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)
Funded by The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy; Grant: 01MD19013D, Smart-MD Project, Digital Technologies
There is no vaccine for SARS to date. Isolation and quarantine remain the most effective means to prevent the spread of SARS. Other preventative measures include:
- Disinfection of surfaces for fomites
- Wearing a surgical mask
- Avoiding contact with bodily fluids
- Washing the personal items of someone with SARS in hot, soapy water (eating utensils, dishes, bedding, etc.)
- Keeping children with symptoms home from school
Many public health interventions were taken to help control the spread of the disease; which is mainly spread through respiratory droplets in the air. These interventions included earlier detection of the disease, isolation of people who are infected, droplet and contact precautions, and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE); including masks and isolation gowns. A screening process was also put in place at airports to monitor air travel to and from affected countries. Although no cases have been identified since 2004, the CDC is still working to make federal and local rapid response guidelines and recommendations in the event of a reappearance of the virus.
Human-to-human transmission of SARS-CoV-2 has been confirmed during the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic. Transmission occurs primarily via respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes within a range of about 1.8 metres (6 ft). Indirect contact via contaminated surfaces is another possible cause of infection. Preliminary research indicates that the virus may remain viable on plastic and steel for up to three days, but does not survive on cardboard for more than one day or on copper for more than four hours; the virus is inactivated by soap, which destabilises its lipid bilayer. Viral RNA has also been found in stool samples from infected individuals.
The degree to which the virus is infectious during the incubation period is uncertain, but research has indicated that the pharynx reaches peak viral load approximately four days after infection. On 1 February 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that "transmission from asymptomatic cases is likely not a major driver of transmission". However, an epidemiological model of the beginning of the outbreak in China suggested that "pre-symptomatic shedding may be typical among documented infections" and that subclinical infections may have been the source of a majority of infections.
There is some evidence of human-to-animal transmission of SARS-CoV-2, including examples in felids. Some institutions have advised those infected with SARS-CoV-2 to restrict contact with animals.
Several consequent reports from China on some recovered SARS patients showed severe long-time sequelae exist. The most typical diseases include, among other things, pulmonary fibrosis, osteoporosis, and femoral necrosis, which have led to the complete loss of working ability or even self-care ability of these cases. As a result of quarantine procedures, some of the post-SARS patients have been documented suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depressive disorder.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the virus strain that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a respiratory illness. It is colloquially known as the coronavirus, and was previously referred to by its provisional name 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). SARS-CoV-2 is a positive-sense single-stranded RNA virus. It is contagious in humans, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has designated the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Because the strain was first discovered in Wuhan, China, it is sometimes referred to as "Wuhan virus" or "Wuhan coronavirus". Since the WHO discourages the use of names based on locations such as MERS, and to avoid confusion with the disease SARS, it sometimes refers to SARS-CoV-2 as "the COVID-19 virus" in public health communications. The general public frequently calls both SARS-CoV-2 and the disease it causes "coronavirus", but scientists typically use more precise terminology.
Taxonomically, SARS-CoV-2 is a strain of Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (SARSr-CoV). It is believed to have zoonotic origins and has close genetic similarity to bat coronaviruses, suggesting it emerged from a bat-borne virus. An intermediate animal reservoir such as a pangolin is also thought to be involved in its introduction to humans. The virus shows little genetic diversity, indicating that the spillover event introducing SARS-CoV-2 to humans is likely to have occurred in late 2019.
Epidemiological studies estimate each infection results in 1.4 to 3.9 new ones when no members of the community are immune and no preventive measures taken. The virus is primarily spread between people through close contact and via respiratory droplets produced from coughs or sneezes. It mainly enters human cells by binding to the receptor angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2).
There has been evidence of limited, but not sustained spread of MERS-CoV from person to person, both in households as well as in health care settings like hospitals. Most transmission has occurred "in the circumstances of close contact with severely ill persons in healthcare or household settings" and there is no evidence of transmission from asymptomatic cases. Cluster sizes have ranged from 1 to 26 people, with an average of 2.7.
The best prevention against viral pneumonia is vaccination against influenza, adenovirus, chickenpox, herpes zoster, measles, and rubella.
As of March 2020, it was unknown if past infection provides effective and long-term immunity in people who recover from the disease. Immunity is seen as likely, based on the behaviour of other coronaviruses, but cases in which recovery from COVID-19 have been followed by positive tests for coronavirus at a later date have been reported. These cases are believed to be worsening of a lingering infection rather than re-infection.
The impact of the pandemic and its mortality rate are different for men and women. Mortality is higher in men in studies conducted in China and Italy. The highest risk for men is in their 50s, with the gap between men and women closing only at 90. In China, the death rate was 2.8 percent for men and 1.7 percent for women. The exact reasons for this sex-difference is not known, but genetic and behavioural factors could be a reason. Sex-based immunological differences, lesser prevalence of smoking in women and men developing co-morbid conditions such as hypertension at a younger age than women could have contributed to the higher mortality in men. In Europe, 57% of the infected individuals were men and 72% of those died with COVID-19 were men. As of April 2020, the US government is not tracking sex-related data of COVID-19 infections. Research has shown that viral illnesses like Ebola, HIV, influenza and SARS affect men and women differently. A higher percentage of health workers, particularly nurses, are women, and they have a higher chance of being exposed to the virus. School closures, lockdowns and reduced access to healthcare following the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic may deferentially affect the genders and possibly exaggerate existing gender disparity.
Middle East respiratory syndrome is caused by the newly identified MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV), a species with single-stranded RNA belonging to the genus betacoronavirus which is distinct from SARS coronavirus and the common-cold coronavirus. Its genomes are phylogenetically classified into two clades, Clades A and B. Early cases of MERS were of Clade A clusters (EMC/2012 and Jordan-N3/2012) while new cases are genetically different in general (Clade B). The virus grows readily on Vero cells and LLC-MK2 cells.
Viral pneumonia occurs in about 200 million people a year which includes about 100 million children and 100 million adults.
Bovine malignant catarrhal fever (BMCF) is a fatal lymphoproliferative disease caused by a group of ruminant gamma herpes viruses including Alcelaphine gammaherpesvirus 1 (AlHV-1) and Ovine gammaherpesvirus 2 (OvHV-2) These viruses cause unapparent infection in their reservoir hosts (sheep with OvHV-2 and wildebeest with AlHV-1), but are usually fatal in cattle and other ungulates such as deer, antelope, and buffalo.
BMCF is an important disease where reservoir and susceptible animals mix. There is a particular problem with Bali cattle in Indonesia, bison in the US and in pastoralist herds in Eastern and Southern Africa.
Disease outbreaks in cattle are usually sporadic although infection of up to 40% of a herd has been reported. The reasons for this are unknown. Some species appear to be particularly susceptible, for example Pére Davids deer, Bali cattle and bison, with many deer dying within 48 hours of the appearance of the first symptoms and bison within three days. In contrast, post infection cattle will usually survive a week or more.
The term "bovine malignant catarrhal fever" has been applied to three different patterns of disease:
- In Africa, wildebeests carry a lifelong infection of AlHV-1 but are not affected by the disease. The virus is passed from mother to offspring and shed mostly in the nasal secretions of wildebeest calves under one year old. Wildebeest associated MCF is transmitted from wildebeest to cattle normally following the wildebeest calving period. Cattle of all ages are susceptible to the disease, with a higher infection rate in adults, particularly in peripartuent females. Cattle are infected by contact with the secretions, but do not spread the disease to other cattle. Because no commercial treatment or vaccine is available for this disease, livestock management is the only method of control. This involves keeping cattle away from wildebeest during the critical calving period. This results in Massai pastoralists in Tanzania and Kenya being excluded from prime pasture grazing land during the wet season leading to a loss in productivity. In Eastern and Southern Africa MCF is classed as one of the five most important problems affecting pastoralists along with East coast fever, contagious bovine pleuropneumonia, foot and mouth disease and anthrax.Hartebeests and topi also may carry the disease. However, hartebeests and other antelopes are infected by a variant, Alcelaphine herpesvirus 2.
- Throughout the rest of the world, cattle and deer contract BMCF by close contact with sheep or goats during lambing. The natural host reservoir for Ovine herpesvirus 2 is the subfamily Caprinae (sheep and goats) whilst MCF affected animals are from the families Bovidae, Cervidae and suidae. Susceptibility to OHV-2 varies by species, with domestic cattle and zebus somewhat resistant, water buffalo and most deer somewhat susceptible, and bison, Bali cattle, and Pere David's deer very susceptible. OHV-2 viral DNA has been detected in the alimentary, respiratory and urino-genital tracts of sheep all of which could be possible transmission routes. Antibody from sheep and from cattle with BMCF is cross reactive with AlHV-1.
- AHV-1/OHV-2 can also cause problems in zoological collections, where inapparently infected hosts (wildebeest and sheep) and susceptible hosts are often kept in close proximity.
- Feedlot bison in North America not in contact with sheep have also been diagnosed with a form of BMCF. OHV-2 has been recently documented to infect herds of up to 5 km away from the nearest lambs, with the levels of infected animals proportional to the distance away from the closest herds of sheep.
The incubation period of BMCF is not known, however intranasal challenge with AHV-1 induced MCF in one hundred percent of challenged cattle between 2.5 and 6 weeks.
Shedding of the virus is greater from 6–9 month old lambs than from adults. After experimental infection of sheep, there is limited viral replication in nasal cavity in the first 24 hours after infection, followed by later viral replication in other tissues.
Vaccination helps prevent bronchopneumonia, mostly against influenza viruses, adenoviruses, measles, rubella, streptococcus pneumoniae, haemophilus influenzae, diphtheria, bacillus anthracis, chickenpox, and bordetella pertussis.
Lower respiratory infectious disease is the fifth-leading cause of death and the combined leading infectious cause of death, being responsible for 2·74 million deaths worldwide. This is generally similar to estimates in the 2010 Global Burden of Disease study.
This total only accounts for "Streptococcus pneumoniae" and "Haemophilus Influenzae" infections and does not account for atypical or nosocomial causes of lower respiratory disease, therefore underestimating total disease burden.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes a journal "Emerging Infectious Diseases" that identifies the following factors contributing to disease emergence:
- Microbial adaption; e.g. genetic drift and genetic shift in Influenza A
- Changing human susceptibility; e.g. mass immunocompromisation with HIV/AIDS
- Climate and weather; e.g. diseases with zoonotic vectors such as West Nile Disease (transmitted by mosquitoes) are moving further from the tropics as the climate warms
- Change in human demographics and trade; e.g. rapid travel enabled SARS to rapidly propagate around the globe
- Economic development; e.g. use of antibiotics to increase meat yield of farmed cows leads to antibiotic resistance
- Breakdown of public health; e.g. the current situation in Zimbabwe
- Poverty and social inequality; e.g. tuberculosis is primarily a problem in low-income areas
- War and famine
- Bioterrorism; e.g. 2001 Anthrax attacks
- Dam and irrigation system construction; e.g. malaria and other mosquito borne diseases
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) evolved from Methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) otherwise known as common "S. aureus". Many people are natural carriers of "S. aureus", without being affected in any way. MSSA was treatable with the antibiotic methicillin until it acquired the gene for antibiotic resistance. Though genetic mapping of various strains of MRSA, scientists have found that MSSA acquired the mecA gene in the 1960s, which accounts for its pathogenicity, before this it had a predominantly commensal relationship with humans. It is theorized that when this "S. aureus" strain that had acquired the mecA gene was introduced into hospitals, it came into contact with other hospital bacteria that had already been exposed to high levels of antibiotics. When exposed to such high levels of antibiotics, the hospital bacteria suddenly found themselves in an environment that had a high level of selection for antibiotic resistance, and thus resistance to multiple antibiotics formed within these hospital populations. When "S. aureus" came into contact with these populations, the multiple genes that code for antibiotic resistance to different drugs were then acquired by MRSA, making it nearly impossible to control. It is thought that MSSA acquired the resistance gene through the horizontal gene transfer, a method in which genetic information can be passed within a generation, and spread rapidly through its own population as was illustrated in multiple studies. Horizontal gene transfer speeds the process of genetic transfer since there is no need to wait an entire generation time for gene to be passed on. Since most antibiotics do not work on MRSA, physicians have to turn to alternative methods based in Darwinian medicine. However prevention is the most preferred method of avoiding antibiotic resistance. By reducing unnecessary antibiotic use in human and animal populations, antibiotics resistance can be slowed.
The mode of transmission of BoDV-1/2 is unclear but probably occurs through intranasal exposure to contaminated saliva or nasal secretions. Following infection, individuals may develop Borna disease, or may remain subclinical, possibly acting as a carrier of the virus.
Mycoplasma is found more often in younger than in older people.
Older people are more often infected by Legionella.
A wide variety of clinical signs have been described for HS in cattle and buffaloes. The incubation periods (the time between exposure and observable disease) for buffalo calves 4–10 months of age varies according to the route of infection. The incubation period is 12–14 hours, approximately 30 hours and 46–80 hours for subcutaneous infection, oral infection and natural exposure, respectively.
There is variability in the duration of the clinical course of the disease. In the case of experimental subcutaneous infection, the clinical course lasted only a few hours, while it persisted for 2–5 days following oral infection and in buffaloes and cattle that had been exposed to naturally-infected animals. It has also been recorded from field observations that the clinical courses of per-acute and acute cases were 4–12 hours and 2–3 days, respectively.
Generally, progression of the disease in buffaloes and cattle is divided into three phases. Phase one is characterised by fever, with a rectal temperature of , loss of appetite and depression. Phase two is typified by increased respiration rate (40–50/minute), laboured breathing, clear nasal discharge (turns opaque and mucopurulent as the disease progresses), salivation and submandibular oedema spreading to the pectoral (brisket) region and even to the forelegs. Finally, in phase three, there is typically recumbency, continued acute respiratory distress and terminal septicaemia. The three phases overlap when the disease course is short. In general, buffaloes have a more acute onset of disease than cattle, with a shorter duration.
When comparing the bacterial-caused atypical pneumonias with these caused by real viruses (excluding bacteria that were wrongly considered as viruses), the term "atypical pneumonia" almost always implies a bacterial cause and is contrasted with viral pneumonia.
Known viral causes of atypical pneumonia include respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza A and B, parainfluenza, adenovirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)
Haemorrhagic septicaemia is one of the most economically important pasteurelloses. Haemorrhagic septicaemia in cattle and buffaloes was previously known to be associated with one of two serotypes of "P. multocida": Asian B:2 and African E:2 according to the Carter-Heddleston system, or 6:B and 6:E using the Namioka-Carter system.
The disease occurs mainly in cattle and buffaloes, but has also been reported in goats ("Capra aegagrus hircus"), African buffalo ("Syncerus nanus"), camels, horses and donkeys ("Equus africanus asinus"), in pigs infected by serogroup B, and in wild elephants ("Elephas maximus"). Serotypes B:1 and B:3,4 have caused a septicaemic disease in antelope ("Antilocapra americana") and elk ("Cervus canadensis"), respectively. Serotype B:4 was associated with the disease in bison ("Bison bison").
Serotypes E:2 and B:2 were associated with HS outbreaks in Africa and Asia respectively. Serotype E:2 was reported in Senegal, Mali, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Cameroon, the Central African Republic and Zambia. However, it is now inaccurate to associate outbreaks in Africa with serotype E:2 as many outbreaks of HS in Africa have now been associated with serogroup B. In the same manner, serogroup E has been associated with outbreaks in Asia. For instance, one record of "Asian serotype" (B:2) was reported in Cameroon. Some reports showed that serotype B:2 may be present in some East African countries. Both serogroups B and E have been reported in Egypt and Sudan.
Natural routes of infection are inhalation and/or ingestion. Experimental transmission has succeeded using intranasal aerosol spray or oral drenching. When subcutaneous inoculation is used experimentally, it results in rapid onset of the disease, a shorter clinical course and less marked pathological lesions compared to the longer course of disease and more profound lesions of oral drenching and the intranasal infection by aerosols.
When HS was introduced for the first time into a geographic area, morbidity and mortality rates were high, approaching 100% unless animals were treated in the very early stages of disease.
Porcine circoviral disease (PCVD) and Porcine circovirus associated disease (PCVAD), is a disease seen in domestic pigs. This disease causes illness in piglets, with clinical signs including progressive loss of body condition, visibly enlarged lymph nodes, difficulty in breathing, and sometimes diarrhea, pale skin, and jaundice. PCVD is very damaging to the pig-producing industry and has been reported worldwide. PCVD is caused by porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV-2).
The North American industry endorses "PCVAD" and European use "PCVD" to describe this disease.
CAP may be prevented by treating underlying illnesses increasing its risk, by smoking cessation and vaccination of children and adults. Vaccination against "haemophilus influenzae" and "streptococcus pneumoniae" in the first year of life has reduced their role in childhood CAP. A vaccine against "streptococcus pneumoniae", available for adults, is recommended for healthy individuals over 65 and all adults with COPD, heart failure, diabetes mellitus, cirrhosis, alcoholism, cerebrospinal fluid leaks or who have had a splenectomy. Re-vaccination may be required after five or ten years.
Patients who are vaccinated against "streptococcus pneumoniae", health professionals, nursing-home residents and pregnant women should be vaccinated annually against influenza. During an outbreak, drugs such as amantadine, rimantadine, zanamivir and oseltamivir have been demonstrated to prevent influenza.
CAP is common worldwide, and a major cause of death in all age groups. In children, most deaths (over two million a year) occur in newborn period. According to a World Health Organization estimate, one in three newborn deaths are from pneumonia. Mortality decreases with age until late adulthood, with the elderly at risk for CAP and its associated mortality.
More CAP cases occur during the winter than at other times of the year. CAP is more common in males than females, and more common in black people than Caucasians. Patients with underlying illnesses (such as Alzheimer's disease, cystic fibrosis, COPD, tobacco smoking, alcoholism or immune-system problems) have an increased risk of developing pneumonia.
Postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome ("PMWS") is the classic PCVD entity, caused by PCV-2. PCV-2 has a near universal distribution – present in most pig herds. In contrast, PMWS is more sporadic in its distribution. Experimental induction of PMWS has not been achieved by PCV-2 infection alone, using infectious DNA clones of the virus or a pure form of PCV-2 derived from infectious DNA clones. Therefore, it is assumed that PMWS is a multifactorial disease. PCV-2 is necessary but not sufficient for the development of PMWS. However, viral infection by itself tends to cause only mild disease, and co-factors such as other infections or immunostimulation seem necessary for development of severe disease. For example, concurrent infection with porcine parvovirus or PRRS virus, or immunostimulation lead to increased replication of PCV-2 and more severe disease in PCV-2-infected pigs. There is no significant correlation of the disease with virus sequence variation with affected and control pigs.