Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2014, 11(8), 8597-8611; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808597 - published 21 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Good quality water supplies and safe sanitation in urban areas are a big challenge for governments throughout the world. Providing adequate water quality is a basic requirement for our lives. The colony forming units of the bacterium Legionella pneumophila in potable water represent a big problem which cannot be overlooked for health protection reasons. We analysed several methods to program a virtual hot water tank with AI (artificial intelligence) tools including neuro-fuzzy systems as a precaution against legionelosis. The main goal of this paper is to present research which simulates the temperature profile in the water tank. This research presents a tool for a water management system to simulate conditions which are able to prevent legionelosis outbreaks in a water system. The challenge is to create a virtual water tank simulator including the water environment which can simulate a situation which is common in building water distribution systems. The key feature of the presented system is its adaptation to any hot water tank. While respecting the basic parameters of hot water, a water supplier and building maintainer are required to ensure the predefined quality and water temperature at each sampling site and avoid the growth of Legionella. The presented system is one small contribution how to overcome a situation when legionelosis could find good conditions to spread and jeopardize human lives.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2014, 11(8), 8581-8596; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808581 - published 20 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Nine types of solid lipid nanoparticle (SLN) formulations were produced using tripalmitin (TPM), glyceryl monostearate (GM) or stearic acid (SA), stabilized with lecithin S75 and polysorbate 80. Formulations were prepared presenting PI values within 0.25 to 0.30, and the physicochemical properties, stability upon storage and biocompatibility were evaluated. The average particle size ranged from 116 to 306 nm, with a negative surface charge around −11 mV. SLN presented good stability up to 60 days. The SLN manufactured using SA could not be measured by DLS due to the reflective feature of this formulation. However, TEM images revealed that SA nanoparticles presented square/rod shapes with an approximate size of 100 nm. Regarding biocompatibility aspects, SA nanoparticles showed toxicity in fibroblasts, causing cell death, and produced high hemolytic rates, indicating toxicity to red blood cells. This finding might be related to lipid type, as well as, the shape of the nanoparticles. No morphological alterations and hemolytic effects were observed in cells incubated with SLN containing TPM and GM. The SLN containing TPM and GM showed long-term stability, suggesting good shelf-life. The results indicate high toxicity of SLN prepared with SA, and strongly suggest that the components of the formulation should be analyzed in combination rather than separately to avoid misinterpretation of the results.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2014, 11(8), 8567-8580; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808567 - published 20 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of corn naturally contaminated with aflatoxin B1 and aflatoxin B2 on pathological lesions, apoptosis, cell cycle phases and T lymphocyte subsets of spleen, and to provide an experimental basis for understanding the mechanism of aflatoxin-induced immunosuppression. A total of 900 COBB500 male broilers were randomly allocated into five groups with six replicates per group and 30 birds per replicate. The experiment lasted for 6 weeks and the five dietary treatments consisted of control, 25% contaminated corn, 50% contaminated corn, 75% contaminated corn and 100% contaminated corn groups. The histopathological spleen lesions from the contaminated corn groups was characterized as congestion of red pulp, increased necrotic cells and vacuoles in the splenic corpuscle and periarterial lymphatic sheath. The contaminated corn intake significantly increased relative weight of spleen, percentages of apoptotic splenocytes, induced cell cycle arrest of splenocytes, increased the percentages of CD3+CD8+ T cells and decreased the ratios of CD3+CD4+ to CD3+CD8+. The results suggest that AFB-induced immunosuppression maybe closely related to the lesions of spleen.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2014, 11(8), 8552-8566; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808552 - published 20 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This study aimed to examine risky sexual behavior, its associated factors and HIV infection among immigrants. A participatory cross-sectional survey was conducted with 1187 immigrants at the National Immigrant Support Centre, in Lisbon (52.2% female; 34.0% Africans, 33.8% Brazilians, 32.2% Eastern Europeans). About 38% of participants reported ≥2 sexual partners in the previous year, 16.2% both regular and occasional sexual partners (last 12 months), 33.1% inconsistent condom use with occasional partners, and 64% no condom use in the last sexual intercourse. Unprotected sex in the last sexual intercourse was more likely among women, Africans, those older, with elementary education, those married and those who didn’t receive free condoms in the previous year. No condom use was less likely among those having only occasional sexual partners and both regular and occasional sexual partners. One third of participants had never been tested for HIV. Those never tested reported more frequently inconsistent condom use than those ever tested. Overall, 2.0% reported being HIV positive (2.5% of men; 4.4% of Africans); 4.3% admitted having a STI in previous year. HIV-positive immigrants reported high-risk sexual behaviors. Tailored interventions to promote awareness of HIV serostatus among immigrants as well as culturally adapted risk reduction strategies should be strengthened.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2014, 11(8), 8542-8551; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808542 - published 20 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The objective of this study was to determine the changing trend of leptospirosis over time in Thailand using two prospective hospital-based studies conducted amongst adult patients with acute undifferentiated fever (AUFI) admitted to Maharat Nakhon Ratchasima Hospital, Nakhon Ratchasima Province, Thailand between July 2001 to December 2002 and between July 2011 to December 2012. During the first period, leptospirosis (98 patients, 40%) and scrub typhus (59 patients, 24.1%) were the two major causes of AUFI. In the second period, scrub typhus (137 patients, 28.3%) was found to be more common than leptospirosis (61 patients, 12.7%). Amongst patients with leptospirosis, the proportion of male patients and the median age were similar. Leptospira interrogans serogroup Autumnalis was the major infecting serogroup in both study periods. The case fatality rate of leptospirosis was significantly higher in 2011–2012 as compared with the case fatality rate in 2001–2002 (19.7% vs. 6.3%, p < 0.001). In summary, we found that number of leptospirosis cases had decreased over time. This trend is similar to reportable data for leptospirosis complied from passive surveillance by the Ministry of Public Health, Thailand. However, the case fatality rate of severe leptospirosis has increased. Severe lung hemorrhage associated with leptospirosis remained the major cause of death.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2014, 11(8), 8529-8541; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808529 - published 20 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Profound geopolitical changes have impacted the southern and eastern Mediterranean since 2010 and defined a context of instability that is still affecting several countries today. Insecurity combined with the reduction of border controls has led to major population movements in the region and to migration surges from affected countries to southern Europe, especially to Italy. To respond to the humanitarian emergency triggered by this migration surge, Italy implemented a syndromic surveillance system in order to rapidly detect potential public health emergencies in immigrant reception centres. This system was discontinued after two years. This paper presents the results of this experience detailing its strengths and weaknesses in order to document the applicability and usefulness of syndromic surveillance in this specific context.