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Schistosomiasis has been subjected to extensive control efforts in the People's Republic of China (China) which aims to eliminate the disease by 2030. We describe baseline results of a longitudinal cohort study undertaken in the Dongting and Poyang lakes areas of central China designed to determine the prevalence of Schistosoma japonicum in humans, animals (goats and bovines) and Oncomelania snails utilizing molecular diagnostics procedures. Data from the Chinese National Schistosomiasis Control Programme (CNSCP) were compared with the molecular results obtained.
Sixteen villages from Hunan and Jiangxi provinces were surveyed; animals were only found in Hunan. The prevalence of schistosomiasis in humans was 1.8% in Jiangxi and 8.0% in Hunan determined by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), while 18.3% of animals were positive by digital droplet PCR. The CNSCP data indicated that all villages harboured S. japonicum-infected individuals, detected serologically by indirect haemagglutination assay (IHA), but very few, if any, of these were subsequently positive by Kato-Katz (KK).
Based on the outcome of the IHA and KK results, the CNSCP incorporates targeted human praziquantel chemotherapy but this approach can miss some infections as evidenced by the results reported here. Sensitive molecular diagnostics can play a key role in the elimination of schistosomiasis in China and inform control measures allowing for a more systematic approach to treatment.
The trace elements in quartz, Al and Ti, contain considerable information about mineral genesis, and determining their concentrations is of great importance in geology. Electron probe microanalysis has the advantages of non-destructive testing and high spatial resolution; however, it is a challenge to improve the accuracy and precision of trace element detection using this method. The important factors affecting accuracy include the fragility of quartz lattices at high beam currents and the methods used to determine the background. In this paper, the peaks of Al-Kα and Ti-Kα, and their backgrounds, were found to exhibit intensity variations at high beam currents and small beam diameters; therefore, it is necessary to select a large beam diameter (up to 20 µm) to avoid variations in intensity at high currents (500 nA). For background determination of Al, a multipoint background method is proposed to determine the background value, which greatly improves the accuracy of the results. For Ti, the choice of background measurement does not affect the result. In addition, it is verified that the background obtained from other quartz samples can be used as the background of an unknown quartz sample, which reduces the analysis time and minimizes sample damage.
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