Lastly, Chinese customary law and national laws of the People’s Republic of China that are applied in Hong Kong are discussed.