Canine rabies can be effectively controlled by vaccination with readily available, high-quality vaccines. These vaccines should provide protection from challenge in healthy dogs, for the claimed period, for duration of immunity, which is often two or three years. It has been suggested that, in free-roaming dog populations where rabies is endemic, vaccine-induced protection may be compromised by immuno-suppression through malnutrition, infection and other stressors. This may reduce the proportion of dogs that seroconvert to the vaccine during vaccination campaigns and the duration of immunity of those dogs that seroconvert. Vaccination coverage may also be limited through insufficient vaccine delivery during vaccination campaigns and the loss of vaccinated individuals from populations through demographic processes. This is the first longitudinal study to evaluate temporal variations in rabies vaccine-induced serological responses, and factors associated with these variations, at the individual level in previously unvaccinated free-roaming dog populations. Individual-level serological and health-based data were collected from three cohorts of dogs in regions where rabies is endemic, one in South Africa and two in Indonesia. We found that the vast majority of dogs seroconverted to the vaccine; however, there was considerable variation in titres, partly attributable to illness and lactation at the time of vaccination. Furthermore, >70% of the dogs were vaccinated through community engagement and door-to-door vaccine delivery, even in Indonesia where the majority of the dogs needed to be caught by net on successive occasions for repeat blood sampling and vaccination. This demonstrates the feasibility of achieving population-level immunity in free-roaming dog populations in rabies-endemic regions. However, attrition of immune individuals through demographic processes and waning immunity necessitates repeat vaccination of populations within at least two years to ensure communities are protected from rabies. These findings support annual mass vaccination campaigns as the most effective means to control canine rabies.
Much of the complexity of multicolor flow cytometry experiments lies within the development of antibody staining panels and the standardization of instruments. In this article, we propose a theoretical metric and describe how measurements of sensitivity and resolution can be used to predict the success of panels, and ensure that performance across instruments is standardized (i.e., inter-instrument standardization). Sensitivity can be determined by summing two major contributors of background, background originating from the instrument (optical noise and electronic noise) and background due to the experimental conditions (i.e., Raman scatter, and spillover spreading arising from other fluorochromes in the panel). The former we define as Bcal and the latter we define as Bsos . The combination of instrument and experiment background is defined as Btot . Importantly, the Btot will affect the degree of panel separation, therefore the greater the degree of Btot the lower the separation potential. In contrast, resolution is a measure of separation between populations. Resolution is directly proportional to the number of photoelectrons generated per molecule of excited fluorochrome and is known as the "Q" value. Q and Btot values can be used to define the performance of each detector on an instrument and together they can be used to calculate a separation index. Hence, detectors with known Q and Btot values can be used to evaluate panel success based on the detector specific separation index. However, the current technologies do not enable measurements of Q and Btot values for all parameters, but new technology to allow these measurements will likely be introduced in the near future. Nonetheless, Q and Btot measurements can aid in panel development, and reveal sources of instrument-to-instrument variation in panel performance. In addition, Q and B values can form the basis for a comprehensive and versatile quality assurance program. Published 2014 Wiley Periodicals Inc.
The factors that contribute to musculoskeletal healthcare disparities may influence the results of studies regarding the long-term outcome of orthopaedic implants. Patient decisions regarding their healthcare and their subsequent outcomes are influenced by health literacy. Providing patients with the information that they need to consent to treatment must be provided in a culturally competent manner. The influence of the physician or healthcare provider on the treatment choice varies depending on the type of decision-making process: patient-based, physician-based, or shared decision making. Respecting the patient's autonomy while acknowledging the knowledge and experience of the physician, we advocate for shared decision making. This may require modification of existing regulations regarding informed consent. Furthermore, federal and state directives have been put into place to address healthcare disparities, especially with respect to culturally competent care and access to proper healthcare.
Emerging zoonotic pathogens from wildlife pose increasing public health threats globally. Bats, in particular, host an array of zoonotic pathogens, yet there is little research on how bats and humans interact, how people perceive bats and their accompanying disease risk, or who is most at risk. Eidolon helvum, the largest and most abundant African fruit bat species, is widely hunted and eaten in Ghana and also carries potentially zoonotic pathogens. This combination raises concerns, as hunting and butchering bushmeat are common sources of zoonotic transmission. Through a combination of interviews with 577 Ghanaians across southern Ghana, we identified the characteristics of people involved in the bat-bushmeat trade and we explored their perceptions of risk. Bat hunting, selling and consumption are widely distributed across regional and ethnic lines, with hotspots in certain localities, while butchering is predominantly done by women and active hunters. Interviewees held little belief of disease risk from bats, saw no ecological value in fruit bats and associated the consumption of bats with specific tribes. These data can be used to inform disease and conservation management plans, drawing on social contexts and ensuring that local voices are heard within the larger global effort to study and mitigate outbreaks.
We present a very simple method for measuring the spatial coherence of quasi-monochromatic fields through the comparison of two measurements of the radiant intensity with and without a small obscuration at the test plane. From these measurements one can measure simultaneously the field's coherence at all pairs of points whose centroid is the centroid of the obstacle. This method can be implemented without the need of any refractive or diffractive focusing elements.
Dentists continue to play a valuable role in the identification of victims in a mass disaster. Individuals and multidisciplinary teams are available to assist authorities in the process. Training, experience and advances in technology continue to improve the efficiency of the identification process.
Between April 2012 and June 2014, 820 laboratory-confirmed cases of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) have been reported in the Arabian Peninsula, Europe, North Africa, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and the United States. The observed epidemiology is different to SARS, which showed a classic epidemic curve and was over in eight months. The much longer persistence of MERS-CoV in the population, with a lower reproductive number, some evidence of human-to-human transmission but an otherwise sporadic pattern, is difficult to explain. Using available epidemiological data, we implemented mathematical models to explore the transmission dynamics of MERS-CoV in the context of mass gatherings such as the Hajj pilgrimage, and found a discrepancy between the observed and expected epidemiology. The fact that no epidemic occurred in returning Hajj pilgrims in either 2012 or 2013 contradicts the long persistence of the virus in human populations. The explanations for this discrepancy include an ongoing, repeated nonhuman/sporadic source, a large proportion of undetected or unreported human-to-human cases, or a combination of the two. Furthermore, MERS-CoV is occurring in a region that is a major global transport hub and hosts significant mass gatherings, making it imperative to understand the source and means of the yet unexplained and puzzling ongoing persistence of the virus in the human population.
Laboratory animal models have provided valuable insight into foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) pathogenesis in epidemiologically important target species. While not perfect, these models have delivered an accelerated time frame to characterize the immune responses in natural hosts and a platform to evaluate therapeutics and vaccine candidates at a reduced cost. Further expansion of these models in mice has allowed access to genetic mutations not available for target species, providing a powerful and versatile experimental system to interrogate the immune response to FMDV and to target more expensive studies in natural hosts. The purpose of this review is to describe commonly used FMDV infection models in laboratory animals and to cite examples of when these models have failed or successfully provided insight relevant for target species, with an emphasis on natural and vaccine-induced immunity.
A recent revival in using cephalopods as experimental animals has rekindled interest in their biology and life cycles, information with direct applications also in the rapidly growing ornamental aquarium species trade and in commercial aquaculture production for human consumption. Cephalopods have high rates of growth and food conversion, which for aquaculture translates into short culture cycles, high ratios of production to biomass and high cost-effectiveness. However, at present, only small-scale culture is possible and only for a few species: the cuttlefish Sepia officinalis, the loliginid squid Sepioteuthis lessoniana and the octopuses Octopus maya and O. vulgaris. These four species are the focus of this chapter, the aims of which are as follows: (1) to provide an overview of the culture requirements of cephalopods, (2) to highlight the physical and nutritional requirements at each phase of the life cycle regarded as essential for successful full-scale culture and (3) to identify current limitations and the topics on which further research is required. Knowledge of cephalopod culture methods is advanced, but commercialization is still constrained by the highly selective feeding habits of cephalopods and their requirement for large quantities of high-quality (preferably live) feed, particularly in the early stages of development. Future research should focus on problems related to the consistent production of viable numbers of juveniles, the resolution of which requires a better understanding of nutrition at all phases of the life cycle and better broodstock management, particularly regarding developments in genetic selection, control of reproduction and quality of eggs and offspring.
Bats are sources of high viral diversity and high-profile zoonotic viruses worldwide. Although apparently not pathogenic in their reservoir hosts, some viruses from bats severely affect other mammals, including humans. Examples include severe acute respiratory syndrome coronaviruses, Ebola and Marburg viruses, and Nipah and Hendra viruses. Factors underlying high viral diversity in bats are the subject of speculation. We hypothesize that flight, a factor common to all bats but to no other mammals, provides an intensive selective force for coexistence with viral parasites through a daily cycle that elevates metabolism and body temperature analogous to the febrile response in other mammals. On an evolutionary scale, this host-virus interaction might have resulted in the large diversity of zoonotic viruses in bats, possibly through bat viruses adapting to be more tolerant of the fever response and less virulent to their natural hosts.
Primary angiitis of the central nervous system is a rare disease of unclear etiology. There is no single test diagnostic of primary angiitis of the central nervous system. We report an unusual pattern on brain magnetic resonance imaging that might be specific for primary angiitis of the central nervous system.
The role of social distancing measures in mitigating pandemic influenza is not precisely understood. To this end, we have conducted a systematised review, particularly in light of the 2009 pandemic influenza, to better inform the role of social distancing measures against pandemic influenza. Articles were identified from relevant databases and the data were synthesised to provide evidence on the role of school or work place-based interventions, case-based distancing (self-isolation, quarantine), and restriction of mobility and mass gatherings. School closure, whether proactive or reactive, appears to be moderately effective and acceptable in reducing the transmission of influenza and in delaying the peak of an epidemic but is associated with very high secondary costs. Voluntary home isolation and quarantine are also effective and acceptable measures but there is an increased risk of intra-household transmission from index cases to contacts. Work place-related interventions like work closure and home working are also modestly effective and are acceptable, but likely to be economically disruptive. Internal mobility restriction is effective only if prohibitively high (50% of travel) restrictions are applied and mass gatherings occurring within 10 days before the epidemic peak are likely to increase the risk of transmission of influenza.
Stem cell-based approaches to restore function after stroke through replacement of dead neurons require the generation of specific neuronal subtypes. Loss of neurons in the cerebral cortex is a major cause of stroke-induced neurological deficits in adult humans. Reprogramming of adult human somatic cells to induced pluripotent stem cells is a novel approach to produce patient-specific cells for autologous transplantation. Whether such cells can be converted to functional cortical neurons that survive and give rise to behavioural recovery after transplantation in the stroke-injured cerebral cortex is not known. We have generated progenitors in vitro, expressing specific cortical markers and giving rise to functional neurons, from long-term self-renewing neuroepithelial-like stem cells, produced from adult human fibroblast-derived induced pluripotent stem cells. At 2 months after transplantation into the stroke-damaged rat cortex, the cortically fated cells showed less proliferation and more efficient conversion to mature neurons with morphological and immunohistochemical characteristics of a cortical phenotype and higher axonal projection density as compared with non-fated cells. Pyramidal morphology and localization of the cells expressing the cortex-specific marker TBR1 in a certain layered pattern provided further evidence supporting the cortical phenotype of the fated, grafted cells, and electrophysiological recordings demonstrated their functionality. Both fated and non-fated cell-transplanted groups showed bilateral recovery of the impaired function in the stepping test compared with vehicle-injected animals. The behavioural improvement at this early time point was most likely not due to neuronal replacement and reconstruction of circuitry. At 5 months after stroke in immunocompromised rats, there was no tumour formation and the grafted cells exhibited electrophysiological properties of mature neurons with evidence of integration in host circuitry. Our findings show, for the first time, that human skin-derived induced pluripotent stem cells can be differentiated to cortical neuronal progenitors, which survive, differentiate to functional neurons and improve neurological outcome after intracortical implantation in a rat stroke model.
Holding tight: An artificial membrane nanopore assembled from DNA oligonucleotides carries porphyrin tags (red), which anchor the nanostructure into the lipid bilayer. The porphyrin moieties also act as fluorescent dyes to aid the microscopic visualization of the DNA nanopore.
This article describes our efforts to develop an asymmetric synthesis of bisbenzannulated spiroketals using a chiral sulfoxide auxiliary. Our primary focus was on the synthesis of the 3H-spiro[benzofuran-2,2-chroman] ring system, the spirocyclic core of the rubromycin family. Our strategy employed the use of lithium-halogen exchange on a racemic bromospiroketal in order to attach a chiral sulfoxide, thus producing two diastereomers. The diastereomers were separable, enabling isolation of each spiroketal enantiomer. Subsequent cleavage of the sulfoxide group from each diastereomer yielded the respective parent spiroketal in high enantiopurity.
Reservoir hosts of novel pathogens are often identified or suspected as such on the basis of serological assay results, prior to the isolation of the pathogen itself. Serological assays might therefore be used outside of their original, validated scope in order to infer seroprevalences in reservoir host populations, until such time that specific diagnostic assays can be developed. This is particularly the case in wildlife disease research. The absence of positive and negative control samples and gold standard diagnostic assays presents challenges in determining an appropriate threshold, or cutoff, for the assay that enables differentiation between seronegative and seropositive individuals. Here, multiple methods were explored to determine an appropriate cutoff for a multiplexed microsphere assay that is used to detect henipavirus antibody binding in fruit bat plasma. These methods included calculating multiples of negative control assay values, receiver operating characteristic curve analyses, and Bayesian mixture models to assess the distribution of assay outputs for classifying seropositive and seronegative individuals within different age classes. As for any diagnostic assay, the most appropriate cutoff determination method and value selected must be made according to the aims of the study. This study is presented as an example for others where reference samples, and assays that have been characterised previously, are absent.
Over the past 100 years, advances in pharmaceutical and medical technology have reduced the burden of communicable disease, and our appreciation of the mechanisms underlying the development of noncommunicable disease has broadened. During this time, a number of studies, both in humans and animal models, have highlighted the importance of maintaining an optimal diet during pregnancy. In particular, a number of studies support the hypothesis that suboptimal maternal protein and fat intake during pregnancy can have long-term effects on the growing fetus, and increase the likelihood of these offspring developing cardiovascular, renal, or metabolic diseases in adulthood. More recently, it has been shown that dietary intake of a number of micronutrients may offset or reverse the deleterious effects of macronutrient imbalance. Furthermore, maternal fat intake has also been identified as a major contributor to a healthy fetal environment, with a beneficial role for unsaturated fats during development as well as a beneficial impact on cell membrane physiology. Together these studies indicate that attempts to optimise maternal nutrition may prove to be an efficient and cost-effective strategy for preventing the development of cardiovascular, renal, or metabolic diseases.
School children with diabetes are facing increasing difficulties in receiving care during the school day. Despite theexistence of federal statutes ensuring their rights to a free, appropriate public education, many school districts throughout the country do little, if anything, to ensure that their condition is treated throughout the school day. The chronic shortage of school nurses has resulted in hardships on families, relatives, and friends to ensure that care, including insulin, is timely and appropriately provided. While many states have taken measures to provide care by unlicensed trained volunteers, efforts to accomplish this in California have resulted in prolonged litigation. A variety of nursing organizations oppose all efforts to train unlicensed volunteers, arguing that such is not permitted by California law. The issue is unresolved and currently pending in the California Supreme Court.
Bats host many viruses that are significant for human and domestic animal health, but the dynamics of these infections in their natural reservoir hosts remain poorly elucidated. In these, and other, systems, there is evidence that seasonal life-cycle events drive infection dynamics, directly impacting the risk of exposure to spillover hosts. Understanding these dynamics improves our ability to predict zoonotic spillover from the reservoir hosts. To this end, we followed henipavirus antibody levels of >100 individual E. helvum in a closed, captive, breeding population over a 30-month period, using a powerful novel antibody quantitation method. We demonstrate the presence of maternal antibodies in this system and accurately determine their longevity. We also present evidence of population-level persistence of viral infection and demonstrate periods of increased horizontal virus transmission associated with the pregnancy/lactation period. The novel findings of infection persistence and the effect of pregnancy on viral transmission, as well as an accurate quantitation of chiropteran maternal antiviral antibody half-life, provide fundamental baseline data for the continued study of viral infections in these important reservoir hosts.
Bovine tuberculosis (BTB) is an important livestock disease, seriously impacting cattle industries in both industrialised and pre-industrialised countries. Like TB in other mammals, infection is life long and, if undiagnosed, may progress to disease years after exposure. The risk of disease in humans is highly age-dependent, however in cattle, age-dependent risks have yet to be quantified, largely due to insufficient data and limited diagnostics. Here, we estimate age-specific reactor rates in Great Britain by combining herd-level testing data with spatial movement data from the Cattle Tracing System (CTS). Using a catalytic model, we find strong age dependencies in infection risk and that the probability of detecting infection increases with age. Between 2004 and 2009, infection incidence in cattle fluctuated around 1%. Age-specific incidence increased monotonically until 24--36 months, with cattle aged between 12 and 36 months experiencing the highest rates of infection. Beef and dairy cattle under 24 months experienced similar infection risks, however major differences occurred in older ages. The average reproductive number in cattle was greater than 1 for the years 2004--2009. These methods reveal a consistent pattern of BTB rates with age, across different population structures and testing patterns. The results provide practical insights into BTB epidemiology and control, suggesting that targeting a mass control programme at cattle between 12 and 36 months could be beneficial.
This study applies principles from the theory of household life cycles to the study of early childhood mortality in the population of the Northern Orkney Islands, Scotland. The primary hypothesis is that unfavorable household economic conditions resulting from changes in household demographic composition increase the risk of death for children under the age of 5 years because of limited resources and intra-household competition. We apply Cox proportional hazards models to nearly 5,000 linked birth and death records from the Northern Orkney Islands, Scotland, from the period 1855 to 2001. The dependent variable is the childs risk of death before age 5. Findings suggest that children in households with unfavorable age compositions face higher risk of death. This elevated risk of death continues once heterogeneity among children, islands, and households is controlled. Results also show differential risk of death for male children, children of higher birth orders, and twin births. The analyses present evidence for intra-household competition in this historic setting. The most convincing evidence of competition is found in the effects of household consumer/producer ratios and twinning on child mortality risks.
The straw-coloured fruit bat, Eidolon helvum, is Africas most widely distributed and commonly hunted fruit bat, often living in close proximity to human populations. This species has been identified as a reservoir of potentially zoonotic viruses, but uncertainties remain regarding viral transmission dynamics and mechanisms of persistence. Here we combine genetic and serological analyses of populations across Africa, to determine the extent of epidemiological connectivity among E. helvum populations. Multiple markers reveal panmixia across the continental range, at a greater geographical scale than previously recorded for any other mammal, whereas populations on remote islands were genetically distinct. Multiple serological assays reveal antibodies to henipaviruses and Lagos bat virus in all locations, including small isolated island populations, indicating that factors other than population size and connectivity may be responsible for viral persistence. Our findings have potentially important public health implications, and highlight a need to avoid disturbances that may precipitate viral spillover.
Influenza A viruses are characterized by their ability to evade host immunity, even in vaccinated individuals. To determine how prior immunity shapes viral diversity in vivo, we studied the intra- and interhost evolution of equine influenza virus in vaccinated horses. Although the level and structure of genetic diversity were similar to those in naïve horses, intrahost bottlenecks may be more stringent in vaccinated animals, and mutations shared among horses often fall close to putative antigenic sites.
Light interacts with tissue in a number of ways including, elastic and inelastic scattering, reflection and absorption, leading to fluorescence and phosphorescence. These interactions can be used to measure abnormal changes in tissue. Initial optical biopsy systems have potential to be used as an adjunct to current investigative techniques to improve the targeting of blind biopsy. Future prospects with molecular-specific techniques may enable objective optical detection providing a real-time, highly sensitive and specific measurement of the histological state of the tissue. Raman spectroscopy has the potential to identify markers associated with malignant change and could be used as diagnostic tool for the early detection of precancerous and cancerous lesions in vivo. The clinical requirements for an objective, non-invasive, real-time probe for the accurate and repeatable measurement of pathological state of the tissue are overwhelming. This paper discusses some of the recent advances in the field.
Viral emergence as a result of zoonotic transmission constitutes a continuous public health threat. Emerging viruses such as SARS coronavirus, hantaviruses and henipaviruses have wildlife reservoirs. Characterising the viruses of candidate reservoir species in geographical hot spots for viral emergence is a sensible approach to develop tools to predict, prevent, or contain emergence events. Here, we explore the viruses of Eidolon helvum, an Old World fruit bat species widely distributed in Africa that lives in close proximity to humans. We identified a great abundance and diversity of novel herpes and papillomaviruses, described the isolation of a novel adenovirus, and detected, for the first time, sequences of a chiropteran poxvirus closely related with Molluscum contagiosum. In sum, E. helvum display a wide variety of mammalian viruses, some of them genetically similar to known human pathogens, highlighting the possibility of zoonotic transmission.
The risk of progression from exposure to the tuberculosis bacilli to the development of active disease is a two-stage process governed by both exogenous and endogenous risk factors. Exogenous factors play a key role in accentuating the progression from exposure to infection among which the bacillary load in the sputum and the proximity of an individual to an infectious TB case are key factors. Similarly endogenous factors lead in progression from infection to active TB disease. Along with well-established risk factors (such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), malnutrition, and young age), emerging variables such as diabetes, indoor air pollution, alcohol, use of immunosuppressive drugs, and tobacco smoke play a significant role at both the individual and population level. Socioeconomic and behavioral factors are also shown to increase the susceptibility to infection. Specific groups such as health care workers and indigenous population are also at an increased risk of TB infection and disease. This paper summarizes these factors along with health system issues such as the effects of delay in diagnosis of TB in the transmission of the bacilli.
The WHO recommended intervention of Directly Observed Treatment, Short-course (DOTS) appears to have been less successful than expected in reducing the burden of TB in some high prevalence settings. One strategy for enhancing DOTS is incorporating active case-finding through screening contacts of TB patients as widely used in low-prevalence settings. Predictive models that incorporate population-level effects on transmission provide one means of predicting impacts of such interventions. We aim to identify all TB transmission modelling studies addressing contact tracing and to describe and critically assess their modelling assumptions, parameter choices and relevance to policy. We searched MEDLINE, SCOPUS, COMPENDEX, Google Scholar and Web of Science databases for relevant English language publications up to February 2012. Of the 1285 studies identified, only 5 studies met our inclusion criteria of models of TB transmission dynamics in human populations designed to incorporate contact tracing as an intervention. Detailed implementation of contact processes was only present in two studies, while only one study presented a model for a high prevalence, developing world setting. Some use of relevant data for parameter estimation was made in each study however validation of the predicted impact of interventions was not attempted in any of the studies. Despite a large body of literature on TB transmission modelling, few published studies incorporate contact tracing. There is considerable scope for future analyses to make better use of data and to apply individual based models to facilitate more realistic patterns of infectious contact. Combined with a focus on high burden settings this would greatly increase the potential for models to inform the use of contract tracing as a TB control policy. Our findings highlight the potential for collaborative work between clinicians, epidemiologists and modellers to gather data required to enhance model development and validation and hence better inform future public health policy.
Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is a very important disease of cattle in Great Britain, where it has been increasing in incidence and geographical distribution. In addition to cattle, it infects other species of domestic and wild animals, in particular the European badger (Meles meles). Policy to control bTB is vigorously debated and contentious because of its implications for the livestock industry and because some policy options involve culling badgers, the most important wildlife reservoir. This paper describes a project to provide a succinct summary of the natural science evidence base relevant to the control of bTB, couched in terms that are as policy-neutral as possible. Each evidence statement is placed into one of four categories describing the nature of the underlying information. The evidence summary forms the appendix to this paper and an annotated bibliography is provided in the electronic supplementary material.
Understanding the influence of non-susceptible hosts on vector-borne disease transmission is an important epidemiological problem. However, investigation of its impact can be complicated by uncertainty in the location of the hosts. Estimating the risk of transmission of African horse sickness (AHS) in Great Britain (GB), a virus transmitted by Culicoides biting midges, provides an insightful example because: (i) the patterns of risk are expected to be influenced by the presence of non-susceptible vertebrate hosts (cattle and sheep) and (ii) incomplete information on the spatial distribution of horses is available because the GB National Equine Database records owner, rather than horse, locations. Here, we combine land-use data with available horse owner distributions and, using a Bayesian approach, infer a realistic distribution for the location of horses. We estimate the risk of an outbreak of AHS in GB, using the basic reproduction number (R0), and demonstrate that mapping owner addresses as a proxy for horse location significantly underestimates the risk. We clarify the role of non-susceptible vertebrate hosts by showing that the risk of disease in the presence of many hosts (susceptible and non-susceptible) can be ultimately reduced to two fundamental factors: first, the abundance of vectors and how this depends on host density, and, second, the differential feeding preference of vectors among animal species.
Bats are the natural reservoirs of a number of high-impact viral zoonoses. We present a quantitative analysis to address the hypothesis that bats are unique in their propensity to host zoonotic viruses based on a comparison with rodents, another important host order. We found that bats indeed host more zoonotic viruses per species than rodents, and we identified life-history and ecological factors that promote zoonotic viral richness. More zoonotic viruses are hosted by species whose distributions overlap with a greater number of other species in the same taxonomic order (sympatry). Specifically in bats, there was evidence for increased zoonotic viral richness in species with smaller litters (one young), greater longevity and more litters per year. Furthermore, our results point to a new hypothesis to explain in part why bats host more zoonotic viruses per species: the stronger effect of sympatry in bats and more viruses shared between bat species suggests that interspecific transmission is more prevalent among bats than among rodents. Although bats host more zoonotic viruses per species, the total number of zoonotic viruses identified in bats (61) was lower than in rodents (68), a result of there being approximately twice the number of rodent species as bat species. Therefore, rodents should still be a serious concern as reservoirs of emerging viruses. These findings shed light on disease emergence and perpetuation mechanisms and may help lead to a predictive framework for identifying future emerging infectious virus reservoirs.
In a recent article in this journal, Poston and Hanson (2010) reported a meta-analysis of 17 studies on the use of psychological assessment as a therapeutic intervention (PATI) and concluded that "psychological assessment procedures--when combined with personalized, collaborative, and highly involving test feedback--have positive, clinically meaningful effects on treatment" (Poston & Hanson, 2010, p. 203). Although extant data suggest that PATI can sometimes exert positive effects, Poston and Hansons (2010) meta-analysis may overstate the magnitude of these effects because the authors (a) included several studies that combined assessment with treatment components that are irrelevant to PATI, sometimes rendering it impossible to attribute any observed effects to PATI per se and (b) excluded numerous nonsignificant results. Moreover, the studies Poston and Hanson (2010) reviewed neglected to rule out Barnum effects as alternative explanations for client improvement, raising the possibility that PATI works for reasons other than those proposed by its advocates. We conclude that Poston and Hansons (2010) review leaves a number of lingering questions concerning the treatment utility of PATI unanswered.
Cellular reprogramming is a rapidly developing technology by which somatic cells are turned into pluripotent stem cells or other somatic cell types through expression of specific combinations of genes. This allows for the generation of patient-specific cell lines that can serve as tools for understanding disease pathogenesis, for drug screens and, potentially, for cell replacement therapies. Several cellular models of neurological disorders based on induced pluripotent cells (iPS cells) have been developed, and iPS-derived neurons are being explored as candidates for transplantation. Recent findings show that neurons can also be induced directly from embryonic and postnatal somatic cells by expression of defined combinations of genes. This conversion does not occur through a pluripotent stem cell stage, which eliminates the risk for tumor formation. Here, we demonstrate for the first time that functional neurons can be generated via direct conversion of fibroblasts also from adult individuals. Thus, this technology is an attractive alternative to iPS cells for generating patient- and disease-specific neurons suitable for disease modeling and autologous transplantation.
Servants were an important part of the northwestern European household economy in the preindustrial past. This study examines household-level characteristics that are predictive of the presence of rural servants using data from Orkney, Scotland. The number of servants present in a household is related to household composition, landholding size, and the marital status of the household head. In addition, the sex of the particular servant hired reveals that the labor of male and female servants is not fungible. The sex of the servant hired is related to the ratio of male and female household members of working age, the occupation of the head, household composition, and the size of the households landholding.
Although investigations of medieval plague victims have identified Yersinia pestis as the putative etiologic agent of the pandemic, methodological limitations have prevented large-scale genomic investigations to evaluate changes in the pathogens virulence over time. We screened over 100 skeletal remains from Black Death victims of the East Smithfield mass burial site (1348-1350, London, England). Recent methods of DNA enrichment coupled with high-throughput DNA sequencing subsequently permitted reconstruction of ten full human mitochondrial genomes (16 kb each) and the full pPCP1 (9.6 kb) virulence-associated plasmid at high coverage. Comparisons of molecular damage profiles between endogenous human and Y. pestis DNA confirmed its authenticity as an ancient pathogen, thus representing the longest contiguous genomic sequence for an ancient pathogen to date. Comparison of our reconstructed plasmid against modern Y. pestis shows identity with several isolates matching the Medievalis biovar; however, our chromosomal sequences indicate the victims were infected with a Y. pestis variant that has not been previously reported. Our data reveal that the Black Death in medieval Europe was caused by a variant of Y. pestis that may no longer exist, and genetic data carried on its pPCP1 plasmid were not responsible for the purported epidemiological differences between ancient and modern forms of Y. pestis infections.
Worldwide, cervical cancer is the third most common cancer in women. In the UK, incidence fell after the introduction of the cervical screening programme, to the current level of approximately 2334 women in 2008, with a mortality to incidence ratio of 0.33. Survival ranges from almost 100% 5-year disease-free survival for treated stage Ia disease to 5-15% in stage IV disease. Survival is also influenced by tumour bulk, age, and comorbid conditions.
Technological advances in DNA recovery and sequencing have drastically expanded the scope of genetic analyses of ancient specimens to the extent that full genomic investigations are now feasible and are quickly becoming standard. This trend has important implications for infectious disease research because genomic data from ancient microbes may help to elucidate mechanisms of pathogen evolution and adaptation for emerging and re-emerging infections. Here we report a reconstructed ancient genome of Yersinia pestis at 30-fold average coverage from Black Death victims securely dated to episodes of pestilence-associated mortality in London, England, 1348-1350. Genetic architecture and phylogenetic analysis indicate that the ancient organism is ancestral to most extant strains and sits very close to the ancestral node of all Y. pestis commonly associated with human infection. Temporal estimates suggest that the Black Death of 1347-1351 was the main historical event responsible for the introduction and widespread dissemination of the ancestor to all currently circulating Y. pestis strains pathogenic to humans, and further indicates that contemporary Y. pestis epidemics have their origins in the medieval era. Comparisons against modern genomes reveal no unique derived positions in the medieval organism, indicating that the perceived increased virulence of the disease during the Black Death may not have been due to bacterial phenotype. These findings support the notion that factors other than microbial genetics, such as environment, vector dynamics and host susceptibility, should be at the forefront of epidemiological discussions regarding emerging Y. pestis infections.
Henipaviruses, Hendra virus (HeV) and Nipah virus (NiV), have Pteropid bats as their known natural reservoirs. Antibodies against henipaviruses have been found in Eidolon helvum, an old world fruit bat species, and henipavirus-like nucleic acid has been detected in faecal samples from E. helvum in Ghana. The initial outbreak of NiV in Malaysia led to over 265 human encephalitis cases, including 105 deaths, with infected pigs acting as amplifier hosts for NiV during the outbreak. We detected non-neutralizing antibodies against viruses of the genus Henipavirus in approximately 5% of pig sera (N?=?97) tested in Ghana, but not in a small sample of other domestic species sampled under a E. helvum roost. Although we did not detect neutralizing antibody, our results suggest prior exposure of the Ghana pig population to henipavirus(es). Because a wide diversity of henipavirus-like nucleic acid sequences have been found in Ghanaian E. helvum, we hypothesise that these pigs might have been infected by henipavirus(es) sufficiently divergent enough from HeVor NiV to produce cross-reactive, but not cross-neutralizing antibodies to HeV or NiV.
Recent reports demonstrate that somatic mouse cells can be directly converted to other mature cell types by using combined expression of defined factors. Here we show that the same strategy can be applied to human embryonic and postnatal fibroblasts. By overexpression of the transcription factors Ascl1, Brn2, and Myt1l, human fibroblasts were efficiently converted to functional neurons. We also demonstrate that the converted neurons can be directed toward distinct functional neurotransmitter phenotypes when the appropriate transcriptional cues are provided together with the three conversion factors. By combining expression of the three conversion factors with expression of two genes involved in dopamine neuron generation, Lmx1a and FoxA2, we could direct the phenotype of the converted cells toward dopaminergic neurons. Such subtype-specific induced neurons derived from human somatic cells could be valuable for disease modeling and cell replacement therapy.
Vibrio cholerae is a globally important pathogen that is endemic in many areas of the world and causes 3-5 million reported cases of cholera every year. Historically, there have been seven acknowledged cholera pandemics; recent outbreaks in Zimbabwe and Haiti are included in the seventh and ongoing pandemic. Only isolates in serogroup O1 (consisting of two biotypes known as classical and El Tor) and the derivative O139 can cause epidemic cholera. It is believed that the first six cholera pandemics were caused by the classical biotype, but El Tor has subsequently spread globally and replaced the classical biotype in the current pandemic. Detailed molecular epidemiological mapping of cholera has been compromised by a reliance on sub-genomic regions such as mobile elements to infer relationships, making El Tor isolates associated with the seventh pandemic seem superficially diverse. To understand the underlying phylogeny of the lineage responsible for the current pandemic, we identified high-resolution markers (single nucleotide polymorphisms; SNPs) in 154 whole-genome sequences of globally and temporally representative V. cholerae isolates. Using this phylogeny, we show here that the seventh pandemic has spread from the Bay of Bengal in at least three independent but overlapping waves with a common ancestor in the 1950s, and identify several transcontinental transmission events. Additionally, we show how the acquisition of the SXT family of antibiotic resistance elements has shaped pandemic spread, and show that this family was first acquired at least ten years before its discovery in V. cholerae.
Estimates indicate that West Nile virus infects approximately one and a half million people in the United States of America. Up to 1% may develop West Nile virus neuroinvasive disease, in which infected patients develop any combination of meningitis, encephalitis, or acute paralysis.
We undertook the current study to update the literature on pediatric splenectomy in the age of minimally invasive proficiency among pediatric surgeons. The study is designed to address specific concerns among surgeons about the suitability of the laparoscopic approach in specific situations and among hematologists about the relative benefits and risks of splenectomy in children.
Pediatricians and family physicians are responsible for providing newborn resuscitation, yet Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education requirements for training in this area during residency differ markedly for the two specialties. Our objectives were to determine (1) the extent to which neonatal resuscitation training differs for pediatric and family medicine residents; (2) the extent to which general pediatricians and family physicians engage in newborn resuscitation in their practice; and (3) whether use of resuscitation skills differs between urban/suburban and rural providers.
Infection of pigs with swine influenza has been studied experimentally and in the field; however, little information is available on the natural transmission of this virus in pigs. Two studies in an experimental transmission model are presented here, one in immunologically naïve and one in a combination of vaccinated and naïve pigs.
We present a case report and comprehensive literature review of pediatric traumatic abdominal wall hernia caused by a blow from a bicycle handlebar. Traumatic abdominal wall hernia is a rare complication of bicycle handlebar injury. An awareness of this entity will help prevent a missed diagnosis. Operative repair is met with good outcome.
Equine influenza viruses (EIVs) of the H3N8 and H7N7 subtypes are the causative agents of an important disease of horses. While EIV H7N7 apparently is extinct, H3N8 viruses have circulated for more than 50 years. Like human influenza viruses, EIV H3N8 caused a transcontinental pandemic followed by further outbreaks and epidemics, even in populations with high vaccination coverage. Recently, EIV H3N8 jumped the species barrier to infect dogs. Despite its importance as an agent of infectious disease, the mechanisms that underpin the evolutionary and epidemiological dynamics of EIV are poorly understood, particularly at a genomic scale. To determine the evolutionary history and phylodynamics of EIV H3N8, we conducted an extensive analysis of 82 complete viral genomes sampled during a 45-year span. We show that both intra- and intersubtype reassortment have played a major role in the evolution of EIV, and we suggest that intrasubtype reassortment resulted in enhanced virulence while heterosubtypic reassortment contributed to the extinction of EIV H7N7. We also show that EIV evolves at a slower rate than other influenza viruses, even though it seems to be subject to similar immune selection pressures. However, a relatively high rate of amino acid replacement is observed in the polymerase acidic (PA) segment, with some evidence for adaptive evolution. Most notably, an analysis of viral population dynamics provided evidence for a major population bottleneck of EIV H3N8 during the 1980s, which we suggest resulted from changes in herd immunity due to an increase in vaccination coverage.
Many chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) patients recall an upper respiratory tract infection as the inciting event of their chronic illness. Viral infections have been shown to cause obstruction of the osteomeatal complex, which is likely to be a critical step in the development of CRS. There is clear overlap between the pathogenesis of CRS and asthma. Infections with respiratory viruses in childhood increase the risk of subsequently developing asthma. Viral infections in established asthmatics are associated with acute exacerbations. We sought to determine whether respiratory viruses could be detected within the sinonasal mucosa of CRS patients using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques.
The development of modern and affordable sequencing technologies has allowed the study of viral populations to an unprecedented depth. This is of particular interest for the study of within-host RNA viral populations, where variation due to error-prone polymerases can lead to immune escape, antiviral resistance and adaptation to new host species. Methods to sequence RNA virus genomes include reverse transcription (RT) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). RT-PCR is a molecular biology technique widely used to amplify DNA from an RNA template. The method itself relies on the in vitro synthesis of copy DNA from RNA followed by multiple cycles of DNA amplification. However, this method introduces artefactual errors that can act as confounding factors when the sequence data are analysed. Although there are a growing number of published studies exploring the intra- and inter-host evolutionary dynamics of RNA viruses, the complexity of the methods used to generate sequences makes it difficult to produce probabilistic statements about the likely sources of observed sequence variants. This complexity is further compounded as both the depth of sequencing and the length of the genome segment of interest increase. Here we develop a bayesian method to characterise and differentiate between likely structures for the background viral population. This approach can then be used to identify nucleotide sites that show evidence of change in the within-host viral population structure, either over time or relative to a reference sequence (e.g. an inoculum or another source of infection), or both, without having to build complex evolutionary models. Identification of these sites can help to inform the design of more focussed experiments using molecular biology tools, such as site-directed mutagenesis, to assess the function of specific amino acids. We illustrate the method by applying to datasets from experimental transmission of equine influenza, and a pre-clinical vaccine trial for HIV-1.
Bacterial biofilms have been identified on the sinonasal mucosa of patients with chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) but also on control samples. Their role in the disease pathogenesis is unproven. The objective of this study was to further evaluate the role of biofilms in CRS by assessing whether they are associated with an inflammatory response.
We have previously shown that following severe brain insults, chronic inflammation induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) injection, and status epilepticus, new dentate granule cells exhibit changes of excitatory and inhibitory synaptic drive indicating that they may mitigate the abnormal brain function. Major inflammatory changes in the environment encountering the new neurons were a common feature of these insults. Here, we have asked how the morphology and electrophysiology of new neurons are affected by a comparably mild pathology: repetitive seizures causing hyperexcitability but not inflammation. Rats were subjected to rapid kindling, i.e., 40 rapidly recurring, electrically-induced seizures, and subsequently exposed to stimulus-evoked seizures twice weekly. New granule cells were labeled 1 week after the initial insult with a retroviral vector encoding green fluorescent protein. After 6-8 weeks, new neurons were analyzed using confocal microscopy and whole-cell patch-clamp recordings. The new neurons exposed to the pathological environment exhibited only subtle changes in their location, orientation, dendritic arborizations, and spine morphology. In contrast to the more severe insults, the new neurons exposed to rapid kindling and stimulus-evoked seizures exhibited enhanced afferent excitatory synaptic drive which could suggest that the cells that had developed in this environment contributed to hyperexcitability. However, the new neurons showed concomitant reduction of intrinsic excitability which may counteract the propagation of this excitability to the target cells. This study provides further evidence that following insults to the adult brain, the pattern of synaptic alterations at afferent inputs to newly generated neurons is dependent on the characteristics of the pathological environment.
Over the last decade infant pneumococcal vaccination has been adopted as part of routine immunisation schedules in many developed countries. Although highly successful in many settings such as Australia and the United States, rapid serotype replacement has occurred in some European countries. Recently two pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCVs) with extended serotype coverage have been licensed for use, a 10-valent (PHiD-CV) and a 13-valent (PCV-13) vaccine, and offer potential replacements for the existing vaccine (PCV-7) in Australia. To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of PCV programs we developed a static, deterministic state-transition model. The perspective for costs included those to the government and healthcare system. When compared to current practice (PCV-7) both vaccines offered potential benefits, with those estimated for PHiD-CV due primarily to prevention of otitis media and PCV-13 due to a further reduction in invasive disease in Australia. At equivalent total cost to vaccinate an infant, compared to no PCV the base-case cost per QALY saved were estimated at A$64,900 (current practice, PCV-7; 3+0), A$50,200 (PHiD-CV; 3+1) and A$55,300 (PCV-13; 3+0), respectively. However, assumptions regarding herd protection, serotype protection, otitis media efficacy, and vaccination cost changed the relative cost-effectiveness of alternative PCV programs. The high proportion of current invasive disease caused by serotype 19A (as included in PCV-13) may be a decisive factor in determining vaccine policy in Australia.
Rabies virus (RABV) is enzootic throughout most of the world. It is now widely accepted that RABV had its origins in bats. Ten of the 11 Lyssavirus species recognised, including RABV, have been isolated from bats. There is, however, a lack of understanding regarding both the ecology and host reservoirs of Lyssaviruses. A real-time PCR assay for the detection of all Lyssaviruses using universal primers would be beneficial for Lyssavirus surveillance. It was shown that using SYBR(®) Green, a universal real-time PCR primer pair previously demonstrated to detect European bat Lyssaviruses 1 and 2, and RABV, was able to detect reverse transcribed RNA for each of the seven virus species available to us. Target sequences of bat derived virus species unavailable for analysis were synthesized to produce oligonucleotides. Lagos Bat-, Duvenhage- and Mokola virus full nucleoprotein gene clones enabled a limit of 5-50 plasmid copies to be detected. Five copies of each of the synthetic DNA oligonucleotides of Aravan-, Khujand-, Irkut-, West Caucasian bat- and Shimoni bat virus were detected. The single universal primer pair was therefore able to detect each of the most divergent known Lyssaviruses with great sensitivity.
Infection of pigs with influenza viruses is a cause of considerable economic loss for pig farmers as well as a potential human health concern - as evidenced by the identification of genetic material derived from swine-adapted influenza viruses in an novel strain of H1N1 influenza virus in 2009. A study was conducted investigating the prevalence of influenza virus infection in a selection of 143 English pig herds between April 2008 and April 2009, which found evidence of recent virus circulation in over half of these herds (n=75). Farms which were sampled in the Summer months were found to have lower odds of recent virus circulation, as were farms containing pigs kept in straw yards. Additionally, farms containing pigs kept indoors and farms containing high numbers of finisher pigs per water space were found to have higher odds of recent virus circulation. It is hoped that further studies will expand on these findings, and may allow targeting of surveillance for influenza viruses in the English pig population.
We have developed a collaborative approach to pediatric thyroid surgery, with operations performed at a childrens hospital by a pediatric surgeon and an endocrine surgeon. We hypothesize that this strategy minimizes specialist-specific limitations and optimizes care of children with surgical thyroid disease.
Regulatory T cells (T(regs)) are critical for maintenance of peripheral tolerance via suppression of T-cell responses, and absence of T(regs) results in autoimmunity. The role of aberrations in the T(reg) pool for the development of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE, lupus) remains uncertain. T(reg)-mediated generation of adenosine, dependent on the ectonucleotidase CD39, is an important mechanism for suppression of T-cell responses. We tested whether decreases in numbers of T(regs), and specifically CD39-expressing T(regs), are associated with human lupus. We studied 15 SLE patients, six patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and 24 healthy controls. T(reg) phenotypic markers, including CD39 expression, were studied by flow cytometry. Varying numbers of sorted T(regs) cells were co-cultured with responder T (T(resp)) cells, with proliferation assessed by (3)H-thymidine incorporation. The proportion of T(regs) as defined by Foxp3(+) CD25(+high) CD127(-/low) was similar in lupus and control populations. CD39-expressing T(regs) comprised 37±13% of the T(reg) population in healthy controls and 36±21% in lupus subjects using nonsteroidal immunosuppressants to control active disease, but was nearly absent in five of six lupus subjects with minimally active disease. In contrast to healthy controls and lupus subjects without the CD39 defect, in SLE subjects with the CD39 defect, adenosine-dependent T(reg)-mediated suppression was nearly absent. These results suggest that functional defects in T(regs), rather than reduced T(reg) numbers, are important for the loss of peripheral tolerance in lupus. Presentation of this defect may serve as a biomarker for untreated disease.
This study investigated the internal consistency, factor structure, and concurrent validity of the Social Problem Solving Inventory-Spanish Version for Hispanics (SPSI-R-Hispanic), a translation of the Social Problem Solving Inventory-Revised (SPSI-R; DZurilla, Nezu & Maydeu-Olivares, 2002), in a North American sample of 325 Spanish speaking Hispanics. The scales of the SPSI-R-Hispanic demonstrated good internal consistency reliability. The hypothesized factor model of the SPSI-R provided a good fit to the data. SPSI-R-Hispanic scores demonstrated concurrent validity in a multiple regression analysis, explaining 32% of incremental variability in psychological well-being scores. Gender differences were replicated, where men had higher positive problem orientation and rational problem solving scores and women had higher negative problem orientation scores.
Using 65 items from a mental health screening questionnaire, the History Opinion Inventory-Revised (HOI-R), the present study compared three strategies of scale construction-(1) internal (based on factor analysis), (2) external (based on empirical performance) and (3) intuitive (based on clinicians opinion)-to predict whether 203,595 U.S. Air Force trainees would be discharged early for mental health or behavior-related reasons within a 4-year follow-up period. The external strategy significantly outperformed the internal strategy, which in turn outperformed the intuitive strategy. For all strategies, predictive accuracy was consistently higher when items and scales were scored using empirically derived weights rather than unit weights. These findings suggest that the external strategy of scale construction provides the highest accuracy when sample sizes are large and the aim is to predict a specific behavioral event. However, the internal strategy also yields valid results and can be a reasonable choice when outcome data are unavailable.
It is likely that phylogroup 2 lyssaviruses circulate within bat reservoirs. We adapted a pseudotype (pt) neutralisation assay (PNA) to a multiplex format enabling serosurveillance for Lagos bat virus (LBV), Mokola virus (MOKV) and West Caucasian bat virus (WCBV) in a potential reservoir, the African straw-coloured fruit bat, Eidolon helvum. Highly correlated titres were observed between single and multiplex PNAs using ptLBV and ptMOKV (r=0.97, p<0.0001), validating its use for bat serosurveillance. Of the bat serum samples screened 56% neutralised ptLBV, 27% ptMOKV and 1% ptWCBV. Mean VNAb titres were 1:266, 1:35 and 1:7 against ptLBV, ptMOKV and ptWCBV respectively. The high seroprevalence estimates suggest that the infection rate of LBV in E. helvum remains high enough to persist in this species. This supports the hypothesis that LBV is endemic in Ghanaian E. helvum and we speculate that LBV may have co-evolved with African megachiroptera.
Gacono and Meloy (2009) have concluded that the Rorschach Inkblot Test is a sensitive instrument with which to discriminate psychopaths from nonpsychopaths. We examined the association of psychopathy with 37 Rorschach variables in a meta-analytic review of 173 validity coefficients derived from 22 studies comprising 780 forensic participants. All studies included the Hare Psychopathy Checklist or one of its versions (Hare, 1980, 1991, 2003) and Exners (2003) Comprehensive System for the Rorschach. Mean validity coefficients of Rorschach variables in the meta-analysis ranged from -.113 to .239, with a median validity of .070 and a mean validity of .062. Psychopathy displayed a significant and medium-sized association with the number of Aggressive Potential responses (weighted mean validity coefficient = .232) and small but significant associations with the Sum of Texture responses, Cooperative Movement = 0, the number of Personal responses, and the Egocentricity Index (weighted mean validity coefficients = .097 to .159). The remaining 32 Rorschach variables were not significantly related to psychopathy. The present findings contradict the view that the Rorschach is a clinically sensitive instrument for discriminating psychopaths from nonpsychopaths.
Ebolaviruses (EBOV) (family Filoviridae) cause viral hemorrhagic fevers in humans and non-human primates when they spill over from their wildlife reservoir hosts with case fatality rates of up to 90%. Fruit bats may act as reservoirs of the Filoviridae. The migratory fruit bat, Eidolon helvum, is common across sub-Saharan Africa and lives in large colonies, often situated in cities. We screened sera from 262 E. helvum using indirect fluorescent tests for antibodies against EBOV subtype Zaire. We detected a seropositive bat from Accra, Ghana, and confirmed this using western blot analysis. The bat was also seropositive for Lagos bat virus, a Lyssavirus, by virus neutralization test. The bat was fitted with a radio transmitter and was last detected in Accra 13 months after release post-sampling, demonstrating long-term survival. Antibodies to filoviruses have not been previously demonstrated in E. helvum. Radio-telemetry data demonstrates long-term survival of an individual bat following exposure to viruses of families that can be highly pathogenic to other mammal species. Because E. helvum typically lives in large urban colonies and is a source of bushmeat in some regions, further studies should determine if this species forms a reservoir for EBOV from which spillover infections into the human population may occur.
Determining the evolutionary basis of cross-species transmission and immune evasion is key to understanding the mechanisms that control the emergence of either new viruses or novel antigenic variants with pandemic potential. The hemagglutinin glycoprotein of influenza A viruses is a critical host range determinant and a major target of neutralizing antibodies. Equine influenza virus (EIV) is a significant pathogen of the horse that causes periodical outbreaks of disease even in populations with high vaccination coverage. EIV has also jumped the species barrier and emerged as a novel respiratory pathogen in dogs, canine influenza virus. We studied the dynamics of equine influenza virus evolution in horses at the intrahost level and how this evolutionary process is affected by interhost transmission in a natural setting. To this end, we performed clonal sequencing of the hemagglutinin 1 gene derived from individual animals at different times postinfection. Our results show that despite the population consensus sequence remaining invariant, genetically distinct subpopulations persist during the course of infection and are also transmitted, with some variants likely to change antigenicity. We also detected a natural case of mixed infection in an animal infected during an outbreak of equine influenza, raising the possibility of reassortment between different strains of virus. In sum, our data suggest that transmission bottlenecks may not be as narrow as originally perceived and that the genetic diversity required to adapt to new host species may be partially present in the donor host and potentially transmitted to the recipient host.
The authors assessed the accuracy of placement of lumbar transpedicular screws by using a computer-assisted, imaged-guided, minimally invasive technique with continuous electromyography (EMG) monitoring.
A diagnosis of cerebral palsy in childhood is relatively common. Abnormalities of the upper cervical spine causing spinal cord compression are rare, but can be a cause of symptoms and signs that may otherwise be attributed to brain injury acquired during development. We present an interesting case of a congenital abnormality of the atlas causing severe cervical spinal cord compression in a 9-year-old child, together with a discussion of the relevant aspects of spinal development and a review of the literature.
Severely injured children have a decreased incidence and different pattern of multiple organ failure when compared with adults. This article reviews recent advances in understanding the mechanisms leading to this discrepancy.
The patterns and dynamics of evolution in acutely infecting viruses within individual hosts are largely unknown. To this end, we investigated the intrahost variation of canine influenza virus (CIV) during the course of experimental infections in naïve and partially immune dogs and in naturally infected dogs. Tracing sequence diversity in the gene encoding domain 1 of the hemagglutinin (HA1) protein over the time course of infection provided information on the patterns and processes of intrahost viral evolution and revealed some of the effects of partial host immunity. Viral populations sampled on any given day were generally characterized by mean pairwise genetic diversities between 0.1 and 0.2% and by mutational spectra that changed considerably on different days. Some observed mutations may have affected antigenicity or host range, including reversions of CIV host-associated mutations. Patterns of sequence diversity differed between naïve and vaccinated dogs, with some presumably antigenic mutations transiently reaching high frequency in the latter. CIV populations are therefore characterized by the rapid generation and clearance of genetic diversity. Potentially advantageous mutations arise readily during the course of single infections and may give rise to antigenic escape or host range variants.
Bluetongue (BT) is a viral disease of ruminants transmitted by Culicoides biting midges and has the ability to spread rapidly over large distances. In the summer of 2006, BTV serotype 8 (BTV-8) emerged for the first time in northern Europe, resulting in over 2000 infected farms by the end of the year. The virus subsequently overwintered and has since spread across much of Europe, causing tens of thousands of livestock deaths. In August 2007, BTV-8 reached Great Britain (GB), threatening the large and valuable livestock industry. A voluntary vaccination scheme was launched in GB in May 2008 and, in contrast with elsewhere in Europe, there were no reported cases in GB during 2008.
A key question in pandemic influenza is the relative roles of innate immunity and target cell depletion in limiting primary infection and modulating pathology. Here, we model these interactions using detailed data from equine influenza virus infection, combining viral and immune (type I interferon) kinetics with estimates of cell depletion. The resulting dynamics indicate a powerful role for innate immunity in controlling the rapid peak in virus shedding. As a corollary, cells are much less depleted than suggested by a model of human influenza based only on virus-shedding data. We then explore how differences in the influence of viral proteins on interferon kinetics can account for the observed spectrum of virus shedding, immune response, and influenza pathology. In particular, induction of high levels of interferon ("cytokine storms"), coupled with evasion of its effects, could lead to severe pathology, as hypothesized for some fatal cases of influenza.
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