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      Airborne Infectious Agents and Other Pollutants in Automobiles for Domestic Use: Potential Health Impacts and Approaches to Risk Mitigation

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          Abstract

          The world total of passenger cars is expected to go from the current one billion to >2.5 billion by 2050. Cars for domestic use account for ~74% of the world's yearly production of motorized vehicles. In North America, ~80% of the commuters use their own car with another 5.6% travelling as passengers. With the current life-expectancy of 78.6 years, the average North American spends 4.3 years driving a car! This equates to driving 101 minutes/day with a lifetime driving distance of nearly 1.3 million km inside the confined and often shared space of the car with exposure to a mix of potentially harmful pathogens, allergens, endotoxins, particulates, and volatile organics. Such risks may increase in proportion to the unprecedented upsurge in the numbers of family cars globally. Though new technologies may reduce the levels of air pollution from car exhausts and other sources, they are unlikely to impact our in-car exposure to pathogens. Can commercial in-car air decontamination devices reduce the risk from airborne infections and other pollutants? We lack scientifically rigorous protocols to verify the claims of such devices. Here we discuss the essentials of a customized aerobiology facility and test protocols to assess such devices under field-relevant conditions.

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          Most cited references 56

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          Legionnaires' disease.

          Since first identified in early 1977, bacteria of the genus Legionella are recognised as a common cause of community-acquired pneumonia and a rare cause of hospital-acquired pneumonia. Legionella bacteria multisystem manifestations mainly affect susceptible patients as a result of age, underlying debilitating conditions, or immunosuppression. Water is the major natural reservoir for Legionella, and the pathogen is found in many different natural and artificial aquatic environments such as cooling towers or water systems in buildings, including hospitals. The term given to the severe pneumonia and systemic infection caused by Legionella bacteria is Legionnaires' disease. Over time, the prevalence of legionellosis or Legionnaires' disease has risen, which might indicate a greater awareness and reporting of the disease. Advances in microbiology have led to a better understanding of the ecological niches and pathogenesis of the condition. Legionnaires' disease is not always suspected because of its non-specific symptoms, and the diagnostic tests routinely available do not offer the desired sensitivity. However, effective antibiotics are available. Disease notification systems provide the basis for initiating investigations and limiting the scale and recurrence of outbreaks. This report reviews our current understanding of this disease.
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            Is Open Access

            Humans differ in their personal microbial cloud

            Dispersal of microbes between humans and the built environment can occur through direct contact with surfaces or through airborne release; the latter mechanism remains poorly understood. Humans emit upwards of 106 biological particles per hour, and have long been known to transmit pathogens to other individuals and to indoor surfaces. However it has not previously been demonstrated that humans emit a detectible microbial cloud into surrounding indoor air, nor whether such clouds are sufficiently differentiated to allow the identification of individual occupants. We used high-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA genes to characterize the airborne bacterial contribution of a single person sitting in a sanitized custom experimental climate chamber. We compared that to air sampled in an adjacent, identical, unoccupied chamber, as well as to supply and exhaust air sources. Additionally, we assessed microbial communities in settled particles surrounding each occupant, to investigate the potential long-term fate of airborne microbial emissions. Most occupants could be clearly detected by their airborne bacterial emissions, as well as their contribution to settled particles, within 1.5–4 h. Bacterial clouds from the occupants were statistically distinct, allowing the identification of some individual occupants. Our results confirm that an occupied space is microbially distinct from an unoccupied one, and demonstrate for the first time that individuals release their own personalized microbial cloud.
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              Is Open Access

              Gram-positive and gram-negative bacterial toxins in sepsis

              Bacterial sepsis is a major cause of fatality worldwide. Sepsis is a multi-step process that involves an uncontrolled inflammatory response by the host cells that may result in multi organ failure and death. Both gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria play a major role in causing sepsis. These bacteria produce a range of virulence factors that enable them to escape the immune defenses and disseminate to remote organs, and toxins that interact with host cells via specific receptors on the cell surface and trigger a dysregulated immune response. Over the past decade, our understanding of toxins has markedly improved, allowing for new therapeutic strategies to be developed. This review summarizes some of these toxins and their role in sepsis.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                J Environ Public Health
                J Environ Public Health
                JEPH
                Journal of Environmental and Public Health
                Hindawi Publishing Corporation
                1687-9805
                1687-9813
                2016
                30 November 2016
                : 2016
                Affiliations
                1Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology & Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1H 8M5
                2CREM Co, 3403 American Drive, Mississauga, ON, Canada L4V 1T4
                3RB, 1 Philips Parkway, Montvale, NJ 07645, USA
                4Department of Biology, Medgar Evers College, The City University of New York (CUNY), Brooklyn, NY, USA
                Author notes

                Academic Editor: Linda M. Gerber

                Article
                10.1155/2016/1548326
                5155087
                4603956d-18ee-4c5c-aa53-573321a0983c
                Copyright © 2016 Syed A. Sattar et al.

                This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Categories
                Review Article

                Public health

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