The biodegradation characteristics of palm oil mill effluent (POME) and the related microbial community were studied in both actual sequential anaerobic ponds in Malaysia and enrichment cultures. The significant degradation of the POME was observed in the second pond, in which the temperature was 35-37 °C. In this pond, biodegradation of major long chain fatty acids (LCFA), such as palmitic acid (C16:0) and oleic acid (C18:1), was also confirmed. The enrichment culture experiment was conducted with different feeding substrates, i.e. POME, C16:0 and C18:1, at 35 °C. Good recovery of methane indicated biodegradation of feeds in the POME and C16:0 enrichments. The methane production rate of the C18:1 enrichment was slower than other substrates and inhibition of methanogenesis was frequently observed. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) analyses indicated the existence of LCFA-degrading bacteria, such as the genus Syntrophus and Syntorophomonas, in all enrichment cultures operated at 35 °C. Anaerobic degradation of the POME under mesophilic conditions was stably processed as compared with thermophilic conditions.
In Malysia, the proportion of children fully immunized againest diphtheria is generally low (20%). On the other hand, the Schick conversion rate rises with age and reaches 90% by 11 years of age. It is noted that asymptomatic carriers are an important epidemiological factor in diphtheria and that carrier rates for school children are high (prevalence of 7.5% while the rate of coloization with C. diphtheriae over a period of one year was 30%). Although immunization protects against clinical diphtheria, it does not prevent the carrier state. Thus, for the control of diphtheria, one should aim for 100% compliance. Some suggestions as to how higher levels of immunity may be achieved are described.
Pneumonia and diarrhoeas are an important cause of toddler mortality and morbidity in developing countries. Of the 147 children admitted to the University Hospital at Kuala Lumpur in 1971 for pneumonia and diarrhoeas 50 (34%) were found to be suffering from protein-calorie malnutrition of varying degrees of severity. The malnourished children tended to come from poorer homes, and to have a larger number of siblings born in rapid succession when compared with normal weight children. Anemia was more common among the malnourished children. The interaction of infection and malnutrition and the social implications of these diseases are important. It is vital that hospitals in developing countries promote health in addition to their traditional curative role.
The weights and heights of 3,312 Malaysian primary school boys and girls, aged 6 to 11 years, belonging to various ethnic groups in Malaysia were measured. On the whole, the Chinese children were taller and heavier than the Malay and the Indian children who were the least heavy among the three ethnic groups. Economically the Indians were the poorest among the three ethnic groups and they also had the largest family size. When the household incomes were taken into consideration it was found that the growth achievement of the higher income children was better than that of the poorer children, irrespective of their ethnic groups. It is interesting to note that, although the Indian children as a whole, were the least heavy of the three ethnic groups, yet the growth achievement of the higher income Indian children was similar to that of the higher income Chinese children. The differences in growth achievement of the various ethnic groups are probably due to environmental differences, rather than genetic differences. It seems likely that Malaysian children of different ethnic groups (Malay, Chinese and Indian) can attain similar statures if environmental conditions are similar.
A study was carried out at the University Hospital, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to determine the age-specific prevalence of measles infection by serology and the age specific - seroconversion rates following measles vaccination. The results show that the percentage of children with passively acquired measles antibodies decreased with increasing age fill three to five months of age. From 12 months of age, the percentage of positivity increased sharply due probably to natural infection. The geometric mean antibody titre was low at birth, but from six months it started to increase. These results indicate that measles infection is common in Malaysia and a small number of children began to acquire natural measles infection from six to eight months of age; however the peak age for the acquisition of measles infection was from 12 months to five years of age. Seroconversion rates following vaccination from nine months of age, ranged from 94-99%. However, the rates and the geometric mean titre were higher among those vaccinated at 11 months of age or older compared with those vaccinated at nine or ten months of age. Based on the above results, it is concluded that the optimum age for measles immunization in Malaysia should be 11 months.
The infant immunization coverage for triple antigen (DPT) from 1968 and trivalent oral polio vaccine (TOPV) from 1972 to 1985 for Peninsular Malaysia are presented. It shows that immunization coverage improved when the recommended age for first dose of DPT was changed from the fourth to the second month of life in 1972 and declined when the recommended age for the first dose of DPT and TOPV was revised again from the second to the third month of life in 1980. The advantages of immunizing children early in life are discussed.