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Background: SARS-CoV-2 infection of healthcare workers (HCWs) occasionally occurs via acquisition from their colleagues. Data regarding the infection rates of HCWs with close contact and non–close contacts of HCWs are limited. In addition, the protective effect of COVID-19 vaccination against transmission between HCWs is unknown. We evaluated the infection rates of HCWs with close contact and non–close contact of infected HCWs and the effect of COVID-19 vaccination on transmission among HCWs in a tertiary-care hospital in South Korea. Methods: This study was performed in a tertiary-care hospital in Korea. We analyzed the COVID-19 cases and contacts among HCWs from January to December 2021. We reviewed the vaccination status of confirmed and exposed HCWs, the type of vaccination, and the infection rate according to the contact. We performed subgroup analyses in individuals who had been diagnosed since July 2021 when the δ (delta) variant became the dominant strain in South Korea. Transmission was defined based on their spatiotemporal epidemiologic association. Results: During the study period, 173 HCWs had COVID-19, and 2,693 HCWs were exposed to them. Among them, 18 (1.52%) of 1,186 close contacts and 13 (0.86%) of 1,507 non–close contacts had a positive SARS-CoV-2 test (P = .11). When the index cases had been fully vaccinated, the infection rate of close contacts was 0.85% (7 of 820), whereas the infection rate of close contacts was 3.01% (11 of 366) when the index had not been fully vaccinated (P = .005). However, the infection rate of non–close contacts was not different according to the vaccination status of index (0.83% vs 0.89%; P = .90). During the period of δ (delta) variant being dominant, the infection rate of close contacts was significantly lower when the index case had been fully vaccinated index than in cases with a non–fully vaccinated index case (0.85% vs 5.88%; P < .001). Conclusions: Transmission to colleagues was significantly lower from vaccinated HCWs than from nonvaccinated HCWs, and this finding was more significant in the era of the δ (delta) variant. Our findings support the importance of vaccination in HCWs.
We quantitatively assessed the fit failure rate of N95 respirators according to the number of donning/doffing and hours worn.
A tertiary-care referral center in South Korea.
In total, 10 infection control practitioners participated in the fit test.
The first experiment comprised 4 consecutive 1-hour donnings and fit tests between each donning. The second experiment comprised 2 consecutive 3-hour donnings and fit tests between each donning. The final experiment comprised fit tests after an 1-hour donning or a 2-hour donning.
For 1-hour donnings, 60%, 70%, and 90% of the participants had fit failures after 2, 3, and 4 consecutive donnings, respectively. For 3-hour donnings, 50% had fit failure after the first donning and 70% had failures after 2 consecutive donnings. All participants passed the fit test after refitting whenever fit failure occurred. The final experiment showed that 50% had fit failure after a single use of 1 hour, and 30% had fit failure after a single use of 2 hours.
High fit-failure rates were recorded after repeated donning and extended use of N95 respirators. Caution is needed for reuse (≥1 time) and extended use (≥1 hour) of N95 respirators in high-risk settings such as those involving aerosol-generating procedures. Although adequate refitting may recover the fit factor, the use of clean gloves and strict hand hygiene afterward should be ensured when touching the outer surfaces of N95 respirators for refitting.
Epidemiological data on the association between mental disorders and the risk of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) severity are limited.
To evaluate the association between mental disorders and the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe outcomes following COVID-19.
We performed a cohort study using the Korean COVID-19 patient database based on national health insurance data. Each person with a mental or behavioural disorder (diagnosed during the 6 months prior to their first SARS-CoV-2 test) was matched by age, gender and Charlson Comorbidity Index with up to four people without mental disorders. SARS-CoV-2-positivity risk and the risk of death or severe events (intensive care unit admission, use of mechanical ventilation and acute respiratory distress syndrome) post-infection were calculated using conditional logistic regression analysis.
Among 230 565 people tested for SARS-CoV-2, 33 653 (14.6%) had mental disorders; 928/33 653 (2.76%) tested SARS-CoV-2 positive and 56/928 (6.03%) died. In multivariable analysis using the matched cohort, there was no association between mental disorders and SARS-CoV-2-positivity risk (odds ratio OR = 0.95; 95% CI 0.87–1.04); however, a higher risk was associated with schizophrenia-related disorders (OR = 1.50; 95% CI 1.14–1.99). Among confirmed COVID-19 patients, the mortality risk was significantly higher in patients with than in those without mental disorders (OR = 1.99, 95% CI 1.15–3.43).
Mental disorders are likely contributing factors to mortality following COVID-19. Although the infection risk was not higher for people with mental disorders overall, those with schizophrenia-related disorders were more vulnerable to infection.
Late Pleistocene carbon isotope (δ13C) records from a paleolithic sedimentary sequence collected from Baeki, Hongcheon, central Korea, show long-term changes with superimposed short-term isotopic excursions. The δ13C value of the sedimentary organic matter, a proxy for past vegetation change, varied from − 26‰ to − 23‰ for the period between 30 and 90 ka, with a long-term variation similar to insolation changes. High-amplitude (− 1‰ to approximately − 1.5‰) fluctuations superimposed on the long-term changes in the δ13C values decreased during stronger summer monsoon intervals but increased during the weakened summer monsoon. This millennial-scale pattern is generally similar to Greenland Dansgaard–Oeschger (D–O) cycles. The possible connection between the Hongcheon area, Korea and high latitudes may be explained by atmospheric circulation changing in response to the D–O oscillations in the Northern Hemisphere.
To trace past changes in flooding frequency, we investigated fluvial sediments in the middle reach of the Nakdong River, South Korea. Sediments with larger grain size, lower total organic carbon percentage, and depleted δ13C values in the recovered sediment cores were interpreted as periods of more frequent flooding. Patterns of decreased long-term flooding frequency and vegetation changes during the early to late Holocene were similar to the decreasing regional summer monsoon intensity. Multicentennial frequent flooding periods in the study area (2900–3400 cal yr BP, 3600–3900 cal yr BP, 4600–5300 cal yr BP, and 5800–6400 cal yr BP) corresponded to stronger El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) activity periods. Based on previous studies showing that high-frequency tropical typhoon-driven coastal inundation along the western coast of Japan during the middle to late Holocene was coupled with stronger ENSO activity, it is likely that the observed centennial-to-millennial-scale flood frequency change in South Korea was influenced mainly by changes in the genesis and tracks of tropical typhoons at centennial-to-millennial time scales. This suggests that the centennial-to-millennial-scale hydrologic changes in East Asia were linked to the remote atmospheric-oceanic circulation changes represented by an ENSO-like pattern.
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
We investigated the pressure dependence of the inductive coupled plasma (ICP) oxidation on the electrical characteristics of the thin oxide films. Activation energies and electron temperatures with different pressures were estimated. To demonstrate the pressure effect on the plasma oxide quality, simple N type metal-oxide-semiconductor (NMOS) transistors were fabricated and investigated in a few electrical properties. At higher pressure than 200mTorr, plasma oxide has a slightly higher on-current and a lower interfacial trap density. The on-current gain seems to be related to the field mobility increase and the lower defective interface to the electron temperature during oxidation.
The present study was designed to define how dietary fat type regulates body adiposity in dietary obesity-susceptible (DOS) Sprague–Dawley (SD) rats. Eighty-three SD rats received a purified diet containing 50 g maize oil (MO)/kg for 3 weeks and then thirty-nine of the rats, designated as the DOS rats, were allotted to diets containing 160 g MO (DOS-MO), beef tallow (DOS-BT) or fish oil (DOS-FO)/kg for 9 weeks. As a result of the experiment, the DOS-FO rats had significantly (P<0·05) reduced weight gain and abdominal and epididymal fat-pad mass than the DOS-MO and DOS-BT rats. Serum leptin level was also significantly (P<0·05) lower in the DOS-FO rats; however, hypothalamic leptin receptor (a and b) mRNA and neuropeptide Y expressions were not altered by dietary fat sources. A lower acetyl-CoA carboxylase mRNA expression in the liver was observed in the DOS-FO group, whereas hepatic peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ mRNA and protein expressions were markedly elevated in the DOS-FO group compared with those in the other groups. We did not observe differences in acetyl-CoA carboxylase and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ expressions in epididymal fat of the DOS rats consuming MO, BT or FO. It is concluded from our present observations that dietary fat type, especially that rich in FO, plays a potential role in down-regulation of adiposity by altering hepatic lipogenic genes, rather than feeding behaviour, in the DOS-SD rats.
Strip-shaped diamond-tip field emitter array was fabricated by using the transfer mold technique. The sharp turn-on characteristic was observed from the current-voltage measurement of the fabricated diamond-tip field emitter array. The turn-on characteristic of the diamond-tip field emitter array was compared with that of a flat diamond film. High emission current density was obtained from the diamond-tip field emitter array. The threshold voltage of the diamond-tip field emitter array was lower than that of a flat diamond film.
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