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Several recent reports have raised concern that infected coworkers may be an important source of severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) acquisition by healthcare personnel. In a suspected outbreak among emergency department personnel, sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 confirmed transmission among coworkers. The suspected 6-person outbreak included 2 distinct transmission clusters and 1 unrelated infection.
Rates of speciation and extinction are often linked to many ecological factors, traits (emergent and nonemergent) such as environmental tolerance, body size, feeding type, and geographic range. Marine gastropods in particular have been used to examine the role of larval dispersal in speciation. However, relatively few studies have been conducted placing larval modes in species-level phylogenetic context. Those that have, have not incorporated fossil data, while landmark macroevolutionary studies on fossil clades have not considered both phylogenetic context and net speciation (speciation–extinction) rates. This study utilizes Eocene volutid Volutospina species from the U.S. Gulf Coastal Plain and the Hampshire Basin, U.K., to explore the relationships among larval mode, geographic range, and duration. Based on the phylogeny of these Volutospina, we calculated speciation and extinction rates in order to compare the macroevolutionary effects of larval mode. Species with planktotrophic larvae had a median duration of 9.7 Myr, which compared significantly to 4.7 Myr for those with non-planktotrophic larvae. Larval mode did not significantly factor into geographic-range size, but U.S. and U.K. species do differ, indicating a locality-specific component to maximum geographic-range size. Non-planktotrophs (NPTs)were absent among the Volutospina species during the Paleocene–early Eocene. The relative proportions of NPTs increased in the early middle Eocene, and the late Eocene was characterized by disappearance of planktotrophs (PTs). The pattern of observed lineage diversity shows an increasing preponderance of NPTs; however, this is clearly driven by a dramatic extinction of PTs, rather than higher NPT speciation rates during the late Eocene. This study adds nuance to paleontology's understanding of the macroevolutionary consequences of larval mode.
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.
Mental health (MH) service users have increased prevalence of chronic physical conditions such as cardio-respiratory diseases and diabetes. Potentially Preventable Hospitalisations (PPH) for physical health conditions are an indicator of health service access, integration and effectiveness, and are elevated in long term studies of people with MH conditions. We aimed to examine whether PPH rates were elevated in MH service users over a 12-month follow-up period more suitable for routine health indicator reporting. We also examined whether MH service users had increased PPH rates at a younger age, potentially reflecting the younger onset of chronic physical conditions.
A population-wide data linkage in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, population 7.8 million. PPH rates in 178 009 people using community MH services in 2016–2017 were compared to population rates. Primary outcomes were crude and age- and disadvantage-standardised annual PPH episode rate (episodes per 100 000 population), PPH day rate (hospital days per 100 000) and adjusted incidence rate ratios (AIRR).
MH service users had higher rates of PPH admission (AIRR 3.6, 95% CI 3.5–3.6) and a larger number of hospital days (AIRR 5.2, 95% CI 5.2–5.3) than other NSW residents due to increased likelihood of admission, more admissions per person and longer length of stay. Increases were greatest for vaccine-preventable conditions (AIRR 4.7, 95% CI 4.5–5.0), and chronic conditions (AIRR 3.7, 95% CI 3.6–3.7). The highest number of admissions and relative risks were for respiratory and metabolic conditions, including chronic obstructive airways disease (AIRR 5.8, 95% CI 5.5–6.0) and diabetic complications (AIRR 5.4, 95% CI 5.1–5.8). One-quarter of excess potentially preventable bed days in MH service users were due to vaccine-related conditions, including vaccine-preventable respiratory illness. Age-related increases in risk occurred earlier in MH service users, particularly for chronic and vaccine-preventable conditions. PPH rates in MH service users aged 20–29 were similar to population rates of people aged 60 and over. These substantial differences were not explained by socio-economic disadvantage.
PPHs for physical health conditions are substantially increased in people with MH conditions. Short term (12-month) PPH rates may be a useful lead indicator of increased physical morbidity and less accessible, integrated or effective health care. High hospitalisation rates for vaccine-preventable respiratory infections and hepatitis underline the importance of vaccination in MH service users and suggests potential benefits of prioritising this group for COVID-19 vaccination.
We use scanning electron microscopy imaging to examine the shell microstructure of fossil and living species in five families of caenogastropods (Strombidae, Volutidae, Olividae, Pseudolividae, and Ancillariidae) to determine whether parallel or convergent evolution is responsible for the development of a unique caenogastropod trait, the extreme parietal callus (EPC). The EPC is defined as a substantial thickening of both the spire callus and the callus on the ventral shell surface such that it covers 50% or more of the surface. Caenogastropods as a whole construct the EPC convergently, using a variety of low-density, poorly organized microstructures that are otherwise uncommon in caenogastropod non-callus shell construction. Within clades, however, we see evidence for parallelism in decreased regulation in both the shell and callus microstructure. Low-density and poorly ordered microstructure—such as used for the EPC—uses less organic scaffolding and is less energetically expensive than normal shell microstructure. This suggests the EPC functions to rapidly and inexpensively increase shell thickness and overall body size. Tests of functional ecology suggest that the EPC might function both to defend against crushing predation through increased body size and dissipation of forces while aiding in shell orientation of highly mobile gastropods. These interpretations hinge on the current phylogenetic placement of caenogastropod families, emphasizing the essential contribution of phylogeny when interpreting homoplasy.
On coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) wards, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) nucleic acid was frequently detected on high-touch surfaces, floors, and socks inside patient rooms. Contamination of floors and shoes was common outside patient rooms on the COVID-19 wards but decreased after improvements in floor cleaning and disinfection were implemented.
In a survey of hospitals and of patients with Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI), we found that most facilities had educational materials or protocols for education of CDI patients. However, approximately half of CDI patients did not recall receiving education during their admission, and knowledge deficits regarding CDI prevention were common.
For patients with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonization, a traditional fist-bump greeting did not significantly reduce MRSA transfer in comparison to a handshake. However, transfer was reduced with a modified fist bump that minimized the surface area of contact and when hand hygiene was performed before the handshake.
Bipolar disorder (BP) and schizophrenia (SCZ) are severe, heritable psychiatric disorders. Genome-wide research suggests that the molecular basis of BP and SCZ overlap (Cross Disorder PGC Group, Lancet, 2013).
of our work was to investigate whether poligenic scores based on SCZ-associated SNPs in the PGC sample (www.med.unc.edu/pgc/) might predict the age of onset (AO) in BP-I. We hypothesized that the SCZ associated SNPs might predict the late AO of BP-I due to the common character of the SCZ-associated variants.
We selected 10,681 non-ambigous SNPs among the 102,637 SNPs present in the PGC SCZ-sample. Using these SNPs we derived poligenic scores in a Romanian sample of 243 BP-I patients with genome-wide data (604,064 SNPs) to predict the patient AO as dichotomous variable (early onset: AO≤24 years; late onset: AO>24 years). The genotyping of the Romanian patients was performed at the Institute of Human Genetics of Bonn. PLINK 1.07 (Purcell, 2009) was used for computing polygenic scores, means of which were compared by t-test between the early- and the late-AO patient groups.
2114 out of 10, 681 SCZ-SNPs were informative in our sample contributing to polygenic scores in BP-I patients. There was no significant difference in mean polygenic scores between the early- and the late-onset group of BP-I patients (t=1.14, P=0.25).
The polygenic scores based on 2114 SCZ-associated common variants did not predict the onset group in our BP-I patients under the AO-cutoff 24 years. Other AO-cutoffs and phenotypic traits (e.g. incongruent psychosis) might be tested.
Sink drainage systems are not amenable to standard methods of cleaning and disinfection. Disinfectants applied as a foam might enhance efficacy of drain decontamination due to greater persistence and increased penetration into sites harboring microorganisms.
To examine the efficacy and persistence of foam-based products in reducing sink drain colonization with gram-negative bacilli.
During a 5-month period, different methods for sink drain disinfection in patient rooms were evaluated in a hospital and its affiliated long-term care facility. We compared the efficacy of a single treatment with 4 different foam products in reducing the burden of gram-negative bacilli in the sink drain to a depth of 2.4 cm (1 inch) below the strainer. For the most effective product, the effectiveness of foam versus liquid-pouring applications, and the effectiveness of repeated foam treatments were evaluated.
A foam product containing 3.13% hydrogen peroxide and 0.05% peracetic acid was significantly more effective than the other 3 foam products. In comparison to pouring the hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid disinfectant, the foam application resulted in significantly reduced recovery of gram-negative bacilli on days 1, 2, and 3 after treatment with a return to baseline by day 7. With repeated treatments every 3 days, a progressive decrease in the bacterial load recovered from sink drains was achieved.
An easy-to-use foaming application of a hydrogen peroxide- and peracetic acid-based disinfectant suppressed sink-drain colonization for at least 3 days. Intermittent application of the foaming disinfectant could potentially reduce the risk for dissemination of pathogens from sink drains.
Medical procedures and patient care activities may facilitate environmental dissemination of healthcare-associated pathogens such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Observational cohort study of MRSA-colonized patients to determine the frequency of and risk factors for environmental shedding of MRSA during procedures and care activities in carriers with positive nares and/or wound cultures. Bivariate analyses were performed to identify factors associated with environmental shedding.
A Veterans Affairs hospital.
This study included 75 patients in contact precautions for MRSA colonization or infection.
Of 75 patients in contact precautions for MRSA, 55 (73%) had MRSA in nares and/or wounds and 25 (33%) had positive skin cultures. For the 52 patients with MRSA in nares and/or wounds and at least 1 observed procedure, environmental shedding of MRSA occurred more frequently during procedures and care activities than in the absence of a procedure (59 of 138, 43% vs 8 of 83, 10%; P < .001). During procedures, increased shedding occurred ≤0.9 m versus >0.9 m from the patient (52 of 138, 38% vs 25 of 138, 18%; P = .0004). Contamination occurred frequently on surfaces touched by personnel (12 of 38, 32%) and on portable equipment used for procedures (25 of 101, 25%). By bivariate analysis, the presence of a wound with MRSA was associated with shedding (17 of 29, 59% versus 6 of 23, 26%; P = .04).
Environmental shedding of MRSA occurs frequently during medical procedures and patient care activities. There is a need for effective strategies to disinfect surfaces and equipment after procedures.
To test the hypothesis that long-term care facility (LTCF) residents with Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) or asymptomatic carriage of toxigenic strains are an important source of transmission in the LTCF and in the hospital during acute-care admissions.
A 6-month cohort study with identification of transmission events was conducted based on tracking of patient movement combined with restriction endonuclease analysis (REA) and whole-genome sequencing (WGS).
Veterans Affairs hospital and affiliated LTCF.
The study included 29 LTCF residents identified as asymptomatic carriers of toxigenic C. difficile based on every other week perirectal screening and 37 healthcare facility-associated CDI cases (ie, diagnosis >3 days after admission or within 4 weeks of discharge to the community), including 26 hospital-associated and 11 LTCF-associated cases.
Of the 37 CDI cases, 7 (18·9%) were linked to LTCF residents with LTCF-associated CDI or asymptomatic carriage, including 3 of 26 hospital-associated CDI cases (11·5%) and 4 of 11 LTCF-associated cases (36·4%). Of the 7 transmissions linked to LTCF residents, 5 (71·4%) were linked to asymptomatic carriers versus 2 (28·6%) to CDI cases, and all involved transmission of epidemic BI/NAP1/027 strains. No incident hospital-associated CDI cases were linked to other hospital-associated CDI cases.
Our findings suggest that LTCF residents with asymptomatic carriage of C. difficile or CDI contribute to transmission both in the LTCF and in the affiliated hospital during acute-care admissions. Greater emphasis on infection control measures and antimicrobial stewardship in LTCFs is needed, and these efforts should focus on LTCF residents during hospital admissions.
X-ray fluorescence (XRF) has been employed as one of several orthogonal means of screening materials to prevent counterfeit and adulterated products from entering the product stream. We document the use of principal component analysis (PCA) of XRF data on compositionally similar and dissimilar stainless steels for the purpose of testing the feasibility of employing XRF spectra to parse and bin these alloys as the same or significantly different alloy materials. The results indicate that XRF spectra can separate and assign alloys via PCA, but that important corrections for detector drift and scaling must be performed in order to achieve valid results.
Implementation of an antimicrobial stewardship program bundle for urinary tract infections among 92 patients led to a higher rate of discontinuation of therapy for asymptomatic bacteriuria (52.4% vs 12.5%; P =.004), more appropriate durations of therapy (88.7% vs 63.6%; P =.001), and significantly higher overall bundle compliance (75% vs 38.2%; P < .001).
The nutrient choline is necessary for membrane synthesis and methyl donation, with increased requirements during lactation. The majority of immune development occurs postnatally, but the importance of choline supply for immune development during this critical period is unknown. The objective of this study was to determine the importance of maternal supply of choline during suckling on immune function in their offspring among rodents. At parturition, Sprague–Dawley dams were randomised to either a choline-devoid (ChD; n 7) or choline-sufficient (ChS, 1 g/kg choline; n 10) diet with their offspring euthanised at 3 weeks of age. In a second experiment, offspring were weaned to a ChS diet until 10 weeks of age (ChD-ChS, n 5 and ChS-ChS, n 9). Splenocytes were isolated, and parameters of immune function were measured. The ChD offspring received less choline in breast milk and had lower final body and organ weight compared with ChS offspring (P<0·05), but this effect disappeared by week 10 with choline supplementation from weaning. ChD offspring had a higher proportion of T cells expressing activation markers (CD71 or CD28) and a lower proportion of total B cells (CD45RA+) and responded less to T cell stimulation (lower stimulation index and less IFN-γ production) ex vivo (P<0·05). ChD-ChS offspring had a lower proportion of total and activated CD4+ T cells, and produced less IL-6 after mitogen stimulation compared with cells from ChS-ChS (P<0·05). Our study suggests that choline is required in the suckling diet to facilitate immune development, and choline deprivation during this critical period has lasting effects on T cell function later in life.
High-temperature X-ray diffraction with concurrent gas chromatography (GC) was used to study cobalt disulfide cathode pellets disassembled from thermal batteries. When CoS2 cathode materials were analyzed in an air environment, oxidation of the K(Br, Cl) salt phase in the cathode led to the formation of K2SO4 that subsequently reacted with the pyrite-type CoS2 phase leading to cathode decomposition between ~260 and 450 °C. Independent thermal analysis experiments, i.e. simultaneous thermogravimetric analysis/differential scanning calorimetry/mass spectrometry (MS), augmented the diffraction results and support the overall picture of CoS2 decomposition. Both gas analysis measurements (i.e. GC and MS) from the independent experiments confirmed the formation of SO2 off-gas species during breakdown of the CoS2. In contrast, characterization of the same cathode material under inert conditions showed the presence of CoS2 throughout the entire temperature range of analysis.
We present the first experimentally determined oscillator strengths for the Pb ii transitions at 1203.6 Å and 1433.9 Å, obtained from lifetime measurements made using beam-foil techniques. We also present new detections of these lines in the interstellar medium from an analysis of archival spectra acquired by the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph onboard the Hubble Space Telescope. Our observations of the Pb ii λ1203 line represent the first detection of this transition in interstellar gas. Our experimental f-values for the Pb ii λ1203 and λ1433 transitions are consistent with recent theoretical results, including our own relativistic calculations, but are significantly smaller than previous values based on older calculations. Our new f-value for Pb ii λ1433 (0.321 ± 0.034) yields an increase in the interstellar abundance of Pb of 0.43 dex over estimates based on the f-value listed by Morton. With our revised f-values, and with our new detections of Pb ii λ1203 and λ1433, we find that the depletion of Pb onto interstellar grains is not nearly as severe as previously thought, and is very similar to the depletions seen for elements such as Zn and Sn, which have similar condensation temperatures.