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Concept: Netherlands Antilles


The Caribbean is highly vulnerable to coastal hazards. Based on their short recurrence intervals over the intra-American seas, high-category tropical cyclones and their associated effects of elevated storm surge, heavy wave impacts, mudslides and floods represent the most serious threat. Given the abundance of historical accounts and trigger mechanisms (strike-slip motion and oblique collision at the northern and southern Caribbean plate boundaries, submarine and coastal landslides, volcanism), tsunamis must be considered as well. This paper presents interdisciplinary multi-proxy investigations of sediment cores (grain size distribution, carbonate content, loss-on-ignition, magnetic susceptibility, microfauna, macrofauna) from Washington-Slagbaai National Park, NW Bonaire (Leeward Antilles). No historical tsunami is recorded for this island. However, an allochthonous marine layer found in all cores at Boka Bartol reveals several sedimentary criteria typically linked with tsunami deposits. Calibrated (14)C data from these cores point to a palaeotsunami with a maximum age of 3,300 years. Alternative explanations for the creation of this layer, such as inland flooding during tropical cyclones, cannot entirely be ruled out, though in recent times even the strongest of these events on Bonaire did not deposit significant amounts of sediment onshore. The setting of Boka Bartol changed from an open mangrove-fringed embayment into a poly- to hyperhaline lagoon due to the establishment or closure of a barrier of coral rubble during or subsequent to the inferred event. The timing of the event is supported by further sedimentary evidence from other lagoonal and alluvial archives on Bonaire.

Concepts: Sedimentary rock, Geology, Tropical cyclone, Caribbean, Flood, Lesser Antilles, Leeward Antilles, Netherlands Antilles


No interventions have been done yet to improve antibiotic use on Aruba. In the Netherlands, introduction of an antibiotic checklist resulted in more appropriate antibiotic use in nine hospitals. We aimed to introduce the antibiotic checklist on Aruba, to test its effectiveness and to evaluate the possibility of implementing this checklist outside the Netherlands.

Concepts: European Union, Netherlands, Prostitution in the Netherlands, Dutch language, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Aruba, Netherlands Antilles


The study of past sea levels relies largely on the interpretation of sea-level indicators. Palaeo tidal notches are considered as one of the most precise sea-level indicators as their formation is closely tied to the local tidal range. We present geometric measurements of modern and palaeo (Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5e) tidal notches on Bonaire (southern Caribbean Sea) and results from two tidal simulations, using the present-day bathymetry and a palaeo-bathymetry. We use these two tools to investigate changes in the tidal range since MIS 5e. Our models show that the tidal range changes most significantly in shallow areas, whereas both, notch geometry and models results, suggest that steeper continental shelves, such as the ones bordering the island of Bonaire, are less affected to changes in tidal range in conditions of MIS 5e sea levels. We use our data and results to discuss the importance of considering changes in tidal range while reconstructing MIS 5e sea level histories, and we remark that it is possible to use hydrodynamic modelling and notch geometry as first-order proxies to assess whether, in a particular area, tidal range might have been different in MIS 5e with respect to today.

Concepts: Sea level, Oceanography, Ocean, Ice age, Cartography, Storm surge, Lesser Antilles, Netherlands Antilles



Equines in the West Indies are used for recreational purposes, tourism industry, racing and agriculture or can be found in feral populations. Little is known in the Caribbean basin about the prevalence of some major equine infectious diseases, some with zoonotic potential, listed as reportable by the OIE. Our objective was to study the prevalence of antibodies for West Nile Virus (WNV), Equine Herpes Virus-1 and 4 (EHV-1 and EHV-4), Equine Influenza (EI), Equine Viral Arteritis (EVA) and Equine Infectious Anemia Virus (EIAV) using a retrospective serological convenience study. We used 180 equine serum samples, 140 from horses and 40 from donkeys in St. Kitts, Nevis, and Sint Eustatius, collected between 2006-2015 that were tested with ELISA kits and virus neutralization (for WNV and EVA). Combining ELISA with virus neutralization testing, 25 (13.8%) equine sera were WNV positive (a mixture of indigenous and imported equines) and 3 sera (1.6%) showed doubtful results. For EHV-1, 41 equines (23.7%), mean age 6.7 years, were seropositive. For EHV-4, 138 equines were found seropositive (82.8%), mean age 6.3 years. For EI, 49 equines (27.2%), mean age 7.5 years, were seropositive on ELISA, some previously vaccinated horses. No antibodies against EAV were found on virus neutralization testing, although one animal (0.6%), was EAV positive on ELISA. All samples were EIAV negative. The seroprevalence for EHV-1 and EHV-4 is similar to other parts of the world. For the first time in the study location serologic evidence of antibodies against WNV and EI is reported. This was found in both indigenous and imported animals, highlighting the need for developing proper surveillance plans based on complementary methods of virus detection. Further studies will be needed to define the prevalence, rates of transmission, characterize local virus strains, and study their impact on these populations.

Concepts: Influenza, Caribbean, West Nile virus, Saint Kitts, Netherlands Antilles, Leeward Islands, Horse diseases, Saint Martin


This study was aimed to asses the prevalence of CYP2D6 and CYP2C19 polymorphisms in psychiatric patients and in volunteers from Dutch caribbean origin.

Concepts: Cytochrome P450, Psychiatry, Psychoactive drug, Caribbean, Dutch language, Leeward Antilles, Netherlands Antilles


Resistance breakdown has been observed following the deployment of plant cultivars resistant to pests. Assessing the durability of a resistance requires long-term experiments at least at a regional scale. We collected such data for melon resistance conferred by the Vat gene cluster to melon aphids. We examined landscape-level populations of Aphis gossypii collected in 2004-2015, from melon-producing regions with and without the deployment of Vat resistance and with different climates. We conducted demo-genetic analyses of the aphid populations on Vat and non-Vat plants during the cropping seasons. The Vat resistance decreased the density of aphid populations in all areas and changed the genetic structure and composition of these populations. Two bottlenecks were identified in the dynamics of adapted clones, due to the low levels of production of dispersal morphs and winter extinction. Our results suggest that (i) Vat resistance will not be durable in the Lesser Antilles, where no bottleneck affected the dynamics of adapted clones, (ii) Vat resistance will be durable in south-west France, where both bottlenecks affected the dynamics of adapted clones and (iii) Vat resistance will be less durable in south-east France, where only one of the two bottlenecks was observed.

Concepts: Genetics, Plant, Climate, Hemiptera, Cretaceous, Aphididae, Population bottleneck, Netherlands Antilles


The epidemiology of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) in tropical areas is different compared with developed countries. We investigated the epidemiology of GBS on the Caribbean island of Aruba. Data were collected retrospectively from all 36 patients hospitalized with GBS between 2003 and 2011 in Aruba. We observed a seasonal distribution of GBS cases with a peak in February. The incidence rate (IR) fluctuated heavily between individual years. The overall IR was 3.93/100,000, which is higher than that observed in developed countries. Serological studies indicated a possible relation of GBS cases with dengue virus infections. We also observed a relation between the annual number of dengue cases in Aruba and the number of GBS cases in the same year. We conclude that the epidemiology of GBS in tropical areas can be different from temperate climate regions and that dengue may be a trigger for developing GBS.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Climate, United Kingdom, North America, France, Caribbean, Dutch language, Netherlands Antilles


Lionfish (Pterois spp.) are invasive species that have recently spread throughout the Caribbean. Lionfish are available for purchase in local markets for human consumption in several islands of the region. We examined the prevalence of ciguatoxins (CTXs) in lionfish from the French Antilles, a ciguatera-endemic region. The neuroblastoma-2a (N2a) cell assay was used to assess composite cytotoxicity in 120 fish samples collected from the surrounding waters of Guadeloupe (n=60), Saint Barthélemy Islands (n=55) and Saint Martin (n=5). Twenty-seven of these samples exhibited CTX-like activity by the N2a assay. Ciguatoxin (CTX) was confirmed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) in multiple samples that presented highest composite toxicity levels by N2a. Those fish found to contain CTXs were all from Saint Barthélemy. Lionfish from Guadeloupe and Saint Martin did not exhibit toxin activity, although the sample size from Saint Martin was insufficient to draw any conclusions as to the incidence of CTXs. In this study, we provide information about the potential hazard of ciguatera associated with the consumption of lionfish from known endemic areas. We also demonstrate the utility of the cell-based assay combined with LC-MS/MS to assess activity and to provide structural confirmation of CTXs respectively.

Concepts: Toxicity, Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, France, Caribbean, Netherlands Antilles, Ciguatera, Ciguatoxin, Saint Barthélemy


Brua is an Afro-Caribbean religion and healing tradition from the southern part of the former Netherlands Antilles. Like other Caribbean healing traditions, it plays a significant role in shaping how individuals experience and express disorders which Western health professionals consider to require psychiatric care. Because little has been published on Brua, and because patients from Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao are often reluctant to discuss their commitment to this tradition, they are often misdiagnosed and either over- or undertreated by biomedically trained health professionals. The present paper provides a review of the literature on Brua and its relation to psychiatry. A systematic search was carried out in PubMed, the Ovid database, Google Scholar, and the historical literature. Our search yielded 35 texts on Brua, including three peer-reviewed scientific papers and eight academic theses. From those texts Brua emerges as a holistic patchwork of creolized beliefs and practices which are considered to be both cause and remedy for a wide variety of ailments. Despite the fact that tension between the Brua discourse and Western-oriented psychiatric practice is significant, adherence to Brua does not seem to cause much patient delay in help-seeking. However, belief in Brua as a possible source of mental and physical complaints, as well as patients' frequent recourse to Brua practices, including the use of hallucinogens, may affect the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders.

Concepts: Mental disorder, Open access, Dutch language, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Lesser Antilles, Aruba, Leeward Antilles, Netherlands Antilles