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Background: The δ (delta) variant has spread rapidly worldwide and has become the predominant strain of SARS-CoV-2. We analyzed an outbreak caused by a vaccine breakthrough infection in a hospital with an active infection control program where 91.9% of healthcare workers were vaccinated. Methods: We investigated a SARS-CoV-2 outbreak between September 9 and October 2, 2021, in a referral teaching hospital in Korea. We retrospectively collected data on demographics, vaccination history, transmission, and clinical features of confirmed COVID-19 in patients, healthcare workers, and caregivers. Results: During the outbreak, 94 individuals tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (rtPCR) testing. Testing identified infections in 61 health care workers, 18 patients, and 15 caregivers, and 70 (74.5%) of 94 cases were vaccine breakthrough infections. We detected 3 superspreading events: in the hospital staff cafeteria and offices (n = 47 cases, 50%), the 8th floor of the main building (n = 22 cases, 23.4%), and the 7th floor in the maternal and child healthcare center (n = 12 cases, 12.8%). These superspreading events accounted for 81 (86.2%) of 94 transmissions (Fig. 1, 2). The median interval between completion of vaccination and COVID-19 infection was 117 days (range, 18–187). There was no significant difference in the mean Ct value of the RdRp/ORF1ab gene between fully vaccinated individuals (mean 20.87, SD±6.28) and unvaccinated individuals (mean 19.94, SD±5.37, P = .52) at the time of diagnosis. Among healthcare workers and caregivers, only 1 required oxygen supplementation. In contrast, among 18 patients, there were 4 fatal cases (22.2%), 3 of whom were unvaccinated (Table 1). Conclusions: Superspreading infection among fully vaccinated individuals occurred in an acute-care hospital while the δ (delta) variant was dominant. Given the potential for severe complications, as this outbreak demonstrated, preventive measures including adequate ventilation should be emphasized to minimize transmission in hospitals.
The explosive outbreak of COVID-19 led to a shortage of medical resources, including isolation rooms in hospitals, healthcare workers (HCWs) and personal protective equipment. Here, we constructed a new model, non-contact community treatment centres to monitor and quarantine asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic COVID-19 patients who recorded their own vital signs using a smartphone application. This new model in Korea is useful to overcome shortages of medical resources and to minimise the risk of infection transmission to HCWs.
Background: Recently, healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in long-term care hospitals (LTCHs) have markedly increased, but no infection control policy has been established in South Korea. We investigated the current HAI surveillance system and executed a point-prevalence pilot study in LTCHs. Methods: HAIs were defined by newly established surveillance manual based on McGeer criteria revised in 2012. Three LTCHs in Seoul and Gyeonggi province were voluntarily recruited, and data were collected from up to 50 patients who were hospitalized on August 1. The medical records from September to November 2018 were retrospectively reviewed by a charge nurse for infection control per each hospitals after 1 day of training specific for LTCH surveillance. All data were reviewed by a senior researcher visiting onsite. Results: The participating hospitals had 272.33 ± 111.01 beds. Only 1 hospital had an onsite microbiological laboratory. In total, 156 patients were enrolled and 5 HAIs were detected, for a prevalence rate of 3.2%. The average patient age was 79.04 ± 9.92 years. The HAIs included 2 urinary tract infections, skin and soft-tissue infection, low respiratory infection, and conjunctivitis. Conclusions: This is the first survey of HAI in LTCHs in South Korea. The 3.2% prevalence rate is lower than those from previous reports from the European Union or the United States. This study supports the development of a national HAI surveillance and infection control system in LTCHs, although implementation may be limited due to the lack of laboratory support and infection control infrastructure in Korea.
Genetic and environmental influences on age at menarche (AAM) have rarely been examined in Asian females. This study aimed to investigate the heritability of AAM in South Korean female twins. The AAM data from 1370 female twins (933 monozygotic [MZ] twins, 294 dizygotic [DZ] twins and 160 female members of opposite-sex DZ twins) born between 1988 and 2001 were analyzed. The age of the sample at the time of the assessment ranged from 16 to 28 years with a mean of 19.3 (SD = 2.2) years. The mean AAM in the total sample was 12.49 (SD = 1.41) years. Although the mean AAM decreased with increasing birth years, it levelled off in birth years 2000–2001. Maximum likelihood MZ and DZ twin correlations were 0.72 [95% CI (0.67, 0.76)] and 0.35 [95% CI (0.19, 0.50)], respectively. The results of model-fitting analysis indicated that the additive genetic and individual-specific environmental effects were 72% [95% CI (67%, 76%)] and 28% [95% CI (24%, 33%)], respectively. Neither nonadditive genetic nor shared environmental effects were significant.
Somatization is known to be more prevalent in Asian than in Western populations. Using a South Korean adolescent and young adult twin sample (N = 1754; 367 monozygotic male, 173 dizygotic male, 681 monozygotic female, 274 dizygotic female and 259 opposite-sex dizygotic twins), the present study aimed to estimate heritability of somatization and to determine common genetic and environmental influences on somatization and hwabyung (HB: anger syndrome). Twins completed self-report questionnaires of the HB symptoms scale and the somatization scale via a telephone interview. The results of the general sex-limitation model showed that 43% (95% CI [36, 50]) of the total variance of somatization was attributable to additive genetic factors, with the remaining variance, 57% (95% CI [50, 64]), being due to individual-specific environmental influences, including measurement error. These estimates were not significantly different between the two sexes. The phenotypic correlation between HB and somatization was .53 (p < .001). The bivariate model-fitting analyses revealed that the genetic correlation between the two symptoms was .68 (95% CI [.59, .77]), while the individual-specific environmental correlation, including correlated measurement error, was .41 (95% CI [.34, .48]). Of the additive genetic factors of 43% that influence somatization, approximately half (20%) were associated with those related to HB, with the remainder being due to genes unique to somatization. A substantial part (48%) of individual environmental variance in somatization was unrelated to HB; only 9% of the environmental variance was shared with HB. Our findings suggest that HB and somatization have shared genetic etiology, but environmental factors that precipitate the development of HB and somatization may be largely independent from each other.
Although some studies show that women are more likely to oppose free trade than men, others demonstrate that economic globalization empowers women. Given this paradox, we examine whether gender shapes individual preferences with respect to foreign direct investment (FDI) in developing countries. We hypothesize that women do not disfavor FDI more than men because multinational corporations (MNCs) bring more jobs for women, provide better working conditions and higher wages than domestic firms, and spread norms and values that favor gender equality. Moreover, this gender gap will be wider in more globalized countries because women can observe such benefits of MNCs. To test our arguments, we used survey data from the 2007 Pew Global Attitudes Project. Overall, women view FDI more positively than men, and this effect is stronger in economically more globalized countries and countries that are less dependent on agriculture. Women have a different view on FDI than that on trade.
According to the Sasang theory, humans can be categorized into one of the four Sasang constitution (SC) types. The four SC types are Tae-Yang (TY), Tae-Eum (TE), So-Yang (SY), and So-Eum (SE), which are determined mainly on the basis of anthropometric characteristics, personality, and the balance of the physiological functions of the major organ systems. There is a growing recognition in the complementary and alternative medicine area that SC types have the potential to be a useful scientific tool for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases (Cooper, Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Vol. 6 (Suppl. 1), 2009, pp. 1–3). The main purposes of the present study are to estimate genetic and environmental influences on SC types, and to explore genetic and environmental correlations that affect phenotypic associations among the SC types. In total, 1,742 (365 monozygotic male, 173 dizygotic male, 675 monozygotic female, 271 dizygotic female, and 258 opposite-sex dizygotic) twins (mean age = 19.1 ± 3.1 year) completed a Sasang questionnaire. Univariate and multivariate model-fitting analyses were performed. Total (additive and non-additive) genetic influences were 71% for males and 81% for females in TE, 70% for males and 71% for females in SE, and 47% for both sexes in SY. Non-additive genetic effects were substantial, and shared environmental influences were negligible in most SC types. Multivariate model-fitting analysis revealed that non-additive genetic and individual-specific environmental correlations between TE and SE were -0.92 (95% CI [-0.89, -0.93]) and -0.62 (95% CI [-0.57, -0.68]), respectively. The corresponding estimates were -0.55 (95% CI [-0.48, -0.61]) and -0.44 (95% CI [-0.37, -0.51]) between TE and SY and 0.19 (95% CI [0.09, 0.29]) and -0.40 (95% CI [-0.32, -0.47]) between SE and SY. These results suggest that the phenotypic associations among SC types may be mediated by pleiotropic mechanism of genes.
The present study aimed to estimate heritability of Hwabyung (HB) symptoms in adolescent and young adult twins in South Korea. The sample included 1,601 twins consisting of 143 pairs of monozygotic male (MZM), 67 pairs of dizygotic male (DZM), 295 pairs of monozygotic female (MZF), 114 pairs of dizygotic female (DZF), and 117 pairs of opposite-sex dizygotic (OSDZ) twins and 129 twins with non-participating co-twins (mean age = 19.1 ± 3.1 years; range: 12–29 years). An HB symptom questionnaire was given to twins via a telephone interview. Consistent with the literature of HB, the mean level of HB was significantly higher in females than in males. Maximum likelihood twin correlations for HB were 0.31 (95% CI [0.16, 0.45]) for MZM, 0.19 (95% CI [-0.05, 0.41]) for DZM, 0.50 (95% CI [0.41, 0.58]) for MZF, 0.28 (95% CI [0.11, 0.44]) for DZF, and 0.23 (95% CI [0.05, 0.40]) for OSDZ twins. These patterns of twin correlations suggested the presence of additive genetic influences on HB. Model-fitting analysis showed that additive genetic and individual-specific environmental influences on HB were 44% (95% CI [37, 51]) and 56% (95% CI [49, 63]), respectively. Shared environmental influences were not significant. These parameter estimates were not significantly different between two sexes, and did not change significantly with age in the present sample, suggesting that genetic and environmental influences on HB in both sexes are stable across adolescence and young adulthood.
Little is known about longitudinal changes of the first twin presentation in twin gestations. This is a retrospective cohort study including 411 women who were admitted consecutively and delivered live-born twins at 36 weeks of gestation or more. Longitudinal assessment of the first twin presentation was conducted during gestation and at birth in all cases. Gestational age at antenatal assessment was divided into two intervals: early-third trimester (28–31 weeks) and mid-third trimester (32–35 weeks). Fetal presentation was categorized as vertex or non-vertex. We analyzed change of fetal presentation between antepartum intervals and birth. First twin presentation at early-third trimester had the same presentation at birth in 87.6% (360/411) of the study population. In this ‘no change’ group, vertex presentation was seen in 95.6% (283/296) and non-vertex was seen in 67.0% (77/115) of cases. In total, 96.1% (395/411) of the study population maintained their presentation between mid-third trimester and birth. Vertex presentation was seen in 98.4% (310/315) and non-vertex was seen in 88.5% (85/96) of cases. When comparing vertex with non-vertex, vertex presentation during third trimester was a more reliable predictor of presentation at birth (p < .001). The only factor that contributed significantly to spontaneous version of the first twin during mid-third trimester and birth was a lower birth weight of the first twin compared with the second twin. In conclusion, first twin presentation with vertex during third trimester is not likely to change into non-vertex at birth. We concluded that vertex presentation in twin gestations at early- and mid-third trimester is very predictable. In contrast, a non-vertex first twin presentation is relatively unstable.
The phenotypic relationships between body mass index (BMI) and cold-heat patterns have been frequently reported, but the etiology of these relationships remains unknown. We previously demonstrated that the cold pattern (CP) and the heat pattern (HP) were heritable traits. In the present study, we explored underlying genetic and environmental structures of the relationships among BMI and the CP and the HP. Twins (N = 1,752) drawn from the South Korean twin registry completed a cold-heat pattern questionnaire via a telephone interview. The phenotypic correlations among the three phenotypes were moderate but significant. Cross-twin, cross-trait correlations among BMI and the CP and the HP were consistently greater in monozygotic than in dizygotic twins, suggesting the presence of genetic effects on the relationships between BMI and the two patterns. A trivariate Cholesky model was applied to the raw data. The results indicated that the phenotypic relationship between the HP and BMI was completely determined by common genetic influences, while the relationship between the CP and BMI was explained by both common genetic and common individual-specific environmental influences. The genetic correlation between the HP and the CP was not significant, suggesting that the two patterns may be genetically independent from each other. Genetic correlations were 0.31 between the HP and BMI, and -0.22 between the CP and BMI. The individual-specific environmental correlation was -0.22 between HP and CP, and between CP and BMI.
In traditional East Asian medicine, cold–heat patterns have been widely used in the diagnosis and treatment of patients suffering from various diseases. The present study aimed to estimate the heritability of cold–heat patterns. Trained interviewers administered a cold–heat pattern questionnaire to 1,753 twins (mean age = 19.1 ± 3.1 years) recruited throughout South Korea. Correlations for the cold pattern (CP) were 0.42 (95% CI [0.28, 0.54]) for monozygotic (MZ) males, 0.16 (95% CI [-0.08, 0.39]) for dizygotic (DZ) males, 0.40 (95% CI [0.30, 0.49]) for MZ females, 0.30 (95% CI [0.12, 0.45]) for DZ females, and 0.07 (95% CI [-0.11, 0.25]) for opposite-sex DZ twins. The corresponding twin correlations for the heat pattern (HP) were 0.38 (95% CI [0.24, 0.51]), -0.22 (95% CI [-0.43, 0.02]), 0.34 (95% CI [0.24, 0.43]), 0.21 (95% CI [0.03, 0.37]), and 0.08 (95% CI [-0.10, 0.26]), respectively. These patterns of twin correlations suggested significant genetic effects on the HP and the CP. Model-fitting analysis revealed that heritability estimates in both sexes were 40% (95% CI [38, 42]) for the CP and 33% (95% CI [25, 42]) for the HP, with the remaining variances attributable to unique environmental variances. These estimates did not vary significantly with age during adolescence and young adulthood.
Whether monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins differ from each other in a variety of phenotypes is important for genetic twin modeling and for inferences made from twin studies in general. We analyzed whether there were differences in individual, maternal and paternal education between MZ and DZ twins in a large pooled dataset. Information was gathered on individual education for 218,362 adult twins from 27 twin cohorts (53% females; 39% MZ twins), and on maternal and paternal education for 147,315 and 143,056 twins respectively, from 28 twin cohorts (52% females; 38% MZ twins). Together, we had information on individual or parental education from 42 twin cohorts representing 19 countries. The original education classifications were transformed to education years and analyzed using linear regression models. Overall, MZ males had 0.26 (95% CI [0.21, 0.31]) years and MZ females 0.17 (95% CI [0.12, 0.21]) years longer education than DZ twins. The zygosity difference became smaller in more recent birth cohorts for both males and females. Parental education was somewhat longer for fathers of DZ twins in cohorts born in 1990–1999 (0.16 years, 95% CI [0.08, 0.25]) and 2000 or later (0.11 years, 95% CI [0.00, 0.22]), compared with fathers of MZ twins. The results show that the years of both individual and parental education are largely similar in MZ and DZ twins. We suggest that the socio-economic differences between MZ and DZ twins are so small that inferences based upon genetic modeling of twin data are not affected.
We analyzed birth order differences in means and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) in monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins from infancy to old age. The data were derived from the international CODATwins database. The total number of height and BMI measures from 0.5 to 79.5 years of age was 397,466. As expected, first-born twins had greater birth weight than second-born twins. With respect to height, first-born twins were slightly taller than second-born twins in childhood. After adjusting the results for birth weight, the birth order differences decreased and were no longer statistically significant. First-born twins had greater BMI than the second-born twins over childhood and adolescence. After adjusting the results for birth weight, birth order was still associated with BMI until 12 years of age. No interaction effect between birth order and zygosity was found. Only limited evidence was found that birth order influenced variances of height or BMI. The results were similar among boys and girls and also in MZ and DZ twins. Overall, the differences in height and BMI between first- and second-born twins were modest even in early childhood, while adjustment for birth weight reduced the birth order differences but did not remove them for BMI.
During the past decade, carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) has emerged and spread across the world.1 The major carbapenemase enzymes currently being reported are KPC, NDM-1, VIM, IMP, and OXA.2 Because carbapenemase can be effectively transmitted via mobile genetic elements, and current therapeutic options for CPE infections are extremely limited, CPE may be one of the most serious contemporary threats to public health. However, very little is known about the characteristics of CPE carriage during hospitalization. The aims of this study were to investigate the clearance rate of CPE carriage and determine the number of consecutive negative cultures required to confirm CPE clearance. We also examined CPE transmission among hospitalized patients.
Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2015;36(11):1361–1362
To determine the influence of early pain relief for patients with suspected appendicitis on the diagnostic performance of surgical residents.
A prospective randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted for patients with suspected appendicitis. The patients were randomized to receive placebo (normal saline intravenous [IV]) infusions over 5 minutes or the study drug (morphine 5 mg IV). All of the clinical evaluations by surgical residents were performed 30 minutes after administration of the study drug or placebo. After obtaining the clinical probability of appendicitis, as determined by the surgical residents, abdominal computed tomography was performed. The primary objective was to compare the influence of IV morphine on the ability of surgical residents to diagnose appendicitis.
A total of 213 patients with suspected appendicitis were enrolled. Of these patients, 107 patients received morphine, and 106 patients received placebo saline. The negative appendectomy percentages in each group were similar (3.8% in the placebo group and 3.2% in the pain control group, p=0.62). The perforation rates in each group were also similar (18.9% in the placebo group and 14.3% in the pain control group, p=0.75). Receiver operating characteristic analysis revealed that the overall diagnostic accuracy in each group was similar (the area under the curve of the placebo group and the pain control group was 0.63 v. 0.61, respectively, p=0.81).
Early pain control in patients with suspected appendicitis does not affect the diagnostic performance of surgical residents.
In this study, we synthesized ZnO nanowires using Au catalytic particles formed on a ZnO seed layer. We modulated the microstructure of the ZnO seed layer by changing the sputtering power to investigate how the underlying ZnO film microstructure affects the distribution of ZnO nanowires. Examining the samples after each of the three key steps of the growth process (ZnO seed layer deposition, Au catalytic particle formation, and nanowire growth) using various characterization methods such as scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and x-ray diffraction helped us illuminate the profound impacts of the grain size of the seed layer on the nanowire density.
Oxidative modification of LDL is causally involved in the development of atherosclerosis and occurs in vivo in the blood as well as within the vascular wall. The present study attempted to explore whether polyphenolic flavonoids influence monocyte-endothelium interaction and lectin-like oxidised LDL receptor 1 (LOX-1) expression involved in the early development of atherosclerosis. The flavones luteolin and apigenin inhibited THP-1 cell adhesion onto oxidised LDL-activated human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC), while the flavanols of ( − )epigallocatechin gallate and (+)catechin, the flavonols of quercetin and rutin, and the flavanones of naringin, naringenin, hesperidin and hesperetin did not have such effects. Consistently, Western blot analysis revealed that the flavones at 25 μm dramatically and significantly abolished HUVEC expression of vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 and E-selectin evidently enhanced by oxidised LDL; these inhibitory effects were exerted by drastically down regulating mRNA levels of these cell adhesion molecules. In addition, quercetin and luteolin significantly attenuated expression of LOX-1 protein up regulated in oxidised LDL-activated HUVEC with a fall in transcriptional mRNA levels of LOX-1. In addition, quercetin and luteolin clearly blunted oxidised LDL uptake by HUVEC treated with oxidised LDL. The results demonstrate that the flavones luteolin and apigenin as well as quercetin were effective in the different initial steps of atherosclerosis process by inhibiting oxidised LDL-induced endothelial monocyte adhesion and/or oxidised LDL uptake. Therefore, certain flavonoids qualify as anti-atherogenic agents in LDL systems, which may have implications for strategies attenuating endothelial dysfunction-related atherosclerosis.
High plasma level of cholesterol is a well-known risk factor for atherosclerotic diseases. Oxidized LDL induces cellular and nuclear damage that leads to apoptotic cell death. We tested the hypothesis that flavonoids may function as antioxidants with regard to LDL incubated with 5 μm-Cu2+ alone or in combination with human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC). Cytotoxicity and formation of thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances induced by Cu2+-oxidized LDL were examined in the presence of various subtypes of flavonoid. Flavanols, flavonols and flavanones at a non-toxic dose of 50 μm markedly inhibited LDL oxidation by inhibiting the formation of peroxidative products. In contrast, the flavones luteolin and apigenin had no such effect, with >30 % of cells killed after exposure to 0.1 mg LDL/ml. Protective flavonoids, especially (−)-epigallocatechin gallate, quercetin, rutin and hesperetin, inhibited HUVEC nuclear condensation and fragmentation induced by Cu2+-oxidized LDL. In addition, immunochemical staining and Western blot analysis revealed that anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 expression was enhanced following treatment with these protective flavonoids. However, Bax expression and caspase-3 cleavage stimulated by 18 h incubation with oxidized LDL were reduced following treatment with these protective flavonoids. The down-regulation of Bcl-2 and up-regulation of caspase-3 activation were reversed by the cytoprotective flavonoids, (−)-epigallocatechin gallate, quercetin and hesperetin, at ≥10 μm. These results suggest that flavonoids may differentially prevent Cu2+-oxidized LDL-induced apoptosis and promote cell survival as potent antioxidants. Survival potentials of certain flavonoids against cytotoxic oxidized LDL appeared to stem from their disparate chemical structure. Furthermore, dietary flavonoids may have therapeutic potential for protecting the endothelium from oxidative stress and oxidized LDL-triggered atherogenesis.
The Na+-K+-2Cl- cotransporter (NKCC1) is responsible for ion transport across the secretory and absorptive epithelia, the regulation of cell volume, and possibly the modulation of cell growth and development. It has been reported that a variety of cells, including osteoblasts, contain this cotransporter. In this study, the physiological role of NKCC1 in osteoclastogenesis was exploited in a co-culture system. Bumetanide, a specific inhibitor of NKCC1, reduced the number of tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP)-positive multinucleated cells. In order to investigate the mechanism by which bumetanide inhibits osteoclastogenesis, the mRNA expressions of the receptor activator of nuclear factor (NF)-κB ligand (RANKL) and osteoprotegerin (OPG) were analysed by RT-PCR. Exposure of osteoblastic cells to a medium containing 1 µM bumetanide reduced RANKL mRNA expression induced by 10 nM 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1α,25(OH)2D3, in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, RANKL expression was also analysed with enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay (ELISA) using anti-RANKL antibody. The expression of RANKL was decreased with the increase of bumetanide concentration. In contrast, the expression of OPG mRNA, a novel tumour necrosis factor (TNF) receptor family member was increased in the presence of bumetanide. These results imply that bumetanide inhibits osteoclast differentiation by reducing the RANKL/OPG ratio in osteoblastic cells. However, no significant difference in M-CSF mRNA expression was observed when bumetanide was added. Also, we found that the phosphorylation of c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK), which regulates the activity of various transcriptional factors, was reduced by bumetanide treatment. Conclusively, these findings suggest that NKCC1 in osteoblasts has a pivotal role in 1α,25(OH)2D3-induced osteoclastogenesis partly via the phosphorylation of JNK. Experimental Physiology (2003) 88.5, 569-574.