University of the West Indies, St. Augustine
Recent publications
Parasites of veterinary importance have been heavily focused on domesticated livestock that was introduced into the neo-tropics. The text used in the teaching parasitology to veterinary students in Trinidad has only investigated the parasites of domesticated species. In the reviewed veterinary parasitology text no mention was made on the parasites that affect wild neo-tropical animals. Information on wild neo-tropical animals had to be sourced from texts on the management of wild life animals in the Neotropics. The texts that were reviewed in this document spanned from the mid-1950s to 2020. The information presented in this review reveals the exhaustive work done on the parasites of domesticated species but also revealed little information on neo-tropical animals with the potential for domestication. In conclusion, this review reveals the gap of information that is missing from parasitology texts used in the teaching of veterinary students. In the future these parasitology texts can be revised to include chapters on the parasites of neo-tropical animals with the potential for domestication. At present students that graduate from the veterinary parasitology course has little information on the parasites of animals which are present in their ‘backyards’.
Anthelmintic drugs have been used strategically in livestock reared in the tropics. These drugs have been used in the treatment of endoparasitism which have resulted in an increase in the animals' performance. The agouti (Dasyprocta leporina) is a neo-tropical rodent with the potential for domestication and has been farmed intensively in Trinidad. However, the objective of this research was to investigate the effect of anthelmintic use of the growth performance of the agouti. In searching the literature, it was found that this type of study on the agouti has not been done. In this experiment fourteen weaned agoutis weighing 1kg were divided into two groups randomly. The first group (T 1) was not given any anthelmintic treatment but the second group (T 2) was treated with Endovet Ces ® subcutaneously every three months. There were no significant differences (p > 0.05) between the two groups in the carcass weight, weight gain, dressing percentage (hot and cold), heart, lungs, skin, head and feet. However, a significant difference (p < 0.05) was seen between groups in the weight of liver and pluck. To the authors knowledge this is the first time that carcass parameters has been presented in literature. The live weight of the animals at the end of the experiment ranged from 2.4 kg to 2.6 kg and animals had a dressing percentage of 57% to 55%. The results are suggestive that the use of anthelmintic drugs in agoutis reared intensively had no significant effect on weight gain and dressing percentage.
The agouti (Dasyprocta leporina) is a rodent that is found in the Neo-tropical region. This animal is hunted for its meat but has recently been reared in captivity as a source of meat protein in rural communities. A 20-month experiment was carried out to evaluate the effect of an anthelmintic on the reproductive performance of the agouti (Dasyprocta leporina) reared in captivity. This experiment was conducted in the humid tropics of Trinidad and Tobago. Sixteen animals (15 females, 1 male) placed in each of the two treatment groups in a completely randomized study design. In treatment 1 (T1) animals were given subcutaneous injections of Endovet Ces ® (Ivermectin/Praziquantel) at 0.2 mg/kg every three months. Treatment 2 (T2) was the negative control group where animals were not exposed to an anthelmintic. Reproductive data were collected at parturition which included birth weight, litter weight, litter size and gender of offspring. The results showed that there was no statistical difference (p > 0.05) between the treatment groups with respect to birth weight, litter weight, litter size and gender. However, agoutis that were dewormed had a higher birth weight (220.24 g vs 209.1 g) and litter weight (369.8 g vs 343 g). The same values were obtained for the litter size (1.7 vs 1.7) and animals that were dewormed had a higher female offspring to male offspring (2.41:1 vs 1.11:1). This experiment demonstrated that the use of an anthelmintic strategically in the management of captive reared agoutis had no statistical effect (p > 0.05) on the reproductive parameters. Therefore, these animals can be kept in captive conditions without being dewormed and produce efficiently with proper feeding and housing management.
This case report proposes the use of pulsed methylprednisolone in a patient with lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) who was invasively ventilated. A 38-year-old, East Indian gravida 4, para 1 ⁺² , patient with worsening respiratory function with spontaneous pneumothoraxes and hypoxemia was pulsed with methylprednisolone leading to rapid resolution of respiratory failure. The author proposes pulsed methylprednisolone in ventilated LAM patients, which gives another option to patients which resulted in alleviation of hypoxemia and maintaining foetal viability.
The present study was conducted in the Piparo mud-volcano, which is situated in the central part of the island of Trinidad, is geologically connected with the Central Fault Range Zone (CFRZ). This fault zone is a neotectonic (active) strike-slip fault system and an extension of the Andes Mountain chain. This study was aimed at detecting the possible gamma radiation level in Piparo MV after its eruption in September 2019 and finding the change in the ambient radiation level after that eruption. To achieve this aim, gamma radiation data were collected for 6 months (three times at 3 months interval) after this eruption. As a pilot study, gamma radiation measurements were measured with the help of a portable Geiger Muller counter from 32 locations. Radiation levels were nearly 2 times higher than the average background levels in the country indicating Piparo mud-volcano could have controlled the elevated radiation levels in the area. Good correlations were also found between elevated radiation in the northern and western sides of the main crater and presence of auxiliary craters in the same sides. Previous studies reported that the northern side of the crater was more active, and the present study also supported their observation. Good correlation (with coefficient >0.9) indicates that these radioactivity values might be syngenetic. Continuous release and slow reduction of radiation levels (only 13% over 6 months) may indicate a continuous activity in Piparo mud-volcano and may support CRFZ as a creep fault.
The United Nations declaration of a climate urgency in 2020 has intensified the need for change in energy systems across the world. This has resulted in political attention increasingly shifting to the development of low-carbon energy infrastructure. In the case of Colombia, the energy transition has brought a focus on the La Guajira region for its potential wind energy resources and the associated need for new transmission infrastructure. La Guajira is characterised by an extractive-based economy, poor socioeconomic performance and a large indigenous population. This research uses the energy justice framework to examine the justice dynamics that affect the acceptance of a proposed transmission line project. With a special focus on procedural, distributive and recognition justice, the findings that are also based on semi-structured interviews reveal interrelated equity concerns. They further highlight that recognition justice can be an underpinning force of a just transition to a low-carbon economy. The research results follow previous research but also significantly demonstrates that the roles of community advisors and experts are influential. They can foster or block energy justice. Further, this study provides evidence that the ongoing energy transition has a major hurdle of procedural justice through social acceptance. This has occurred mainly due to the legacy effects of the operations of conventional energy sources in the region. This advances the case that to achieve a just transition to a low-carbon economy, unjust legacy policies and actions of the fossil fuel industry have to be addressed.
Accurate species identification and antibiotic resistance profiling are essential for the effective management of infections caused by bacterial pathogens. In this study, 373 clinical isolates of K. pneumoniae from major hospitals in Trinidad, West Indies, were characterized for resistance against beta-lactam antibiotics and the presence of genes encoding important virulence factors. Most of the isolates showed extended spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) activity but few also displayed carbapenemase or ‘ESBL + carbapenemase’ activities. Polymerase chain reaction analysis revealed the presence of genes for ESBL subtypes blaTEM, blaSHV, and blaCTX-M that were dominant in isolates with the ESBL phenotype as well as those that did not show ESBL or carbapenemase activities. The carbapenem resistance gene, blaKPC, and the metallo-β-lactamase (MBL) gene, blaNDM-1, were also detected in some of the isolates. Multiple virulence genes were also detected, but the fimH-uge was the most common combination found among the local isolates. The findings of this study represent the first comprehensive study on the prevalence of ESBL, KPC and MBL genes and virulence profiling in antibiotic-resistant K. pneumoniae in Trinidad. Furthermore, the occurrence of multiple resistant phenotypes and gene combinations were revealed, though at low prevalence rates. This work emphasizes the need to implement molecular-based techniques in diagnostic workflows for rapid and accurate species identification and profiling of resistance and virulence genes in K. pneumoniae in Trinidad and Tobago.
The Fit India Movement is a nationwide campaign to promote and encourage the incorporation of physical activity and sports into the daily lives of the Indian people. Amongst the objectives is to instill the importance of fitness in students and their families, certainly a most worthy endeavor. Whilst we fully support the promotion of fitness activities among persons of all age groups in India, we would yet like to extend a word of caution regarding barefooted exercising, especially among those persons afflicted with diabetes mellitus. These persons are at greatly increased risk of foot trauma and ulceration. A multidisciplinary approach to caring for diabetes is costly and therefore impractical in low-resource areas. We therefore wish to highlight the “slipping slipper sign”, that is, unrecognized loss of a slipper from a person’s feet while walking, which has been demonstrated to reflect severe peripheral neuropathy. This sign can be elicited by nonmedical staff and is an effective method of identifying high-risk patients who warrant further specialized testing for peripheral neuropathy.
Aim: The main objective of the study was to identify factors associated with neonatal, post-neonatal and child mortality. The study also investigated breastfeeding status as a time-dependent variable. Methods: The 2016-2017 Haitian Demographic and Health Survey was analysed. The analysis was done on 6530 live births. Time-constant and time-dependent multivariable Royston-Parmar spline models were used to identify associated factors for all three age groups. Restricted mean survival times were calculated for the different levels of the breastfeeding variable for each age group. Results: Neonates and post-neonates who were not breastfed were associated with increased mortality, hazard ratio (HR) 22.13 (95% confidence interval (CI), 16.40-29.87) and HR 4.99 (95% CI, 3.29-7.56), respectively. Males in the child age group were associated with increased mortality, HR 2.04 (95% CI, 1.29-3.23) and HR 2.03 (95% CI, 1.28-3.21) under the time-constant and time-dependent models, respectively. Conclusions: Early initiation of breastfeeding and breastfeeding throughout the post-neonatal period is recommended. Outreach programmes that provide support and education for vulnerable families are also recommended.
The modern electric power transmission system is a geographically extensive network which can span hundreds of kilometres, crossing harsh terrain and making manual inspection of its components costly. This paper proposes a novel condition assessment methodology for transmission overhead lines that is significantly more cost effective compared to traditional foot-patrol visual inspections. The proposed methodology utilizes a multi-stage ensemble deep learning network to automatically classify tower conditions based on high resolution aerial images. While aerial inspections allow relatively quick inspection of transmission routes, they are not usually used for condition assessment due to the high capturing altitude of images which would require time consuming manual processing to identify defects on hundreds to thousands of images. The proposed methodology automatically isolates transmission poles, disaggregates components, detects defects and determines the health index of concrete structures and insulators. The method involves pushing images through layers of automatic detection, region of interest (RoI) extraction and patching. A number of recent object detectors were tested on real-world data to evaluate their performance and an ensemble model is composed to improve the reliability of the detection. Results indicate that the multi-layer approach with output-based ensemble modelling, can effectively detect critical defects, although incipient fault conditions remain uncertain.
High temporal resolution, geostationary, thermal infrared data from the Advanced Baseline Imager combined with seismic data of La Soufrière Volcano, St. Vincent provide empirical insights into the volcanic processes and mechanisms that occurred from November 2020 until the explosive phase in April 2021. An overall increase in intensity of thermal output and seismicity are observed during the effusive phase; however, the intensity of the thermal data increased ∼20 days earlier than the seismicity. During the effusive phase, the daily radiant heat flux increased from 0.01 to >100 MW and the seismicity increased from 1 to 647 events. The climax of both records occurred during the explosive eruptions on April 9-14, 2021. Strong correlations are observed between these datasets in the weeks leading to the explosive eruptions. A significant (∼5 day) decrease in thermal and seismic activity is observed ∼12 days prior to the explosive phase, which could reveal a hiatus in magma migration prior to the eruption. Periods of decoupling between these datasets are also observed and are attributed to different mechanisms during the volcanic unrest. Occurrences with high seismicity and low heat flux may indicate deeper magmatic migration where no significant surface thermal response could be detected, for example. Recognizing correlations, or lack thereof, between high-temporal resolution thermal infrared and seismic data expands potential insights to subsurface volcanic processes by providing a second, complementary vantage. Such seismic-thermal analysis can improve our community's capability to monitor and evaluate new volcanic eruptions. Indeed, extensive seismic networks (local and regional) and multiple geostationary weather satellites now provide near global coverage. A similar analysis to our work at La Soufrière Volcano, St. Vincent is feasible, and should become routine, at other volcanoes worldwide using combined high-temporal, ground and orbital data where available. The 2022 eruption at Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai volcano, Tonga, illustrates the important potential for these high cadence data and subsequent analysis even at extremely remote volcanoes.
Introduction The 49XXXXY Klinefelter variant is rare and chromosomal analysis is required for diagnosis. We discuss the surgical management of incomplete penoscrotal transposition and consider this characteristic as an associated genital anomaly. Presentation of case We report the case of a patient who initially presented with a poor urinary stream. Physical examination revealed an incomplete penoscrotal transposition and a subcoronal hypospadias. Investigations included blood tests, abdominal Ultrasound and a chromosomal analysis. A multidisciplinary team (MDT) approach facilitated diagnosis of the 49 XXXXY Klinefelter variant. Discussion At MDT, medical and surgical management were discussed with the parent. We opted for delayed surgical correction of the incomplete penoscrotal transposition in the pre-pubertal period due to unavailability of topical hormone therapy. Operative technique aimed to relocate the scrotum in a dependent position. This was achieved via an inverted omega incision to create scrotal flaps that were rotated inferomedially for midline closure. Post-operatively, the patient can now urinate standing up with a good stream and has improved cosmesis. Conclusion Incomplete penoscrotal transposition can be surgically corrected in the pre pubertal period with a good functional outcome. Chromosomal analysis is necessary in evaluating this associated genital anomaly and for diagnosis of 49XXXXY Klinefelter variant.
Mobile Adhoc Networks (MANETs) are utilised in a variety of mission-critical situations and as such, it is important to detect any fake news that exists in such networks. This research proposes an Ensemble Based Computational Social System for fake news detection in MANET messaging. As such this research combines the power of Veracity, a unique, computational social system with that of Legitimacy, a dedicated ensemble learning technique, to detect fake news in MANET messaging. Veracity uses five algorithms namely, VerifyNews, CompareText, PredictCred, CredScore and EyeTruth for the capture, computation and analysis of the credibility and content data features using computational social intelligence. To validate Veracity, a dataset of publisher credibility-based and message content-based features is generated to predict fake news. To analyse the data features, Legitimacy, a unique ensemble learning prediction model is used. Four analytical methodologies are used to analyse these experimental results. The analysis of the results reports a satisfactory performance of the Veracity architecture combined with the Legitimacy model for the task of fake news detection in MANET messaging.
The aim of this study was to determine the rate of preoperative transthoracic echocardiography in hip fracture patients and to evaluate its effects on time to surgery and length of stay. We conducted a retrospective review of all patients with hip fractures treated at a tertiary referral hospital. Data examined included age, sex, comorbidities, time to surgery, length of stay, fracture type and transthoracic echocardiography findings. Forty-eight patients with hip fractures underwent surgery (men 41.7%; mean age 77.2 (49–95)). Nine patients (18.7%) had a preoperative transthoracic echocardiography. Preoperative transthoracic echocardiography was associated with a significantly longer time to surgery an abbreviation for days e.g dys should be added after the values to indicate what time frame is being measured (14.7 versus 6.8, p = 0.0051) and length of stay (23.6 versus 10.4, p = 0.0002). This study demonstrates a high rate of preoperative transthoracic echocardiography in hip fracture patients. The role of transthoracic echocardiography should be reassessed in view of its association with significant surgical delays.
Purpose C ontact lenses (CL) remain a popular mode of refractive error correction globally and in the Caribbean, mostly among young people. However, no data on the characteristics of the CL population wearers in the Caribbean is available. This study reported on the characteristics of CL wearers and the associated factors in Trinidad and Tobago (T&T). Methods This retrospective study reviewed the clinical records of 243 CL wearers who attended the University of the West Indies (UWI) optometry clinic between 2017 and 2018. Data on their demographic profiles, CL wearing characteristics including lens type, material, purpose of wear, replacement schedule and lens care systems were extracted and analyzed. The associations between the demographic characteristics and CL wearing characteristics were also determined. Results About half of the CL wearers used them for fashion (more among those aged 18 to 30 years, 61.0%), therapeutic (more among those <18 years, 43.8%, P = 0.001) and refractive error correction purposes (more in those >40 years, P = 0.001). Females were more likely to use CLs for fashion compared with males (67.0% versus 40.7%). Age ( P <0.0005) and gender ( P = 0.030) were associated with the lens materials. Those aged 18–30 years were more likely use hydrogels compared with the younger ones (64.1% versus 25.0%). Rigid gas permeable (RGP) CL use was more common in males than females (21.8% versus 10.9%, P = 0.031). Daily disposables were predominantly used by younger respondents (18–30 years old, 31.3%, P < 0.001) and more in females than males (66.7% vs 49.4%, P = 0.040). Conclusion The study found that the CL appears to be more commonly worn for fashion in younger females and for refractive error correction in older males. Age, gender, and employment status were the main determinants of lens wear among respondents attending the university clinic in T&T.
This perspective paper explores the potential of climate finance to support Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS) efforts in achieving their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. Through a content analysis of sixteen Caribbean countries NDCs, it provides, first, a comprehensive overview of SIDS countries’ perspectives on climate financing needs for mitigation and adaptation activities in meeting their climate targets. Second, the paper examines whether Caribbean SIDS acknowledge a role for domestic financing and international and domestic fiscal policy reform within their NDCs, as a way to address climate change mitigation and adaption. The analysis of Caribbean SIDS NDCs reveals that only eight countries provide clear cost estimates for mitigation activities, five for adaptation and one with a combined cost. This gives a total of US$51.3 billion for the combination of Caribbean countries across their NDCs. The majority of climate change activities identified in the NDCs are conditional on the provision of international climate finance. While some countries discuss domestic sources of finance, few note the need for domestic fiscal policy reform to counteract direct and underlying drivers of greenhouse gas emissions and their reduction. The findings suggest that, while much attention is directed to inadequate quantities of international climate finance, fiscal policy and the use of domestic finances are important for realizing transformative change and yet receive little attention from in-country policymakers.
Female patients with abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) are usually less common and older than their male counterparts. We report on AAA disease in a Caribbean nation with respect to gender and review their outcomes relative to the male population. Data were collected prospectively and analyzed retrospectively for patients with AAAs who underwent surgery from 2001 to 2018. Sixty patients were diagnosed with AAA with 44 going on to have surgical repair of which 35 were males, aged 61 to 89 (mean age 73.4 years). Nine women ages 44 to 74 years (mean age 60.8 years) had surgical intervention, three being between 40 and 49 years. The size of aneurysms in these patients ranged from 4.3 to 11.0 cm in diameter (average 6.95 cm), female patients having an average diameter of 6.7 cm. Of the 44 patients, 43 underwent open and one endovascular repair. Thirty-three were elective cases and 11 were ruptured with 32 aorto-aortic and 13 aorto-iliac repairs. There were nine fatalities, three elective and six ruptured, with only one being female. Women had similar outcomes to men in all age groups with young patients having good results. Female AAA patients are usually older, undergo less surgical procedures especially if endovascular, and have worse outcomes than their male counterparts. Our study showed that the females were younger but had similar outcomes to the male patients. The female Caribbean patients may present at much younger ages than in continental populations and this may be due to genetic, ethnic, or lifestyle factors.
The infrequent nature of volcanic eruptions means that civil authorities and the public may often be unfamiliar with volcanic hazards and may not be fully prepared to deal with them. Many times volcano scientists are required to help governments and citizens understand the threat posed to their lives and property when volcanoes show signs of an imminent eruption. Effectively communicating the potential impact of these events can demand time and skills that these scientists may or may not have. Further, a lack of trusted scientific information can lead to public misinformation and hamper government responses. Although several risk reduction researchers and observatory scientists have advocated for the inclusion of communication specialists in scientific teams, communication resources at many observatories remain under utilised. Using the experience of The University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre (UWI-SRC), this article explores the contribution of a specialist communication team to the work of a volcano monitoring agency. The Education and Outreach (E&O) team at the UWI-SRC manages all the agency’s external communications. The team also works to raise public awareness of geological hazards in the UWI-SRC’s Eastern Caribbean region of responsibility. Within the Caribbean region, most communication research related to disaster risk up until now has focused on communication during crises. Using semi-structured interviews and document review we investigated the impact of strategic communication in a long-term, multi-hazard monitoring programme. A qualitative analysis highlighted the equal importance of crisis communication during unrest and outreach work during quiescent periods. The UWI-SRC’s communication programme has been effective in: 1) supporting scientists’ public communication 2) sustaining stakeholder engagement 3) building physical and social science capacity and 4) strengthening organisational credibility. This article examines the contribution of specialist communication to advisory volcano science throughout the disaster management cycle in the English-speaking Eastern Caribbean. It argues that significant societal value can be added to the scientific work engaged in by advisory scientists by embracing a multi-level communication strategy.
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9,317 members
Michele Devi Singh
  • Department of Food Production
Chandrashekhar Unakal
  • Department of Para-Clinical Sciences
Anthony A. Adeyanju
  • Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
Winston Elibox
  • Department of Life Sciences
Milena Mechkarska
  • Department of Life Sciences
Trinidad and Tobago
Head of institution
Dr Piyasuda Pangsapa