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Serodiagnosis of Human Bocavirus 1 Infection among Hospitalised Children with Lower Respiratory Tract Infection in Latvia

Abstract

Since its discovery in 2005, human bocavirus 1 (HBoV1) has globally been one of the most common respiratory viruses. It is currently accepted that HBoV1 is a pathogen, causing upper and lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) in children. However, due to the prolonged HBoV1 DNA shedding from the upper airways and the subsequent high rate of co-detections with other respiratory viruses, the interpretation of positive polymerase chain reaction results is challenging. The aim of this study was to identify acute HBoV1 infections by the presence of HBoV1-specific IgM and IgG measured by competition enzyme immunoassay, to elucidate the induction of Th1/Th2 cytokines, and to describe the clinical characteristics associated with acute HBoV1 infection in hospitalised children less than five years of age with LRTI. HBoV1 IgM was detected in 19/102 (18.6%) and IgG in 66/102 (64.7%) patients. HBoV1 IgM was most frequently found in patients aged 13 to 24 months. Pneumonia and acute wheezing were the most common clinical diagnoses among HBoV1 IgM positive patients. The seroprevalence of HBoV1-specific IgG increased with age, reaching 85% by the age of five years. INF-γ, IL-4, IL-5, and IL-10 were observed to be higher in patients with acute HBoV1 infection.

Open access
Synovitis in Osteoarthritic Patients: Morphological and Virological Evidence of its Contribution to Development of the Disease

Abstract

The role of inflammation in the development of osteoarthritic joint degeneration is not completely understood. Recent data suggest that processes that cause and orchestrate inflamed synovial lesions may be implicated in the development of the disease. The morphological changes of the synovium in patients with osteoarthritis (OA), as well as the level of synovial inflammation cautiously graded, in association to the presence of human parvovirus B19 (B19V) infection markers, were evaluated. Qualitative and quantitative detection of B19V genomic sequence was performed in OA and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) groups. The expression of CD68, S100 (Ca2+ binding proteins soluble in 100% ammonium sulfate) and B19 VP1/VP2 capsid proteins found in the synovium were investigated by single and double immunolabeling, whereas fine features of synoviocytes — by electron microscopy. One-third of OA and RA patients demonstrated synovial expression of B19V antigen, which was confirmed in both types of synoviocytes. The overall expression of B19V in OA patients was weaker than that found in RA subjects. Positive correlation between B19V-positive vascular endothelial cells, sublining infiltrating lymphocytes, macrophages, and B19V-positive synoviocytes was established. No correlation between synovitis score indices as well as the expression of S100 and expression of B19V was found. The results suggest that the synovial membrane maintains local joint homeostasis, and that virus mediated synovitis is implicated in the development of OA.

Open access
Vaccination Against Influenza: Attitude of Health Care Personnel in a Multidisciplinary Hospital in Latvia

Abstract

Health care personnel (HCP) are at high risk of acquiring influenza due to exposure to patients. However, vaccination in HCP is lower than 40% for most European countries. The aim of this study was to determine the attitude towards influenza vaccination and possible reasons for this attitude in HCP. A cross-sectional study was performed in a multidisciplinary hospital of Latvia. The sample (n = 1099) included doctors (239), nurses (418), care services (236), administrative staff (108), and technical support staff (98). Five questions addressed vaccination of planned patients and HCP, knowledge of etiological anti-influenza drugs, and their storage at the hospital for immediate use. The results revealed that the level of regular vaccination against influenza in HCP was relatively low (14%). This contrasted with a more positive attitude towards vaccination of patients (53%) and personnel (60%). This contrast provided evidence for a low level of proactive action. High expectations regarding medications covered by the hospital (82%) indicated transferring of part of personal responsibility to the organisation. Doctors demonstrated a better understanding of the problem and a higher level of vaccination. However, some of doctors’ attitudes showed underestimation of influenza-associated risk.

Open access
Analyses of Social Networks and their Social or Antisocial Impact

Abstract

The research focus is set in the investigation of positive and negative aspects of use of social networks using a ‘bifocal approach’ to social networks analysis. Our bifocal approach uses qualitative approach reviewing published literature primarely blogs, forums, web sites, etc and interchangeably compares and conveys the results with focus groups. The objective of the research study is to show that social networks can runs both ways, it can be helpful while at the same time can be very dangerous and impact in asocialization and other harmfull ways. Social networks have become an inseparable part of not only students but also the lives of people in general. Students spend a lot of time utilizing social networks and are considered to be the largest social network users. Students communicating with social networks, especially virtual communities, enabled real-time access, communication synchronization, posting and sharing photos, videos, original and creative work are the main activities and interests of students. As a result of the fast acquisition of social networks, people today live in the world of technology and can quickly gain competences in their daily lives, these changes in technology also affect the lives of students. The Internet has also changed day-to-day and student activities both in University life and in social life. The research study tries to investigate and present a realistic picture of the current situation on the impact of social networks on students. The research methodology is qualitative and reviewed is the published research in the field as well as blogs, forums and other web sites where real life experiences and opinions are expressed from real users. Also 2 student focus groups have been used, novice and expert group. The research study tries to contribute with the recommendations how students can use these networking technologies positively in their daily lives and where educational opportunities are still unknown, we can help schools to be more important, connected, and fully understandable to students, and at the same time to alert to the dangers of social networks. Therefore, the main purpose of this research study is to investigate the effects of using social networks and their social or antisocial impact to society. Based on the study, the conclusion is that in order to protect the student we should increase the awareness for the risk that are coming from inappropriate use of social networks. Insights and recommendations are provided.

Open access
Austrian Albanians between Cultural Integration and Cultural Defense

Abstract

This study deals with the issue of cultural integration of a migrant community, i.e. Albanian community or Diaspora in the Austrian society. First, it elaborates culture as an element that distinguishes human beings from other living beings, stating that man is not born with culture but it is rather acquired, developed, cultivated, and enriched during one’s lifetime. It also emphasizes the weight that culture has in society, noting that three forces have the greatest impact on society: the state, religion and culture. The second issue treated is cultural assimilation, as a process of social and cultural fusion of groups with different identities, cultural defense, cultural isolation and ghettoization. The second is Albanian Diaspora in Austria, the history, structure and cultural apology trends. Final and most important element of this research is empirical part, namely the survey applied in the field, i.e. in Austria, with 296 respondents, selected randomly. Among the conclusions are that Austrian Albanians tend cultural self-defense, apology of their code by creating cultural islands, meeting points, being concentrated culturally, that the first generation is more hesitant in accepting the Austrian cultural values compared with the second generation that is more cosmopolitan.

Open access
Challenges of Facebook Integration in High Education

Abstract

Currently, the Internet has become a part of the everyday life of human beings. The way of communication between people has changed and social networks are dominating in the lives of everyone. One of the most used social networks is Facebook, but besides that it is used for communication and entertainment, Facebook can also be used for learning. Therefore, the main issue of this paper is the use of Facebook for educational approaches by students and teachers. Case studies are the challenges of integration of Facebook in High Education in the municipality of Kumanovo in the Republic of North Macedonia in 2016. Special emphasis is devoted in usage of Facebook in schools as the main questions were whether students use Facebook to ask for help for assignments or any material, and do teachers use Facebook to post assignments and to communicate with students. To understand this, there are conducted two questionnaires, one to students and one to teachers and interviews with school principals, and finally responses of people who participated have been analyzed. The result is that by joining Facebook in education, students are more motivated to learn, Facebook helps students to learn by sharing knowledge with each other and by using Facebook at school, teachers will find it easier to inform students.

Open access
Developing Teaching Materials for ESP Courses: The Last Option Many ESP Teachers Resort To

Abstract

Contrary to the claim made by Hutchinson and Waters (1987) that designing teaching materials should be the last option considered, Basturkmen and Bocanegra-Valle (2018) remind that many ESP teachers are very frequently directly involved in designing teaching materials as commercially published coursebooks and other materials tend not to be relevant to the needs of their specialized groups of learners.

This paper offers an insight into the key aspects as well as the sequence of ESP materials design. It outlines the main beliefs and principles which constitute the general framework for teaching materials development and summarizes the major explicit and implicit teachers’ beliefs which inevitably reflect on the process of materials design. This paper also tackles the issues of assumed abilities and training for developing and/or adapting teaching materials offered to ESP teachers in the attempt to answer the everlasting question whether being a good ESP teacher automatically implies being a good materials designer.

Open access
Difficulties in English Language Learning for Students with Dyslexia

Abstract

Teachers always try to give their best to educate all students that have been entrusted to them!

Knowing that everybody has the right to learn and be well educated, the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology after the war took considerable actions in an effort to promote inclusive education in the Kosovo education system (Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology, 2007). However, teachers are facing different challenges while trying to teach students with mild or moderate specific learning difficulties together with those who don’t have learning difficulties.

Understanding specific learning difficulties may not be hard but handling it is a great challenge.

So what are specific learning difficulties?

This research studies specific areas of inclusive education based on the difficulties students have while learning English Language, how to deal with these difficulties, how can inclusive practices within the school help, what practical teaching approaches can be used, what teaching methods are used or can be used in the inclusive classes in order to come to a conclusion of what can be done more about inclusiveness and understand the importance of inclusive education not only in the centers where the work is done but throughout Kosovo.

Remember: Students with specific learning difficulties are just like you and me, they just have a different learning style!

Open access
Digital vs in-Person Learning Environment in ESP Classrooms: Let the Students Decide

Abstract

In this study of English Foreign Language Learners, the author explored the learning preferences of 14 students (ages 18-20) enrolled in English for Specific Purposes (ESP) course. All students were provided with the same content, course materials, assignments and time for completing the assignments. They were all given the same pre and post-learning questionnaire, writing tasks and final exam. However, they completed these tasks either in a digital environment or in-class.

The study was conducted at South East European University in Macedonia where digital instruction is not well known or practiced. The results indicate that the best way for students to learn is by combining the two learning environments. By completing an assignment both ways, students discovered not only that some tasks are best done in a digital environment and others in class, but also they discovered their preferred way of learning.

Open access