• 1 Tropical Infectious Diseases Research and Education Centre (TIDREC), University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • 2 Institute for Research in Molecular Medicine, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
  • 3 Institute of Biological Science, Faculty of Science, University of Malaya, 50603, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • 4 Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, 50603, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • 5 School of Life Sciences, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD, UK
Trop Biomed, 2019 Dec 01;36(4):1014-1026.
PMID: 33597471


The influx of low skilled migrant workers to Malaysia from low socio-economic countries where gastrointestinal parasitic infections are prevalent has raised concerns about transmission to the local population. Three methods for detection (serology, microscopy and molecular techniques) were utilized to identify Entamoeba infections amongst the targeted cohort and determine risk factors associated with infection. Serological screening of 484 migrant workers from five working sectors in Peninsular Malaysia using IgG4 ELISA based on the rPPDK antigen showed an overall seroprevalence of 7.4% (n = 36; CL95 = 5.3-10.1%) with only one factor statistically associated with seropositivity of anti-amoebic antibodies, i.e. years of residence in Malaysia (χ2 1 = 4.007, p = 0.045). Microscopic examination of 388 faecal samples for protozoan cysts and trophozoites showed a slightly higher prevalence (11.6%; n=45; CL95: 8.4-14.8%). Meanwhile, amplification of the 16S rDNA gene detected two species i.e. Entamoeba dispar (23/388; 5.9%; CL95: 3.6-8.3%) and E. histolytica (11/388; 2.8%; CL95: 1.2-4.5%) and mixed infections with both parasites in only three samples (3/388; 0.8%; CL95: 0.2-2.2%). Entamoeba dispar infection was significantly associated with those employed in food and domestic services (χ2 4 = 12.879, p = 0.012). However, none of the factors affected the prevalence of E. histolytica infection. Despite the low prevalence of E. histolytica in faecal samples of the study cohort, the presence of this pathogenic parasite still poses potential public health risks and calls for tighter control strategies based on better availability of chemotherapeutic treatment and accessibility to appropriate health education.

* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.