(1/3380) The meaning and use of the cumulative rate of potential life lost.

BACKGROUND: The 'years of potential life lost' (YPLL) is a public health measure in widespread use. However, the index does not apply to the comparisons between different populations or across different time periods. It also has the limit of being cross-sectional in nature, quantifying current burden but not future impact on society. METHODS: A new years-lost index is proposed-the 'cumulative rate of potential life lost' (CRPLL). It is a simple combination of the 'cumulative rate' (CR) and the YPLL. Vital statistics in Taiwan are used for demonstration and comparison of the new index with existing health-status measures. RESULTS: The CRPLL serves the purpose of between-group comparison. It can also be considered a projection of future impact, under the assumption that the age-specific mortality rates in the current year prevail. For a rare cause of death, it can be interpreted as the expected years (days) of potential life lost during a subject's lifetime. CONCLUSIONS: The CRPLL has several desirable properties, rendering it a promising alternative for quantifying health status.  (+info)

(2/3380) Isolation of Vibrio vulnificus serovar E from aquatic habitats in Taiwan.

The existence of strains of Vibrio vulnificus serovar E that are avirulent for eels is reported in this work. These isolates were recovered from water and oysters and differed from eel virulent strains in (i) fermentation and utilization of mannitol, (ii) ribotyping after HindIII digestion, and (iii) susceptibility to eel serum. Lipopolysaccharide of these strains lacked the highest molecular weight immunoreactive bands, which are probably involved in serum resistance.  (+info)

(3/3380) Natural mass infection by heterophyid metacercariae in aquacultured Japanese eel in Taiwan.

A natural mass infection of heterophyid metacercariae in aquacultured Japanese eel Anguilla japonica in Taiwan was observed. Of the 28,000 adult eels in 2 ponds, about 25,000 (90%) showed swollen, cloudy and white eyes. Although morbidity was about 90%, there was no mortality among the affected eels. Histopathological sections showed edema and hemorrhage of the eye. Numerous metacercariae were observed in the muscle tissues around the eyeball, the subcutaneous tissue and even in the cartilage. Of the 6 eels digested with artificial gastric juice, all were found to contain metacercariae in their muscle tissues. The average number of metacercariae recovered from the 6 eels was 1219, with a range of 50 to 3762. These metacercariae, when fed orally to immunodeficient (scid) mice, developed into adult worms which were identified as Procerovum cheni Hsu 1950. The naturally infected eels were transferred to a new pond without snails and their eye lesions were not apparent anymore after 2 wk. In a follow-up investigation, 19 of 20 apparently healthy eels in a nearby aquaculture farm were found to harbour metacercariae in their muscles. However, the number of the metacercariae ranged from 1 to 14, with an average of 4.21. This is the first report of heterophyid metacercariae causing mass morbidity in aquacultured eels.  (+info)

(4/3380) Extremely high incidence of macrolide and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole resistance among clinical isolates of Streptococcus pneumoniae in Taiwan.

From January 1996 to December 1997, 200 isolates of Streptococcus pneumoniae recovered from 200 patients treated at National Taiwan University Hospital were serotyped and their susceptibilities to 16 antimicrobial agents were determined by the agar dilution method. Sixty-one percent of the isolates were nonsusceptible to penicillin, exhibiting either intermediate resistance (28%) or high-level resistance (33%). About two-fifths of the isolates displayed intermediate or high-level resistance to cefotaxime, ceftriaxone, cefepime, imipenem, and meropenem. Extremely high proportions of the isolates were resistant to erythromycin (82%), clarithromycin (90%), and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMZ) (87%). Among the isolates nonsusceptible to penicillin, 23.8% were resistant to imipenem; more than 60% displayed resistance to cefotaxime, ceftriaxone, cefepime, and carbapenems; 96.7% were resistant to erythromycin; and 100% were resistant to TMP-SMZ. All isolates were susceptible to rifampin and vancomycin. The MICs at which 50% and 90% of the isolates were inhibited were 0.12 and 1 microgram/ml, respectively, for cefpirome, and 0.12 and 0.25 microgram/ml, respectively, for moxifloxacin. Six serogroups or serotypes (23F, 19F, 6B, 14, 3, and 9) accounted for 77.5% of all isolates. Overall, 92.5% of the isolates were included in the serogroups or serotypes represented in the 23-valent pneumococcal vaccine. The incidence of macrolide and TMP-SMZ resistance for S. pneumoniae isolates in Taiwan in this study is among the highest in the world published to date.  (+info)

(5/3380) Feline immunodeficiency virus subtype C is prevalent in northern part of Taiwan.

The seroepidemiological survey of cats conducted in northern part of Taiwan in 1998 revealed that the positive rate of feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)-infection was 21.9% (7/32) and the rate was much higher than those of previous reports. We succeeded in isolation of three strains of FIV from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of the blood samples. Nucleotide sequences of the env variable V3 to V5 region of the strains revealed that the isolates from distinct areas belong to subtype C. These data together with our previous report (Inada et al. 1997. Arch. Virol., 142: 1459-1467) indicate that FIV subtype C is prevalent in northern part of Taiwan.  (+info)

(6/3380) Linkage disequilibrium at the ADH2 and ADH3 loci and risk of alcoholism.

Two of the three class I alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) genes (ADH2 and ADH3) encode known functional variants that act on alcohol with different efficiencies. Variants at both these genes have been implicated in alcoholism in some populations because allele frequencies differ between alcoholics and controls. Specifically, controls have higher frequencies of the variants with higher Vmax (ADH2*2 and ADH3*1). In samples both of alcoholics and of controls from three Taiwanese populations (Chinese, Ami, and Atayal) we found significant pairwise disequilibrium for all comparisons of the two functional polymorphisms and a third, presumably neutral, intronic polymorphism in ADH2. The class I ADH genes all lie within 80 kb on chromosome 4; thus, variants are not inherited independently, and haplotypes must be analyzed when evaluating the risk of alcoholism. In the Taiwanese Chinese we found that, only among those chromosomes containing the ADH3*1 variant (high Vmax), the proportions of chromosomes with ADH2*1 (low Vmax) and those with ADH2*2 (high Vmax) are significantly different between alcoholics and controls (P<10-5). The proportions of chromosomes with ADH3*1 and those with ADH3*2 are not significantly different between alcoholics and controls, on a constant ADH2 background (with ADH2*1, P=.83; with ADH2*2, P=.53). Thus, the observed differences in the frequency of the functional polymorphism at ADH3, between alcoholics and controls, can be accounted for by the disequilibrium with ADH2 in this population.  (+info)

(7/3380) Plasma carotenoids, glutathione S-transferase M1 and T1 genetic polymorphisms, and risk of hepatocellular carcinoma: independent and interactive effects.

This study was conducted to assess the role of carotenoid and glutathione S-transferase (GST) M1 and T1 genetic polymorphisms in the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). A total of 84 incident cases of HCC and 375 matched controls selected from a cohort of 7,342 men (4,841 chronic hepatitis B carriers and 2,501 noncarriers) who were recruited between 1988 and 1992 in Taiwan were studied. Neither GST M1/T1 polymorphisms nor plasma levels of various carotenoids were independently associated with HCC, but they modulated smoking- and/or drinking-related HCC risk. Cumulative exposure to tobacco smoke significantly increased HCC risk in a dose-dependent manner among subjects with low plasma beta-carotene levels (p for trend = 0.047) but not among those with high levels. A statistically significant effect of habitual alcohol drinking on HCC risk was observed only for those with low plasma levels of beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, or lycopene and for GST M1 null subjects. There was evidence suggesting an interaction between the GST M1/T1 genotype and certain carotenoids in HCC associated with smoking and drinking. The strongest effect of smoking and drinking was noted among GST M1 null subjects with low plasma levels of beta-carotene (smoking: adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 3.54, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.06-11.83; drinking: OR = 8.28, 95% CI 2.40-28.61).  (+info)

(8/3380) High-level variability in the ORF-K1 membrane protein gene at the left end of the Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus genome defines four major virus subtypes and multiple variants or clades in different human populations.

Infection with Kaposi's sarcoma (KS)-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) or human herpesvirus 8 (HHV8) is common in certain parts of Africa, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean, but is rare elsewhere, except in AIDS patients. Nevertheless, HHV8 DNA is found consistently in nearly all classical, endemic, transplant and AIDS-associated KS lesions as well as in some rare AIDS-associated lymphomas. The concept that HHV8 genomes fall into several distinct subgroups has been confirmed and refined by PCR DNA sequence analysis of the ORF-K1 gene encoding a highly variable glycoprotein related to the immunoglobulin receptor family that maps at the extreme left-hand end of the HHV-8 genome. Among more than 60 different tumor samples from the United States, central Africa, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, and New Zealand, amino acid substitutions were found at a total of 62% of the 289 amino acid positions. These variations defined four major subtypes and 13 distinct variants or clades similar to those found for the HIV ENV protein. The B and D subtype ORF-K1 proteins differ from the A and C subtypes by 30 and 24%, respectively, whereas A and C differ from each other by 15%. In all cases tested, multiple samples from the same patient were identical. Examples of the B subtype were found almost exclusively in KS patients from Africa or of African heritage, whereas the rare D subtypes were found only in KS patients of Pacific Island heritage. In contrast, C subtypes were found predominantly in classic KS and in iatrogenic and AIDS KS in the Middle East and Asia, whereas U.S. AIDS KS samples were primarily A1, A4, and C3 variants. We conclude that this unusually high diversity, in which 85% of the nucleotide changes lead to amino acid changes, reflects some unknown powerful biological selection process that has been acting preferentially on this early lytic cycle membrane signalling protein. Two distinct levels of ORF-K1 variability are recognizable. Subtype-specific variability indicative of long-term evolutionary divergence is both spread throughout the protein as well as concentrated within two 40-amino-acid extracellular domain variable regions (VR1 and VR2), whereas intratypic variability localizes predominantly within a single 25-amino-acid hypervariable Cys bridge loop and apparently represents much more recent changes that have occurred even within specific clades. In contrast, numerous extracellular domain glycosylation sites and Cys bridge residues as well as the ITAM motif in the cytoplasmic domain are fully conserved. Overall, we suggest that rather than being a newly acquired human pathogen, HHV8 is an ancient human virus that is preferentially transmitted in a familial fashion and is difficult to transmit horizontally in the absence of immunosuppression. The division into the four major HHV8 subgroups is probably the result of isolation and founder effects associated with the history of migration of modern human populations out of Africa over the past 35,000 to 60,000 years.  (+info)