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  • Author or Editor: B. Walters x
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The British Nuclear Fuels Limited (BNFL) complex (Sellafield) in Cumbria discharges into the atmosphere, under authorization by the Environment Agency (and previously, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF), radioactive waste consisting of gases, mists and dusts. As part of MAFF's radiological surveillance programme, the intake of radionuclides via food ingestion by members of the public living near this nuclear installation is routinely assessed from measurements made on local food and environmental samples and by using computer models simulating the dispersion and incorporation of radioactivity into foodstuffs. In this study, the individual diets of adults and children living near the Sellafield complex and those from a control group were assessed for their radionuclide content. The participants were selected via a food survey questionnaire which was aimed at identifying those who consume home grown fruits and vegetables or derive these from local sources. The diets were collected over a one-week period in August 1995 and following radiochemical analyses of the diets for239+240Pu,137Cs,90Sr,14C, and129I, the doses received by the participants from these nuclides were extrapolated over a one-year period and compared to doses calculated from food surveillance data and to doses predicted using the MAFF food-chain computer model.

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Rapid detection of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonization status facilitates isolation and decolonization and reduces MRSA infections. Liquid but not dry swabs allow fully automated detection methods. However, the accuracy of culture and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using liquid and dry swabs has not been analyzed. We compared different swab collection systems for routine nasal–throat MRSA screening in patients admitted to a tertiary care trauma center in Germany. Over 3 consecutive months, dry swabs (month 1), ESwabs (month 2), or MSwabs (month 3) were processed using Cepheid GeneXpert, Roche cobas and BD-MAX™ MRSA tests compared to chromogenic culture. Among 1680 subjects, the MRSA detection rate using PCR methods did not differ significantly between dry swabs, ESwab, and MSwab (6.0%, 6.2%, and 5.3%, respectively). Detection rates using chromogenic culture were 2.9%, 3.9%, and 1.9%, using dry, ESwab, and MSwab, respectively. Using chromogenic culture as the “gold standard”, negative predictive values for the PCR tests ranged from 99.2–100%, and positive predictive values from 33.3–54.8%. Thus, efficient and accurate MRSA screening can be achieved using dry, as well as liquid E- or MSwab, collection systems. Specimen collection using ESwab or MSwab facilitates efficient processing for chromogenic culture in full laboratory automation while also allowing molecular testing in automated PCR systems.

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