Deep Learning Technology: Sebastian Arnold, Betty van Aken, Paul Grundmann, Felix A. Gers and Alexander Löser. Learning Contextualized Document Representations for Healthcare Answer Retrieval. The Web Conference 2020 (WWW'20)
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MERS cases have been reported to have low white blood cell count, and in particular low lymphocytes.
For PCR testing, the WHO recommends obtaining samples from the lower respiratory tract via bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), sputum sample or tracheal aspirate as these have the highest viral loads. There have also been studies utilizing upper respiratory sampling via nasopharyngeal swab.
Several highly sensitive, confirmatory real-time RT-PCR assays exist for rapid identification of MERS-CoV from patient-derived samples. These assays attempt to amplify upE (targets elements upstream of the E gene), open reading frame 1B (targets the ORF1b gene) and open reading frame 1A (targets the ORF1a gene). The WHO recommends the upE target for screening assays as it is highly sensitive. In addition, hemi-nested sequencing amplicons targeting RdRp (present in all coronaviruses) and nucleocapsid (N) gene (specific to MERS-CoV) fragments can be generated for confirmation via sequencing. Reports of potential polymorphisms in the N gene between isolates highlight the necessity for sequence-based characterization.
The WHO recommended testing algorithm is to start with an upE RT-PCR and if positive confirm with ORF 1A assay or RdRp or N gene sequence assay for confirmation. If both an upE and secondary assay are positive it is considered a confirmed case.
Protocols for biologically safe immunofluorescence assays (IFA) have also been developed; however, antibodies against betacoronaviruses are known to cross-react within the genus. This effectively limits their use to confirmatory applications. A more specific protein-microarray based assay has also been developed that did not show any cross-reactivity against population samples and serum known to be positive for other betacoronaviruses. Due to the limited validation done so far with serological assays, WHO guidance is that "cases where the testing laboratory has reported positive serological test results in the absence of PCR testing or sequencing, are considered probable cases of MERS-CoV infection, if they meet the other conditions of that case definition."
According to the WHO, a probable case is
- a person with a fever, respiratory infection, and evidence of pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndromeandtesting for MERS-CoV is unavailable or negative on a single inadequate specimenandthe person has a direct link with a confirmed case.
- A person with an acute febrile respiratory illness with clinical, radiological, or histopathological evidence of pulmonary parenchymal disease (e.g. pneumonia or acute respiratory distress Syndrome)and an inconclusive MERS-CoV laboratory test (that is, a positive screening test without confirmation)anda resident of or traveler to Middle Eastern countries where MERS-CoV virus is believed to be circulating in the 14 days before onset of illness.
- A person with an acute febrile respiratory illness of any severity andan inconclusive MERS-CoV laboratory test (that is, a positive screening test without confirmation) andthe person has a direct epidemiologic link with a confirmed MERS-CoV case.
If a person with ILI also has either a history of exposure or an occupational or environmental risk of exposure to "Bacillus anthracis" (anthrax), then a differential diagnosis requires distinguishing between ILI and anthrax. Other rare causes of ILI include leukemia and metal fume fever.
Antigen detection, polymerase chain reaction assay, virus isolation, and serology can be used to identify adenovirus infections. Adenovirus typing is usually accomplished by hemagglutination-inhibition and/or neutralization with type-specific antisera. Since adenovirus can be excreted for prolonged periods, the presence of virus does not necessarily mean it is associated with disease.
ILI occurs in some horses after intramuscular injection of vaccines. For these horses, light exercise speeds resolution of the ILI. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be given with the vaccine.
Safe and effective adenovirus vaccines were developed for adenovirus serotypes 4 and 7, but were available only for preventing ARD among US military recruits, and production stopped in 1996. Strict attention to good infection-control practices is effective for stopping transmission in hospitals of adenovirus-associated disease, such as epidemic keratoconjunctivitis. Maintaining adequate levels of chlorination is necessary for preventing swimming pool-associated outbreaks of adenovirus conjunctivitis.
Some ways to prevent airborne diseases include washing hands, using appropriate hand disinfection, getting regular immunizations against diseases believed to be locally present, wearing a respirator and limiting time spent in the presence of any patient likely to be a source of infection.
Exposure to a patient or animal with an airborne disease does not guarantee receiving the disease. Because of the changes in host immunity and how much the host was exposed to the particles in the air makes a difference to how the disease affects the body.
Antibiotics are not prescribed for patients to control viral infections. They may however be prescribed to a flu patient for instance, to control or prevent bacterial secondary infections. They also may be used in dealing with air-borne bacterial primary infections, such as pneumonic plague.
Additionally the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has told consumers about vaccination and following careful hygiene and sanitation protocols for airborne disease prevention. Consumers also have access to preventive measures like UV Air purification devices that FDA and EPA-certified laboratory test data has verified as effective in inactivating a broad array of airborne infectious diseases. Many public health specialists recommend social distancing to reduce the transmission of airborne infections.
The CDC recommends real-time PCR as the method of choice for diagnosing H1N1. The oral or nasal fluid collection and RNA virus preserving filter paper card is commercially available. This method allows a specific diagnosis of novel influenza (H1N1) as opposed to seasonal influenza. Near-patient point-of-care tests are in development.
Prevention of swine influenza has three components: prevention in pigs, prevention of transmission to humans, and prevention of its spread among humans.
Rodent control in and around the home or dwellings remains the primary prevention strategy, as well as eliminating contact with rodents in the workplace and campsite. Closed storage sheds and cabins are often ideal sites for rodent infestations. Airing out of such spaces prior to use is recommended. People are advised to avoid direct contact with rodent droppings and wear a mask while cleaning such areas to avoid inhalation of aerosolized rodent secretions.
There is no cure or vaccine for HPS. Treatment involves supportive therapy, including mechanical ventilation with supplemental oxygen during the critical respiratory-failure stage of the illness. Early recognition of HPS and admission to an intensive care setting offers the best prognosis.
Initial response to H5N1, a one size fits all recommendation was used for all poultry production systems, though measures for intensively raised birds were not necessarily appropriate for extensively raised birds. When looking at village poultry, it was first assumed that the household was the unit and that flocks did not make contact with other flocks, though more effective measures came into use when the epidemiological unit was the village.
Recommendations also involve restructuring commercial markets to improve biosecurity against avian influenza. Poultry production zoning is used to limit poultry farming to specific areas outside of urban environments while live poultry markets improve biosecurity by limiting the number of traders holding licenses and subjecting producers and traders to more stringent inspections. These recommendations in combination with requirements to fence and house all poultry, and limit free ranging flocks will eventually lead to fewer small commercial producers and backyard producers, costing livelihoods as they are unable to meet the conditions needed to participate.
A summary of reports to the World Organisation for Animal Health in 2005 and 2010 suggest that surveillance and under-reporting in developed and developing countries is still a challenge. Often, donor support can focus on HPAI control alone, while similar diseases such as Newcastle disease, acute fowl cholera, infectious laryngotracheitis, and infectious bursal disease still affect poultry populations. When HPAI tests come back negative, a lack of funded testing for differential diagnoses can leave farmers wondering what killed their birds.
Since traditional production systems require little investment and serve as a safety net for lower income households, prevention and treatment can be seen as less cost effective than letting a few birds die. Effective control not only requires prior agreements to be made with relevant government agencies, such as seen with Indonesia, they must also not unduly threaten food security.
The influenza vaccine is recommended by the World Health Organization and United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for high-risk groups, such as children, the elderly, health care workers, and people who have chronic illnesses such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, or are immuno-compromised among others. In healthy adults it is modestly effective in decreasing the amount of influenza-like symptoms in a population. Evidence is supportive of a decreased rate of influenza in children over the age of two. In those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease vaccination reduces exacerbations, it is not clear if it reduces asthma exacerbations. Evidence supports a lower rate of influenza-like illness in many groups who are immunocompromised such as those with: HIV/AIDS, cancer, and post organ transplant. In those at high risk immunization may reduce the risk of heart disease. Whether immunizing health care workers affects patient outcomes is controversial with some reviews finding insufficient evidence and others finding tentative evidence.
Due to the high mutation rate of the virus, a particular influenza vaccine usually confers protection for no more than a few years. Every year, the World Health Organization predicts which strains of the virus are most likely to be circulating in the next year (see Historical annual reformulations of the influenza vaccine), allowing pharmaceutical companies to develop vaccines that will provide the best immunity against these strains. The vaccine is reformulated each season for a few specific flu strains but does not include all the strains active in the world during that season. It takes about six months for the manufacturers to formulate and produce the millions of doses required to deal with the seasonal epidemics; occasionally, a new or overlooked strain becomes prominent during that time. It is also possible to get infected just before vaccination and get sick with the strain that the vaccine is supposed to prevent, as the vaccine takes about two weeks to become effective.
Vaccines can cause the immune system to react as if the body were actually being infected, and general infection symptoms (many cold and flu symptoms are just general infection symptoms) can appear, though these symptoms are usually not as severe or long-lasting as influenza. The most dangerous adverse effect is a severe allergic reaction to either the virus material itself or residues from the hen eggs used to grow the influenza; however, these reactions are extremely rare.
The cost-effectiveness of seasonal influenza vaccination has been widely evaluated for different groups and in different settings. It has generally been found to be a cost-effective intervention, especially in children and the elderly, however the results of economic evaluations of influenza vaccination have often been found to be dependent on key assumptions.
Reasonably effective ways to reduce the transmission of influenza include good personal health and hygiene habits such as: not touching your eyes, nose or mouth; frequent hand washing (with soap and water, or with alcohol-based hand rubs); covering coughs and sneezes; avoiding close contact with sick people; and staying home yourself if you are sick. Avoiding spitting is also recommended. Although face masks might help prevent transmission when caring for the sick, there is mixed evidence on beneficial effects in the community. Smoking raises the risk of contracting influenza, as well as producing more severe disease symptoms.
Since influenza spreads through both aerosols and contact with contaminated surfaces, surface sanitizing may help prevent some infections. Alcohol is an effective sanitizer against influenza viruses, while quaternary ammonium compounds can be used with alcohol so that the sanitizing effect lasts for longer. In hospitals, quaternary ammonium compounds and bleach are used to sanitize rooms or equipment that have been occupied by patients with influenza symptoms. At home, this can be done effectively with a diluted chlorine bleach.
Social distancing strategies used during past pandemics, such as closing schools, churches and theaters, slowed the spread of the virus but did not have a large effect on the overall death rate. It is uncertain if reducing public gatherings, by for example closing schools and workplaces, will reduce transmission since people with influenza may just be moved from one area to another; such measures would also be difficult to enforce and might be unpopular. When small numbers of people are infected, isolating the sick might reduce the risk of transmission.
The presence of an upper respiratory tract infection in a dog that has been vaccinated for the other major causes of kennel cough increases suspicion of infection with canine influenza, especially in areas where the disease has been documented. A serum sample from a dog suspected of having canine influenza can be submitted to a laboratory that performs PCR tests for this virus.
In June 2009, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) approved the first canine influenza vaccine. This vaccine must be given twice initially with a two-week break, then annually thereafter.
People who do not regularly come into contact with birds are not at high risk for contracting avian influenza. Those at high risk include poultry farm workers, animal control workers, wildlife biologists, and ornithologists who handle live birds. Organizations with high-risk workers should have an avian influenza response plan in place before any cases have been discovered. Biosecurity of poultry flocks is also important for prevention. Flocks should be isolated from outside birds, especially wild birds, and their waste; vehicles used around the flock should be regularly disinfected and not shared between farms; and birds from slaughter channels should not be returned to the farm.
With proper infection control and use of personal protective equipment (PPE), the chance for infection is low. Protecting the eyes, nose, mouth, and hands is important for prevention because these are the most common ways for the virus to enter the body. Appropriate personal protective equipment includes aprons or coveralls, gloves, boots or boot covers, and a head cover or hair cover. Disposable PPE is recommended. An N-95 respirator and unvented/indirectly vented safety goggles are also part of appropriate PPE. A powered air purifying respirator (PAPR) with hood or helmet and face shield is also an option.
Proper reporting of an isolated case can help to prevent spread. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US) recommendation is that if a worker develops symptoms within 10 days of working with infected poultry or potentially contaminated materials, they should seek care and notify their employer, who should notify public health officials.
For future avian influenza threats, the WHO suggests a 3 phase, 5 part plan.
- Phase: Pre-pandemic
- Reduce opportunities for human infection
- Strengthen the early warning system
- Phase: Emergence of a pandemic virus
- Contain or delay spread at the source
- Phase: Pandemic declared and spreading internationally
- Reduce morbidity, mortality, and social disruption
- Conduct research to guide response measures
Vaccines for poultry have been formulated against several of the avian H5N1 influenza varieties. Control measures for HPAI encourage mass vaccinations of poultry though The World Health Organization has compiled a list of known clinical trials of pandemic influenza prototype vaccines, including those against H5N1. In some countries still at high risk for HPAI spread, there is compulsory strategic vaccination though vaccine supply shortages remain a problem.
The illness is generally self-limiting. Management on the whole is preventative, by limiting exposure to mouldy environments with ventilation, or by wearing respiratory protection such as facemasks.
On chest X-ray and CT, pulmonary aspergillosis classically manifests as a halo sign, and, later, an air crescent sign.
In hematologic patients with invasive aspergillosis, the galactomannan test can make the diagnosis in a noninvasive way. False positive "Aspergillus" galactomannan tests have been found in patients on intravenous treatment with some antibiotics or fluids containing gluconate or citric acid such as some transfusion platelets, parenteral nutrition or PlasmaLyte.
On microscopy, "Aspergillus" species are reliably demonstrated by silver stains, e.g., Gridley stain or Gomori methenamine-silver. These give the fungal walls a gray-black colour. The hyphae of "Aspergillus" species range in diameter from 2.5 to 4.5 µm. They have septate hyphae, but these are not always apparent, and in such cases they may be mistaken for Zygomycota. "Aspergillus" hyphae tend to have dichotomous branching that is progressive and primarily at acute angles of about 45°.
Organic dust toxic syndrome (ODTS) is a potentially severe flu-like syndrome originally described in farmers, mushroom workers, bird breeders and other persons occupationally exposed to dusty conditions.
A blood test is the only way to confirm a case of Ross River Fever. Several types of blood tests may be used to examine antibody levels in the blood. Tests may either look for simply elevated antibodies (which indicate some sort of infection), or specific antibodies to the virus.
HFRS is difficult to diagnose on clinical grounds alone and serological evidence is often needed. A fourfold rise in IgG antibody titer in a 1-week interval, and the presence of the IgM type of antibodies against hantaviruses are good evidence for an acute hantavirus infection. HFRS should be suspected in patients with acute febrile flu-like illness, kidney failure of unknown origin and sometimes liver dysfunction.
Clinically, there is a wide spectrum of disease manifestation, making diagnosis somewhat difficult. More severe forms include: (1) the chronic pulmonary form, often occurring in the presence of underlying pulmonary disease; and (2) a disseminated form, which is characterized by the progressive spread of infection to extra-pulmonary sites. Oral manifestations have been reported as the main complaint of the disseminated forms, leading the patient to seek treatment, whereas pulmonary symptoms in disseminated disease may be mild or even misinterpreted as flu. Histoplasmosis can be diagnosed by samples containing the fungus taken from sputum (via bronchoalveolar lavage), blood, or infected organs. It can also be diagnosed by detection of antigens in blood or urine samples by ELISA or PCR. Antigens can cross-react with antigens of African histoplasmosis (caused by Histoplasma duboisii), blastomycosis, coccidioidomycosis, paracoccidioidomycosis, and Penicillium marneffei infection. Histoplasmosis can also be diagnosed by a test for antibodies against "Histoplasma" in the blood. "Histoplasma" skin tests indicate whether a person has been exposed, but do not indicate whether they have the disease. Formal histoplasmosis diagnoses are often confirmed only by culturing the fungus directly. Sabouraud agar is one type of agar growth media on which the fungus can be cultured. Cutaneous manifestations of disseminated disease are diverse and often present as a nondescript rash with systemic complaints. Diagnosis is best established by urine antigen testing, as blood cultures may take up to 6 weeks for diagnostic growth to occur and serum antigen testing often comes back with a false negative before 4 weeks of disseminated infection.
An airborne disease can be caused by exposure to a source: an infected patient or animal, by being transferred from the infected person or animal’s mouth, nose, cut, or needle puncture. People receive the disease through a portal of entry: mouth, nose, cut, or needle puncture.
Rodent control in and around the home remains the primary prevention strategy, as well as eliminating contact with rodents in the workplace and campsite. Closed storage sheds and cabins are often ideal sites for rodent infestations. Airing out of such spaces prior to use is recommended. Avoid direct contact with rodent droppings and wear a mask to avoid inhalation of aerosolized rodent secretions.