The zoonotic malaria species Plasmodium knowlesi has become the main cause of human malaria in Malaysian Borneo. Deforestation and associated environmental and population changes have been hypothesized as main drivers of this apparent emergence. We gathered village-level data for P. knowlesi incidence for the districts of Kudat and Kota Marudu in Sabah state, Malaysia, for 2008-2012. We adjusted malaria records from routine reporting systems to reflect the diagnostic uncertainty of microscopy for P. knowlesi. We also developed negative binomial spatial autoregressive models to assess potential associations between P. knowlesi incidence and environmental variables derived from satellite-based remote-sensing data. Marked spatial heterogeneity in P. knowlesi incidence was observed, and village-level numbers of P. knowlesi cases were positively associated with forest cover and historical forest loss in surrounding areas. These results suggest the likelihood that deforestation and associated environmental changes are key drivers in P. knowlesi transmission in these areas.
Of the ≈400 cases of avian influenza (H7N9) diagnosed in China since 2003, the only travel-related cases have been in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Detection of a case in a Chinese tourist in Sabah, Malaysia, highlights the ease with which emerging viral respiratory infections can travel globally.
To determine effects of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 on children in the tropics, we examined characteristics of children hospitalized for this disease in Malaysia. Of 1,362 children, 51 (3.7%) died, 46 of whom were in an intensive care unit. Although disease was usually mild, ≥ 1 concurrent conditions were associated with higher death rates.
We isolated and characterized Nipah virus (NiV) from Pteropus vampyrus bats, the putative reservoir for the 1998 outbreak in Malaysia, and provide evidence of viral recrudescence. This isolate is monophyletic with previous NiVs in combined analysis, and the nucleocapsid gene phylogeny species.
Nipah virus (NiV) is a highly pathogenic paramyxovirus that causes fatal encephalitis in humans. The initial outbreak of NiV infection occurred in Malaysia and Singapore in 1998-1999; relatively small, sporadic outbreaks among humans have occurred in Bangladesh since 2001. We characterized the complete genomic sequences of identical NiV isolates from 2 patients in 2008 and partial genomic sequences of throat swab samples from 3 patients in 2010, all from Bangladesh. All sequences from patients in Bangladesh comprised a distinct genetic group. However, the detection of 3 genetically distinct sequences from patients in the districts of Faridpur and Gopalganj indicated multiple co-circulating lineages in a localized region over a short time (January-March 2010). Sequence comparisons between the open reading frames of all available NiV genes led us to propose a standardized protocol for genotyping NiV; this protcol provides a simple and accurate way to classify current and future NiV sequences.
In 2010, chikungunya virus of the East Central South African genotype was isolated from 4 children in Myanmyar who had dengue-like symptoms. Phylogenetic analysis of the E1 gene revealed that the isolates were closely related to isolates from China, Thailand, and Malaysia that harbor the A226V mutation in this gene.
Enterovirus 71 (EV71) outbreaks occur periodically in the Asia-Pacific region. In 2006, Brunei reported its first major outbreak of EV71 infections, associated with fatalities from neurologic complications. Isolated EV71 strains formed a distinct lineage with low diversity within subgenogroup B5, suggesting recent introduction and rapid spread within Brunei.
During 2005, 764 children were brought to a large children's hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, with a diagnosis of hand, foot, and mouth disease. All enrolled children had specimens (vesicle fluid, stool, throat swab) collected for enterovirus isolation by cell culture. An enterovirus was isolated from 411 (53.8%) of the specimens: 173 (42.1%) isolates were identified as human enterovirus 71 (HEV71) and 214 (52.1%) as coxsackievirus A16. Of the identified HEV71 infections, 51 (29.5%) were complicated by acute neurologic disease and 3 (1.7%) were fatal. HEV71 was isolated throughout the year, with a period of higher prevalence in October-November. Phylogenetic analysis of 23 HEV71 isolates showed that during the first half of 2005, viruses belonging to 3 subgenogroups, C1, C4, and a previously undescribed subgenogroup, C5, cocirculated in southern Vietnam. In the second half of the year, viruses belonging to subgenogroup C5 predominated during a period of higher HEV71 activity.
Deaths from Plasmodium knowlesi malaria have been linked to delayed parenteral treatment. In Malaysia, early intravenous artesunate is now recommended for all severe malaria cases. We describe P. knowlesi fatalities in Sabah, Malaysia, during 2012-2014 and report species-specific fatality rates based on 2010-2014 case notifications. Sixteen malaria-associated deaths (caused by PCR-confirmed P. knowlesi , P. falciparum , and P. vivax  and microscopy-diagnosed "P. malariae" ) were reported during 2012-2014. Six patients with severe P. knowlesi malaria received intravenous artesunate at hospital admission. For persons ≥15 years of age, overall fatality rates during 2010-2014 were 3.4, 4.2, and 1.0 deaths/1,000 P. knowlesi, P. falciparum, and P. vivax notifications, respectively; P. knowlesi-associated fatality rates fell from 9.2 to 1.6 deaths/1,000 notifications. No P. knowlesi-associated deaths occurred among children, despite 373 notified cases. Although P. knowlesi malaria incidence is rising, the notification-fatality rate has decreased, likely due to improved use of intravenous artesunate.
Until 2004, identification of Nipah virus (NV)-like outbreaks in Bangladesh was based on serology. We describe the genetic characterization of a new strain of NV isolated during outbreaks in Bangladesh (NV-B) in 2004, which confirms that NV was the etiologic agent responsible for these outbreaks.
In March 2011, an outbreak of acute respiratory disease was reported at the Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) Police Training Centre. Approximately 100 trainees were hospitalized and 5 were admitted to the intensive care unit. Three of these 5 trainees died. Human adenovirus type 7 was identified as the etiologic agent.
Influenza outbreaks during mass gatherings have been rarely described, and detailed virologic assessment is lacking. An influenza outbreak occurred during World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia, July 2008 (WYD2008). We assessed epidemiologic data and respiratory samples collected from attendees who sought treatment for influenza-like illness at emergency clinics in Sydney during this outbreak. Isolated influenza viruses were compared with seasonal influenza viruses from the 2008 influenza season. From 100 infected attendees, numerous strains were identified: oseltamivir-resistant influenza A (H1N1) viruses, oseltamivir-sensitive influenza A (H1N1) viruses, influenza A (H3N2) viruses, and strains from both influenza B lineages (B/Florida/4/2006-like and B/Malaysia/2506/2004-like). Novel viruses were introduced, and pre-WYD2008 seasonal viruses were amplified. Viruses isolated at mass gatherings can have substantial, complex, and unpredictable effects on community influenza activity. Greater flexibility by public health authorities and hospitals is required to appropriately manage and contain these outbreaks.
Nipah viruses from pigs from a Malaysian 1998 outbreak were isolated and sequenced. At least two different Nipah virus strains, including a previously unreported strain, were identified. The findings highlight the possibility that the Malaysia outbreaks had two origins of Nipah virus infections.
An obligate intracellular bacterium was isolated from urine samples from 7 (3.5%) of 202 fruit bats (Eonycteris spelaea) in peninsular Malaysia. The bacterium produced large membrane-bound inclusions in human, simian, and rodent cell lines, including epithelial, fibroblastlike, and lymphoid cells. Thin-section electron microscopy showed reticulate bodies dividing by binary fission and elementary bodies in the inclusions; mitochondria surrounded the inclusions. The inclusions were positive for periodic acid-Schiff stain but could not be stained by fluorescein-labeled anti-Chlamydia trachomatis major outer membrane protein monoclonal antibody. The bacterium was resistant to penicillin and streptomycin (MICs > 256 mg/L) but susceptible to tetracycline (MIC = 0.25 mg/L) and chloramphenicol (MIC = 0.5 mg/L). Sequence analysis of the 16SrRNA gene indicated that it was most closely related to 2 isolates of Waddlia chondrophila (94% and 96% identity). The 16S and 23S rRNA gene signatures were only 91% identical. We propose this novel bacterium be called W. malaysiensis.
Ancestral sylvatic dengue virus type 1, which was isolated from a monkey in 1972, was isolated from a patient with dengue fever in Malaysia. The virus is neutralized by serum of patients with endemic DENV-1 infection. Rare isolation of this virus suggests a limited spillover infection from an otherwise restricted sylvatic cycle.