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National validation of claims-based surveillance for surgical-site infections (SSIs) following colon surgery and abdominal hysterectomy.
Retrospective cohort study.
US hospitals selected for data validation by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
The study included 550 hospitals performing colon surgery and 458 hospitals performing abdominal hysterectomy in federal fiscal year 2013.
We requested 1,200 medical records from hospitals selected for validation as part of the CMS Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting program. For colon surgery, we sampled 60% with a billing code suggestive of SSI during their index admission and/or readmission within 30 days and 40% who were readmitted without one of these codes. For abdominal hysterectomy, we included all patients with an SSI code during their index admission, all patients readmitted within 30 days, and a sample of those with a prolonged surgical admission (length of stay > 7 days). We calculated sensitivity and positive predictive value for the different groups.
We identified 142 colon-surgery SSIs (46 superficial SSIs and 96 deep and organ-space SSIs) and 127 abdominal-hysterectomy SSIs (58 superficial SSIs and 69 deep and organ-space SSIs). Extrapolating to the full CMS data validation cohort, we estimated an SSI rate of 8.3% for colon surgery and 3.0% for abdominal hysterectomy. Our colon-surgery surveillance codes identified 93% of SSIs, with 1 SSI identified for every 2.6 patients reviewed. Our abdominal-hysterectomy surveillance codes identified 73% of SSIs, with 1 SSI identified for every 1.6 patients reviewed.
Using claims to target record review for SSI validation performed well in a national sample.
OBJECTIVES/GOALS: Supported by the State of Alabama, the Alabama Genomic Health Initiative (AGHI) is aimed at preventing and treating common conditions with a genetic basis. This joint UAB Medicine-HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology effort provides genomic testing, interpretation, and counseling free of charge to residents in each of Alabama’s 67 counties. METHODS/STUDY POPULATION: Launched in 2017, as a state-wide population cohort, AGHI (1.0) enrolled 6,331 Alabamians and returned individual risk of disease(s) related to the ACMG SF v2.0 medically actionable genes. In 2021, the cohort was expanded to include a primary care cohort. AGHI (2.0) has enrolled 750 primary care patients, returning individual risk of disease(s) related to the ACMG SF v3.1 gene list and pre-emptive pharmacogenetics (PGx) to guide medication therapy. Genotyping is done on the Illumina Global Diversity Array with Sanger sequencing to confirm likely pathogenic / pathogenic variants in medically actionable genes and CYP2D6 copy number variants using Taqman assays, resulting in a CLIA-grade report. Disease risk results are returned by genetic counselors and Pharmacogenetics results are returned by Pharmacists. RESULTS/ANTICIPATED RESULTS: We have engaged a statewide community (>7000 participants), returning 94 disease risk genetic reports and 500 PGx reports. Disease risk reports include increased predisposition to cancers (n=38), cardiac diseases (n=33), metabolic (n=12), other (n=11). 100% of participants harbor an actionable PGx variant, 70% are on medication with PGx guidance, 48% harbor PGx variants and are taking medications affected. In 10% of participants, pharmacists sent an active alert to the provider to consider/ recommend alternative medication. Most commonly impacted medications included antidepressants, NSAIDS, proton-pump inhibitors and tramadol. To enable the EMR integration of genomic information, we have developed an automated transfer of reports into the EMR with Genetics Reports and PGx reports viewable in Cerner. DISCUSSION/SIGNIFICANCE: We share our experience on pre-emptive implementation of genetic risk and pharmacogenetic actionability at a population and clinic level. Both patients and providers are actively engaged, providing feedback to refine the return of results. Real time alerts with guidance at the time of prescription are needed to ensure future actionability and value.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented a challenge to established seed grant funding mechanisms aimed at fostering collaboration in child health research between investigators at the University of Minnesota (UMN) and Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota (Children’s MN). We created a “rapid response,” small grant program to catalyze collaborations in child health COVID-19 research. In this paper, we describe the projects funded by this mechanism and metrics of their success.
Using seed funds from the UMN Clinical and Translational Science Institute, the UMN Medical School Department of Pediatrics, and the Children’s Minnesota Research Institute, a rapid response request for applications (RFAs) was issued based on the stipulations that the proposal had to: 1) consist of a clear, synergistic partnership between co-PIs from the academic and community settings; and 2) that the proposal addressed an area of knowledge deficit relevant to child health engendered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Grant applications submitted in response to this RFA segregated into three categories: family fragility and disruption exacerbated by COVID-19; knowledge gaps about COVID-19 disease in children; and optimizing pediatric care in the setting of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. A series of virtual workshops presented research results to the pediatric community. Several manuscripts and extramural funding awards underscored the success of the program.
A “rapid response” seed funding mechanism enabled nascent academic-community research partnerships during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the context of the rapidly evolving landscape of COVID-19, flexible seed grant programs can be useful in addressing unmet needs in pediatric health.
To investigate hospital room and patient-level risk factors associated with increased risk of healthcare-facility–onset Clostridioides difficile infection (HO-CDI).
The study used a retrospective cohort design that included patient data from the institution’s electronic health record, existing surveillance data on HO-CDI, and a walk-through survey of hospital rooms to identify potential room-level risk factors. The primary outcome was HO-CDI diagnosis.
A large academic medical center.
Patients and participants:
All adult patients admitted between January 1, 2015, and December 31, 2016 were eligible for inclusion. Prisoners were excluded. Patients who only stayed in rooms that were not surveyed were excluded.
The hospital room survey collected room-level data on 806 rooms. Included in the study were 17,034 patients without HO-CDI and 251 with HO-CDI nested within 535 unique rooms. In this exploratory study, room-level risk factors associated with the outcome in the multivariate model included wear on furniture and flooring and antibiotic use by the prior room occupant. Hand hygiene devices and fixed in-room computers were associated with reduced odds of a HO-CDI. Differences between hospital buildings were also detected. The only individual patient factors that were associated with increased odds of HO-CDI were antibiotic use and comorbidity score.
Combining a hospital-room walk-through data collection survey, EHR data, and CDI surveillance data, we were able to develop a model to investigate room and patient-level risks for HO-CDI.
Background: The association between antimicrobial use (AMU) and emergence of antimicrobial resistance is well documented. The Canadian Nosocomial Infection Surveillance Program (CNISP) has conducted sentinel surveillance of AMU at participating Canadian hospitals since 2009 resulting in the largest pan-Canadian hospital database of dispensed antimicrobials. Objectives: Describe interhospital variability of AMU across Canada. Methods: Hospitals submit annual AMU data based on patient days (PD). Antimicrobials were measured in defined daily doses (DDD) for adults using the WHO Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) system. The AMU data among pediatric patients have been available since 2017 using days of therapy (DOT). Surveillance includes systemic antibacterial agents (J01 ATC codes), oral metronidazole, and oral vancomycin. AMU was assessed using quintiles, interquartile ranges (IQR), and relative IQRs (upper- and lower-quartile values divided by the median). Results: Between 2009 and 2018, 20–26 hospitals participated in adult surveillance each year (35 teaching hospitals and 3 nonteaching hospitals participated in ≥1 year). Over this period, overall AMU decreased by 13% at participating adult hospitals from 645 to 560 DDD per 1,000 PD. AMU varied substantially between hospitals, but this variability decreased over time (Fig. 1). In 2009, the IQRs for overall AMU spanned 309 DDD per 1,000 PD, and in 2018 it spanned only 103 DDD per 1,000 PD. This decrease in variability was due to large decreases in use among hospitals with high use in 2009–2010. Among hospitals in the highest use quintile in 2009–2010, AMU decreased, on average, 44 DDD per 1,000 PD each year. Among hospitals in the lowest use quintile in 2009–2010, AMU increased, on average, 6 DDD per 1,000 PD each year. In 2018, antibiotics with the largest absolute IQR variability were cefazolin (61–113 DDD per 1,000 PD), piperacillin-tazobactam (32–64 DDD per 1,000 PD), and vancomycin (24–49 DDD per 1,000 PD). Among antibiotics with ≥1 DDD per 1,000 PD, antibiotics with the largest relative IQR variability were tobramycin (0.3–6 DDD per 1,000 PD), cefadroxil (0.08–9 DDD per 1,000 PD), and linezolid (0.2–3 DDD per 1,000 PD). In 2018, the IQR for overall pediatric AMU (n = 7 teaching hospitals) was 426–581 DOT per 1,000 PD. Antibiotics with the largest IQRs were vancomycin (0.6–58 DOT per 1,000 PD), cefazolin (33–88 DOT per 1,000 PD), and tobramycin (3–57 DOT per 1,000 PD). Among antibiotics with ≥1 DOT per 1,000 PD in 2018, antibiotics with the largest relative IQRs were tobramycin (3–57 DOT per 1,000 PD), cefuroxime (1–6 DOT per 1,000 PD), and amoxicillin (8–42 DOT per 1,000 PD). Conclusions: There is wide variation in overall antibiotic use across hospitals. Variation between AMU at adult hospitals has decreased between 2009 and 2018; in 2018, antibiotics with the largest IQRs were cefazolin and piperacillin-tazobactam. Benchmarking AMU is crucial for informing antimicrobial stewardship efforts.
Funding: CNISP is funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Disclosures: Allison McGeer reports funds to her institution from Pfizer and Merck for projects for which she is the principal investigator. She also reports consulting fees from Sanofi-Pasteur, Sunovion, GSK, Pfizer, and Cidara.
Personality factors analogous to the Big Five observed in humans are present in the great apes. However, few studies have examined the long-term stability of great ape personality, particularly using factor-based personality instruments. Here, we assessed overall group, and individual-level, stability of chimpanzee personality by collecting ratings for chimpanzees (N = 50) and comparing them with ratings collected approximately 10 years previously, using the same personality scale. The overall mean scores of three of the six factors differed across the two time points. Sex differences in personality were also observed, with overall sex differences found for three traits, and males and females showing different trajectories for two further traits over the 10 year period. Regardless of sex, rank-order stability analysis revealed strong stability for dominance; individuals who were dominant at the first time point were also dominant 10 years later. The other personality factors exhibited poor to moderate rank-order stability, indicating that individuals were variable in their rank-position consistency over time. As many studies assessing chimpanzee cognition rely on personality data collected several years prior to testing, these data highlight the importance of collecting current personality data when correlating them with cognitive performance.
Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New Jersey on October 29, 2012, resulting in widespread power outages and gasoline shortages. These events led to potentially toxic exposures and the need for information related to poisons/toxins in the environment. This report characterizes the New Jersey Poison Information and Education System (NJPIES) call patterns in the days immediately preceding, during, and after Hurricane Sandy to identify areas in need of public health education and prevention.
We examined NJPIES case data from October through December 2012. Most Sandy-related calls had been coded as such by NJPIES staff. Additional Sandy-related cases were identified by performing a case narrative review. Descriptive analyses were performed for timing, case frequencies, exposure substances, gender, caller site, type of information requests, and other data.
The most frequent Sandy-related exposures were gasoline and carbon monoxide (CO). Gasoline exposure cases were predominantly males and CO exposure cases, females (P < 0.0001). Other leading reasons for Sandy-related calls were poison information, food poisoning/spoilage information, and water contamination.
This analysis identified the need for enhanced public health education and intervention to improve the handling of gasoline and encourage the proper use of gasoline-powered generators and cleaning and cooking equipment, thus reducing toxic exposures.
The INSYTE study provides an understanding of the management of Parkinson disease psychosis (PDP) in actual practice settings, including use of antipsychotic (APs) and their impact on clinical, economic, and humanistic outcomes. Treatment paradigms or the benefits/consequences of various “real world” PDP treatment strategies have not been evaluated. Thus, providers may be using a wide range of AP treatment strategies that contrast with consensus recommendations.
The INSYTE study is enrolling up to 750 patients from up to 100 sites in the US. Data are compiled at the baseline (BL) visit and from standard-of-care follow up visits over 3 years. PDP treatment pathways are defined from 3 BL cohorts reflecting (1) no AP medication, (2) use of pimavanserin (PIM), or (3) other AP treatment. Information about APs used is collected at each follow-up visit: history, duration, dose, adjustment, and rationale for adjustment of treatment. Outcomes assessments (clinical, quality of life, disease burden) by the physician, patient, and caregiver are also collected. AP medication and outcomes data are analyzed for patients completing a BL and 1 follow up visit (FU1).
For 404 patients with BL and FU1 visits (mean 120.7 days from BL), 56.8% used no AP medications, 26.0% used PIM, and 13.6% used other APs at BL. The No Medication group was noted to be less severe in key BL disease parameters. Considering primary PDP treatments at BL and FU1 (including no treatment), 26 distinct pathways were being employed. 12.6% of patients had AP medication adjustments between BL and FU1 visits, most frequently from the non-PIM group. Adjustments of APs occurred in many forms: introduction of a single AP (64.7%%), introduction of multiple APs (5.9%), switching to another AP (3.9%), decreasing the number of APs (5.9%), and discontinuation (19.6%).
Multiple, divergent AP treatment strategies for PDP exist in actual practice. No identifiable BL characteristics correlated with the broad range of AP treatment pathways. The numerous distinct AP treatment pathways utilized (n=26) reflect discordance with the updated 2019 MDS evidence-based recommendations, which recognize only 2 APs as “efficacious” and “clinically useful”: pimavanserin and clozapine. Education of healthcare professionals remains a priority for PDP management.
To characterize nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) associated with case clusters at 3 medical facilities.
Retrospective cohort study using molecular typing of patient and water isolates.
Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMCs).
Isolation and identification of NTM from clinical and water samples using culture, MALDI-TOF, and gene population sequencing to determine species and genetic relatedness. Clinical data were abstracted from electronic health records.
An identical strain of Mycobacterium conceptionense was isolated from 41 patients at VA Medical Centers (VAMCs A, B, and D), and from VAMC A’s ICU ice machine. Isolates were initially identified as other NTM species within the M. fortuitum clade. Sequencing analyses revealed that they were identical M. conceptionense strains. Overall, 7 patients (17%) met the criteria for pulmonary or nonpulmonary infection with NTM, and 13 of 41 (32%) were treated with effective antimicrobials regardless of infection or colonization status. Separately, a M. mucogenicum patient strain from VAMC A matched a strain isolated from a VAMC B ICU ice machine. VAMC C, in a different state, had a 4-patient cluster with Mycobacterium porcinum. Strains were identical to those isolated from sink-water samples at this facility.
NTM from hospital water systems are found in hospitalized patients, often during workup for other infections, making attribution of NTM infection problematic. Variable NTM identification methods and changing taxonomy create challenges for epidemiologic investigation and linkage to environmental sources.
Postgraduate researchers (PGRs), both collectively and individually, represent one of the most important cohorts in English Studies. It takes a considerable investment of time and intellectual energy to produce research commensurate with a PhD, and that work supports the future of English Studies. The award of the PhD is a remarkable individual achievement that we rarely celebrate collectively as a discipline. As a cohort, postgraduate researchers are supported by their supervisors, academic departments and institutions; they are offered training that is both discipline-specific and that cultivates professional development and wider skills necessary for their future careers. Yet, postgraduates are also precarious. Funding for research is highly competitive and increasingly rare; opportunities to teach, if available, are often provided via shortterm contracts with few benefits and little or no support for research or professional development. That those who represent one significant future for English Studies in its broadest sense experience such precarity is increasingly recognised. The most recent example, perhaps, is the free membership extended by the University and College Union (UCU) to postgraduates on teaching contracts or working within teaching and support (see https://www.ucu.org.uk/free). Research councils such as the AHRC commit funding to postgraduates through a variety of routes such as Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) and also provide opportunities, policy and support for career development. And subject organisations such as the EA and UE consider postgraduate support and development central to our work.
What of postgraduates themselves, however? In what sense are their voices heard whether as individuals or as a cohort similar to that of the ECA? English: Shared Futures (E:SF) provided an opportunity for postgraduates to present their work and for participants to engage with it. Aside from conference participation, however, the voice of the postgraduate researcher is most often heard within professional settings such as the department meeting, the Graduate Centre, College or School, or the research council. Listening to those who represent the various futures of our discipline outside these formal settings, however, is also vital. For this chapter, I invited three researchers, postgraduates or post-PhDs themselves, who had attended the E:SF conference to reflect on their experience in ways that they felt appropriate. I'm grateful to Emily Ennis, Lewi Mondal and Helen Saunders for their willingness to take up my invitation: their voices follow.
High Na intake and chronically elevated cortisol levels are independently associated with the development of chronic diseases. In adults, high Na intake is associated with high levels of urinary cortisol. We aimed to determine the association between urinary Na and K and urinary cortisol in a cross-sectional sample of Australian schoolchildren and their mothers. Participants were a sample of Australian children (n 120) and their mothers (n 100) recruited through primary schools. We assessed Na, K, free cortisol and cortisol metabolites in one 24 h urine collection. Associations between 24 h urinary electrolytes and 24 h urinary cortisol were assessed using multilevel mixed-effects linear regression models. In children, urinary Na was positively associated with urinary free cortisol (β=0·31, 95 % CI 0·19, 0·44) and urinary cortisol metabolites (β=0·006, 95 % CI 0·002, 0·010). Positive associations were also observed between urinary K and urinary free cortisol (β=0·65, 95 % CI 0·23, 1·07) and urinary cortisol metabolites (β=0·02, 95 % CI 0·03, 0·031). In mothers, urinary Na was positively associated with urinary free cortisol (β=0·23, 95 % CI 0·01, 0·50) and urinary cortisol metabolites (β=0·008, 95 % CI 0·0007, 0·016). Our findings show that daily Na and K intake were positively associated with cortisol production in children and their mothers. Investigation of the mechanisms involved and the potential impact of Na reduction on cortisol levels in these populations is warranted.
While previous work showed that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention toolkit for carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) can reduce spread regionally, these interventions are costly, and decisions makers want to know whether and when economic benefits occur.
Orange County, California
Using our Regional Healthcare Ecosystem Analyst (RHEA)-generated agent-based model of all inpatient healthcare facilities, we simulated the implementation of the CRE toolkit (active screening of interfacility transfers) in different ways and estimated their economic impacts under various circumstances.
Compared to routine control measures, screening generated cost savings by year 1 when hospitals implemented screening after identifying ≤20 CRE cases (saving $2,000–$9,000) and by year 7 if all hospitals implemented in a regional coordinated manner after 1 hospital identified a CRE case (hospital perspective). Cost savings was achieved only if hospitals independently screened after identifying 10 cases (year 1, third-party payer perspective). Cost savings was achieved by year 1 if hospitals independently screened after identifying 1 CRE case and by year 3 if all hospitals coordinated and screened after 1 hospital identified 1 case (societal perspective). After a few years, all strategies cost less and have positive health effects compared to routine control measures; most strategies generate a positive cost-benefit each year.
Active screening of interfacility transfers garnered cost savings in year 1 of implementation when hospitals acted independently and by year 3 if all hospitals collectively implemented the toolkit in a coordinated manner. Despite taking longer to manifest, coordinated regional control resulted in greater savings over time.
This essay examines three schools in New York City—the City and Country School founded in 1914—and two founded in 1974 and 1984—Central Park East Elementary School 1 and Central Park East Secondary School—with respect to how they reflected Deweyan pedagogic practices and Dewey's belief in democratic education.1 It analyzes whether such pedagogic practices can be maintained over time. City and Country, founded by Caroline Pratt, reflected many of Dewey's ideas and remains true to its founder's vision today. CPE 1 founded by Deborah Meier with five teachers reflected the progressive ideas of its founder, many of which were consistent with Deweyan philosophy. It remains progressive although there have been recent attempts to make it more traditional. CPESS, founded by Deborah Meier, reflected both Deweyan philosophy and the ideas of Theodore Sizer. After Meier left in the 1990s, the school became less progressive and eventually was closed and then reopened as a traditional high school. These histories indicate that Dewey's work on education was at the core of all of these schools’ philosophies and practices. Although there have been uneven successes in keeping Dewey's progressive practices alive, they demonstrate that Dewey's work is relevant and is being practiced today.
To assess hospital surgical-site infection (SSI) identification and reporting following colon surgery and abdominal hysterectomy via a statewide external validation
Infection preventionists (IPs) from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) performed on-site SSI validation for surgical procedures performed in hospitals that voluntarily participated. Validation involved chart review of SSI cases previously reported by hospitals plus review of patient records flagged for review by claims codes suggestive of SSI. We assessed the sensitivity of traditional surveillance and the added benefit of claims-based surveillance. We also evaluated the positive predictive value of claims-based surveillance (ie, workload efficiency).
Upon validation review, CDPH IPs identified 239 SSIs following colon surgery at 42 hospitals and 76 SSIs following abdominal hysterectomy at 34 hospitals. For colon surgery, traditional surveillance had a sensitivity of 50% (47% for deep incisional or organ/space [DI/OS] SSI), compared to 84% (88% for DI/OS SSI) for claims-based surveillance. For abdominal hysterectomy, traditional surveillance had a sensitivity of 68% (67% for DI/OS SSI) compared to 74% (78% for DI/OS SSI) for claims-based surveillance. Claims-based surveillance was also efficient, with 1 SSI identified for every 2 patients flagged for review who had undergone abdominal hysterectomy and for every 2.6 patients flagged for review who had undergone colon surgery. Overall, CDPH identified previously unreported SSIs in 74% of validation hospitals performing colon surgery and 35% of validation hospitals performing abdominal hysterectomy.
Claims-based surveillance is a standardized approach that hospitals can use to augment traditional surveillance methods and health departments can use for external validation.
The Middle Cambrian Spence Shale Member (Langston Formation) and Wheeler and Marjum Formations of Utah are known to contain a diverse soft-bodied fauna, but important new paleontological material continues to be uncovered from these strata. New specimens of anomalocaridids include the largest and smallest near complete examples yet reported from Utah. New material of stem group arthropods includes two new genera and species of arachnomorphs: Nettapezoura basilika and Dicranocaris guntherorum. Other new arachnomorph material includes a new species of Leanchoilia comparable to L. protogonia Simonetta, 1970; Leanchoilia superlata? Walcott, 1912; Sidneyia Walcott, 1911a; and Mollisonia symmetrica Walcott, 1912. L. protogonia from the Burgess Shale is confirmed as a separate species and is not a composite fossil. The first example of the trilobite Elrathia kingii preserving traces of the appendages is described. In addition, new material of the bivalved arthropods Canadaspis Novozhilov in Orlov, 1960; Branchiocaris Briggs, 1976; Waptia Walcott, 1912; and Isoxys Walcott, 1890 is described.
To assess the time-dependent exposure of California healthcare facilities to patients harboring methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)–producing Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) upon discharge from 1 hospital.
Retrospective multiple-cohort study of adults discharged from 1 hospital in 2005–2009, counting hospitals, nursing homes, cities, and counties in which carriers were readmitted, and comparing the number and length of stay of readmissions and the number of distinct readmission facilities among carriers versus noncarriers.
We evaluated 45,772 inpatients including those with MRSA (N=1,198), VRE (N=547), ESBL (N=121), and CDI (N=300). Within 1 year of discharge, MRSA, VRE, and ESBL carriers exposed 137, 117, and 45 hospitals and 103, 83, and 37 nursing homes, generating 58,804, 33,486, and 15,508 total exposure-days, respectively. Within 90 days of discharge, CDI patients exposed 36 hospitals and 35 nursing homes, generating 7,318 total exposure-days. Compared with noncarriers, carriers had more readmissions to hospitals (MRSA:1.8 vs 0.9/patient; VRE: 2.6 vs 0.9; ESBL: 2.3 vs 0.9; CDI: 0.8 vs 0.4; all P<.001) and nursing homes (MRSA: 0.4 vs 0.1/patient; VRE: 0.7 vs 0.1; ESBL: 0.7 vs 0.1; CDI: 0.3 vs 0.1; all P<.001) and longer hospital readmissions (MRSA: 8.9 vs 7.3 days; VRE: 8.9 vs 7.4; ESBL: 9.6 vs 7.5; CDI: 12.3 vs 8.2; all P<.01).
Patients harboring antibiotic-resistant pathogens rapidly expose numerous facilities during readmissions; regional containment strategies are needed.
Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2015;36(11):1275–1282
We report here six families with Parkinson's disease in whom the onset of symptoms tended to occur at approximately the same time irrespective of the age of the patient. The mean difference in the time of onset in different generations was 4.6 years while the mean difference in age of onset in children and parents was 25.2 years. We construe this pattern of age separation within families as suggestive of an environmental rather than genetic cause. Support for this view derives from the lack of correlation between occurrence of the disease and the degree of consanguinity. We conclude that our findings are in accord with the hypothesis which attributes the cause of some cases of Parkinson's disease to early, subclinical environmental damage followed by age-related attrition of neurons within the central nervous system.