There is a dire need to have complementary form of disaster training which is cost effective, relatively easy to conduct, comprehensive, effective and acceptable. This will complement field drills training. A classroom-based training and simulation module was built by combining multiple tools: Powerpoint lectures, simulations utilising the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) schematic module into 'floortop' model and video show of previous disaster drill. 76 participants made up of medical responders, categorised as Level 1 (specialists and doctors), Level 2 (paramedics), Level 3 (assistant paramedics) and Level 4 (health attendants and drivers) were trained using this module. A pre-test with validated questions on current airport disaster plans was carried out before the training. At the end of training, participants answered similar questions as post-test. Participants also answered questionnaire for assessment of training's acceptance. There was a mean rise from 47.3 (18.8%) to 84.0 (18.7%) in post-test (p<0.05). For Levels 1, 2, 3 and 4 the scores were 94.8 (6.3)%, 90.1 (11)%, 80.3 (20.1)% and 65 (23.4)% respectively. Nevertheless Level 4 group gained most increase in knowledge rise from baseline pre-test score (51.4%). Feedback from the questionnaire showed that the training module was highly acceptable. A classroom-based training can be enhanced with favourable results. The use of classroom training and simulation effectively improves the knowledge of disaster plan significantly on the back of its low cost, relatively-easy to conduct, fun and holistic nature. All Levels of participants (from specialists to drivers) can be grouped together for training. Classroom training and simulation can overcome the problem of "dead-document" phenomenon or "paper-plan syndrome".
Since the identification of the new human virus, GB virus C (GBV-C)/hepatitis G-virus (HGV), in 1995/1996, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction remained the sole available diagnostic tool for GBV-C/HGV infection. Recently, a serologic test based on the detection of antibodies to the putative envelope protein 2 (anti-E2) has been introduced. We used this assay for a seroepidemiological survey including 3,314 healthy individuals from different parts of the world, 123 patients from Germany who were suspected to have an increased risk of acquiring GBV-C/HGV infection, 128 multiple organ donors, and 90 GBV-C/HGV RNA positive persons. In European countries, anti-E2 seropositivity ranged from 10.9% (Germany) to 15.3% (Austria). In South Africa (20.3%) and Brazil (19.5%), even higher anti-E2 prevalence rates were recorded. In Asian countries like Bhutan (3.9%), Malaysia (6.3%), and the Philippines (2.7%), anti-E2 positivity was significantly lower. GBV-C/HGV anti-E2 prevalence in potential "risk groups," i.e., patients on hemodialysis and renal transplant recipients, did not vary significantly from anti-E2 seroprevalence in German blood donors. Anti-E2 and GBV-C/HGV RNA were found to be mutually exclusive, confirming the notion that anti-E2 has to be considered as a marker of past infection.
In Amazonian tropical forests, recent studies have reported increases in aboveground biomass and in primary productivity, as well as shifts in plant species composition favouring fast-growing species over slow-growing ones. This pervasive alteration of mature tropical forests was attributed to global environmental change, such as an increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration, nutrient deposition, temperature, drought frequency, and/or irradiance. We used standardized, repeated measurements of over 2 million trees in ten large (16-52 ha each) forest plots on three continents to evaluate the generality of these findings across tropical forests. Aboveground biomass increased at seven of our ten plots, significantly so at four plots, and showed a large decrease at a single plot. Carbon accumulation pooled across sites was significant (+0.24 MgC ha(-1) y(-1), 95% confidence intervals [0.07, 0.39] MgC ha(-1) y(-1)), but lower than reported previously for Amazonia. At three sites for which we had data for multiple census intervals, we found no concerted increase in biomass gain, in conflict with the increased productivity hypothesis. Over all ten plots, the fastest-growing quartile of species gained biomass (+0.33 [0.09, 0.55] % y(-1)) compared with the tree community as a whole (+0.15 % y(-1)); however, this significant trend was due to a single plot. Biomass of slow-growing species increased significantly when calculated over all plots (+0.21 [0.02, 0.37] % y(-1)), and in half of our plots when calculated individually. Our results do not support the hypothesis that fast-growing species are consistently increasing in dominance in tropical tree communities. Instead, they suggest that our plots may be simultaneously recovering from past disturbances and affected by changes in resource availability. More long-term studies are necessary to clarify the contribution of global change to the functioning of tropical forests.