This study investigated 147 multidrug-resistant Enterobacteriaceae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates from hospitalized patients in Malaysia. Class 1 integrons were the most dominant class identified (45.6%). Three isolates were shown to contain class 2 integrons (2.0%), whilst one isolate harboured both class 1 and 2 integrons. No class 3 integrons were detected in this study. In addition, the sul1 gene was amplified in 35% of isolates and was significantly associated with the presence of integrase genes in an integron structure. RFLP and DNA sequencing analyses revealed the presence of 19 different cassette arrays among the detected integrons. The most common gene cassettes were those encoding resistance towards aminoglycosides (aad) and trimethoprim (dfr). As far as is known, this study is the first to identify integron-carrying cassette arrays such as aadA2-linF, aacC3-cmlA5 and aacA4-catB8-aadA1 in the Malaysian population. Patients' age was demonstrated as a significant risk factor for the acquisition of integrons (P=0.028). Epidemiological typing using PFGE also demonstrated a clonal relationship among isolates carrying identical gene cassettes in Klebsiella pneumoniae and P. aeruginosa but not in Escherichia coli isolates.
Entamoeba histolytica is the only Entamoeba species that causes amoebiasis in humans. Approximately 50 million people are infected, with 100, 000 deaths annually in endemic countries. Molecular diagnosis of Entamoeba histolytica is important to differentiate it from the morphologically identical Entamoeba dispar to avoid unnecessary medication. Conventional molecular diagnostic tests require trained personnel, cold-chain transportation and/or are storage-dependent, which make them user-unfriendly. The aim of this study was to develop a thermostabilized, one-step, nested, tetraplex PCR assay for the detection of Entamoeba histolytica, Entamoeba dispar and Entamoeba species in cold-chain-free and ready-to-use form. The PCR test was designed based on the Entamoeba small subunit rRNA (SSU-rRNA) gene, which detects the presence of any Entamoeba species, and simultaneously can be used to differentiate Entamoeba histolytica from Entamoeba dispar. In addition, a pair of primers was designed to serve as an internal amplification control to help identify inhibitors in the samples. All PCR reagents together with the designed primers were thermostabilized by lyophilization and were stable at 24 °C for at least 6 months. The limit of detection of the tetraplex PCR was found to be 39 pg DNA or 1000 cells for Entamoeba histolytica and 78 pg DNA or 1000 cells for Entamoeba dispar, and the specificity was 100 %. In conclusion, this cold-chain-free, thermostabilized, one-step, nested, multiplex PCR assay was found to be efficacious in differentiating Entamoeba histolytica from other non-pathogenic Entamoeba species.
The suitability of a PCR procedure using a pair of primers targeting the hilA gene was evaluated as a means of detecting Salmonella species. A total of 33 Salmonella strains from 27 serovars and 15 non-Salmonella strains from eight different genera were included. PCR with all the Salmonella strains produced a 784 bp DNA fragment that was absent from all the non-Salmonella strains tested. The detection limit of the PCR was 100 pg with genomic DNA and 3 x 10(4) c.f.u. ml(-1) with serial dilutions of bacterial culture. An enrichment-PCR method was further developed to test the sensitivity of the hilA primers for the detection of Salmonella in faecal samples spiked with different concentrations of Salmonella choleraesuis subsp. choleraesuis serovar Typhimurium. The method described allowed the detection of Salmonella Typhimurium in faecal samples at a concentration of 3 x 10(2) c.f.u. ml(-1). In conclusion, the hilA primers are specific for Salmonella species and the PCR method presented may be suitable for the detection of Salmonella in faeces.
The aims of this study were to compare the genetic relatedness of: (i) sequential and single isolates of Candida strains from women with recurrent vaginal candidiasis (RVC); and (ii) Candida strains from women who had only one episode of infection within a 1-year period. In total, 87 isolates from 71 patients were cultured, speciated and genotyped by random amplification of polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analysis. Patients were categorized into three groups, namely those with: (i) a history of RVC from whom two or more yeast isolates were obtained (group A); (ii) a history of RVC from whom only a single isolate was obtained (group B); and (iii) a single episode of vaginal candidiasis within a 1-year period (group C). Six yeast species were detected: Candida albicans, Candida glabrata, Candida lusitaniae, Candida famata, Candida krusei and Candida parapsilosis. Interestingly, the prevalence of non-albicans species was higher in group A patients (50 %) than in patients in groups B (36 %) or C (18.9 %). Eighty RAPD profiles were observed, with a total of 61 polymorphic PCR fragments of distinct sizes. Clustering analysis showed that, overall, the majority of patients in group A had recurrent infections caused by highly similar, but not identical, sequential strains [mean pairwise similarity coefficient (S(AB)) = 0.721 +/- 0.308]. The range of mean S(AB) values for intergroup comparisons for C. albicans isolates alone was 0.50-0.56, suggesting that there was no significant relatedness between strains from different groups. Genetic similarity of C. albicans isolates from patients in group A was lower than that of C. albicans isolates from patients in group C (mean S(AB) = 0.532 +/- 0.249 and 0.636 +/- 0.206, respectively); this difference was statistically significant (P = 0.036). These results demonstrate that the cause of recurrent infections varies among individuals and ranges between strain maintenance, strain microevolution and strain replacement; the major scenario is strain maintenance with microevolution. They also show that C. albicans strains that cause recurrent infections are less similar to each other than strains that cause one-off infections, suggesting that the former may represent more virulent subtypes.
The emergence and spread of multiresistant methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains, especially those resistant to fusidic acid and rifampicin, in Malaysian hospitals is of concern. In this study DNA fingerprinting by PFGE was performed on fusidic acid- and rifampicin-resistant isolates from Malaysian hospitals to determine the genetic relatedness of these isolates and their relationship with the endemic MRSA strains. In all, 32 of 640 MRSA isolates from 9 Malaysian hospitals were resistant to fusidic acid and rifampicin. Seven PFGE types (A, ZC, ZI, ZJ, ZK, ZL and ZM) were observed. The commonest type was type ZC, seen in 72% of isolates followed by type A, seen in 13%. Each of the other types (ZI, ZJ, ZK, ZL and ZM) was observed in a single isolate. Each type, even the commonest, was found in only one hospital. This suggests that the resistant strains had arisen from individual MRSA strains in each hospital and not as a result of the transmission of a common clone.
The aim of this study was to determine the role of macrophages in the Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans-induced murine immune response. BALB/c mice were given carrageenan solution by intraperitoneal injection before immunisation with heat-killed A. actinomycetemcomitans. Mice immunised with antigens and phosphate-buffered saline served as positive and negative controls, respectively. One week after the last immunisation, the delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) response was assessed by measurement of footpad swelling. Serum IgG and IgM anti-A. actinomycetemcomitans antibody levels and culture supernate levels of interferon (IFN)-gamma were determined by ELISA. The diameter of abscess formation was determined every 5 days. Sham-immunised spleen cells were transferred to carrageenan-untreated recipients (groups A and B) and to carrageenan-treated recipients (group D). Antigen-immunised spleen cells were transferred to carrageenan-untreated (group C) and carrageenan-treated (group E) recipients. The carrageenan-treated recipients in groups F and G received macrophages from antigen- and sham-immunised mice respectively. All mice except those in group A were immunised with antigen 24 h after cell transfer. After 1 week, a partial suppression of DTH response, reduced levels of IFN-gamma, serum IgG and IgM anti-A. actinomycetemcomitans antibodies and delayed healing were seen in carrageenan-treated mice when compared with the positive control. The immune response to A. actinomycetemcomitans in groups A, B and D was lower than that in groups C and E. Healing of the lesion in the former groups was also delayed when compared with the latter groups. The immune response and the healing of the lesion could be partially restored in carrageenan-treated mice that received antigen-pulsed macrophages (group F) but not in those that received naive macrophages (group G). These results suggest that macrophages play a partial role in the induction of the murine immune response to A. actinomycetemcomitans.
Streptococcus agalactiae or group B streptococci (GBS) often colonize the gastrointestinal and urogenital tracts of women, who may transmit these organisms to their offspring during the birth process. Using PFGE analysis, the genetic diversity of GBS was studied for strains isolated from pregnant women and their newborn infants in a teaching hospital. A total of 48 different PFGE profiles were obtained from 123 strains, with one profile (S1) appearing to be predominant among both groups studied. There was good overall correlation between the profiles obtained for strains from mother-infant pairs and for strains isolated from different body sites in the same individual. Occasional discrepancies seen in related body sites and among mother-infant pairs suggest concurrent carriage of different strains in the same individual as well as the possibility of an environmental source of organism for the neonate. The overall results demonstrated that many variants of GBS strains occur in Malaysia.
In this study, 90 non-replicate imipenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa (IRPA) Malaysian isolates collected between October 2005 and March 2008 were subjected to a screening test for detection of the integron and the gene cassette. Class 1 integrons were detected in 54 IRPA clinical isolates, whilst three isolates contained class 2 integrons. Analysis of the gene cassettes associated with the class 1 integrons showed the detection of accC1 in isolates carrying bla(IMP-7) and aacA7 in isolates carrying bla(VIM-2). aadA6 was detected in two isolates carrying bla(IMP-4). Using random amplification of polymorphic DNA analysis, 14 PCR fingerprint patterns were generated from the 32 isolates carrying metallo-β-lactamase (MBL) genes (35.5 %), whilst 20 patterns were generated from the 58 non-MBL gene isolates (64.4 %). Based on the differences in the fingerprinting patterns, two clusters (A and B) were identified among the MBL-producing isolates. Cluster A comprised 18 isolates (56 %) carrying the bla(VIM) gene, whereas cluster B comprised 14 (44 %) isolates carrying the bla(IMP) gene. The non-MBL isolates were divided into clusters C and D. Cluster C comprised 22 non-MBL isolates harbouring class 1 integrons, whilst cluster D consisted of three isolates carrying class 2 integrons. These findings suggest that the class 1 integron is widespread among P. aeruginosa isolated in Malaysia and that characterization of cassette arrays of integrons will be a useful epidemiological tool to study the evolution of multidrug resistance and the dissemination of antibiotic resistance genes.
In this study, six clinical isolates (two from blood, two from urine and one each from a bronchoalveolar lavage and a vaginal swab) were identified as Candida rugosa based on carbohydrate assimilation profiles using API 20C AUX and ID32 C kits (bioMérieux). Sequence analysis of the D1/D2 domain of the yeasts differentiated the isolates into two subgroups, A and B (three isolates per subgroup), which were closely related (99.1-99.6 % nucleotide similarity) to C. rugosa strain ATCC 10571. Compared with the C. rugosa type strain, the intergenic transcribed spacer (ITS) nucleotide similarity for subgroup A was only 89.2 % (29 mismatches and one deletion) and for subgroup B was 93.7 % (20 mismatches). All isolates grew green colonies on Oxoid Chromogenic Candida Agar, with darker pigmentation observed for subgroup A. All isolates were able to grow at 25-42 °C but not at 45 °C. The isolates had identical enzymic profiles, as determined by API ZYM (bioMérieux) analysis, and produced proteinase. High amphotericin MICs (≥1 µg ml(-1)) were noted for two isolates from each subgroup. Dose-dependent susceptibility to fluconazole (MIC 32 µg ml(-1)) was noted in a blood isolate. The biofilms of the isolates demonstrated increased resistance to amphotericin and fluconazole. The greater ITS sequence variability of subgroup A isolates is in support of this yeast being recognized as a distinct species; however, further verification using more sophisticated molecular approaches is required. A sequence comparison study suggested the association of subgroup A with environmental sources and subgroup B with clinical sources. Accurate identification and antifungal susceptibility testing of C. rugosa are important in view of its decreased susceptibility to amphotericin and fluconazole. The ITS region has been shown to be a valuable region for differentiation of closely related subgroups of C. rugosa.
The in vitro antifungal susceptibilities of 159 clinical isolates of Candida species from patients with invasive candidiasis in Kuala Lumpur Hospital, Malaysia, were determined against amphotericin B, fluconazole, voriconazole, itraconazole and caspofungin. The most common species were Candida albicans (71 isolates), Candida parapsilosis (42 isolates), Candida tropicalis (27 isolates) and Candida glabrata (12 isolates). The susceptibility tests were carried out using an E-test. The MIC breakpoints were based on Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute criteria. Amphotericin B and voriconazole showed the best activities against all the isolates tested, with MIC(90) values of ≤1 µg ml(-1) for all major species. Only one Candida lusitaniae isolate was resistant to amphotericin B, and all the isolates were susceptible to voriconazole. In total, six isolates were resistant to fluconazole, comprising two isolates of C. albicans, two of C. parapsilosis, one C. tropicalis and one C. glabrata, and all of these isolates showed cross-resistance to itraconazole. The MIC(90) of itraconazole was highest for C. glabrata and C. parapsilosis. Caspofungin was active against most of the isolates except for five isolates of C. parapsilosis. The MIC(90) of caspofungin against C. parapsilosis was 3 µg ml(-1). In conclusion, amphotericin B remains the most active antifungal agent against most Candida species except for C. lusitaniae. Voriconazole is the best alternative for fluconazole- or itraconizole-resistant isolates. Although five of the C. parapsilosis isolates showed in vitro resistance to caspofungin, more clinical correlation studies need to be carried out to confirm the significance of these findings. Currently, despite the increase in usage of antifungals in our hospitals, especially in the management of febrile neutropenia patients, the antifungal-resistance problem among clinically important Candida isolates in Kuala Lumpur Hospital is not yet worrying. However, continued antifungal-susceptibility surveillance needs to be conducted to monitor the antifungal-susceptibility trends of Candida species and other opportunistic fungal pathogens.
Vibrio cholerae has caused severe outbreaks of cholera worldwide with thousands of recorded deaths annually. Molecular diagnosis for cholera has become increasingly important for rapid detection of cholera as the conventional methods are time-consuming and labour intensive. However, traditional PCR tests still require cold-chain transportation and storage as well as trained personnel to perform, which makes them user-unfriendly. The aim of this study was to develop a thermostabilized triplex PCR test for cholera which is in a ready-to-use form and requires no cold chain. The PCR test specifically detects both toxigenic and non-toxigenic strains of V. cholerae based on the cholera toxin A (ctxA) and outer-membrane lipoprotein (lolB) genes. The thermostabilized triplex PCR also incorporates an internal amplification control that helps to check for PCR inhibitors in samples. PCR reagents and the specific primers were lyophilized into a pellet form in the presence of trehalose, which acts as an enzyme stabilizer. The triplex PCR was validated with 174 bacteria-spiked stool specimens and was found to be 100 % sensitive and specific. The stability of the thermostabilized PCR was evaluated using the Q10 method and it was found to be stable for approximately 7 months at 24 °C. The limit of detection of the thermostabilized triplex PCR assay was 2×10(4) c.f.u. at the bacterial cell level and 100 pg DNA at the genomic DNA level, comparable to conventional PCR methods. In conclusion, a rapid thermostabilized triplex PCR assay was developed for detecting toxigenic and non-toxigenic V. cholerae which requires minimal pipetting steps and is cold chain-free.
In this study, PCR-RFLP analysis (PRA) targeting hsp65 and rpoB gene regions was evaluated for the identification of mycobacterial species isolated from Malaysian patients. Overall, the hsp65 PRA identified 92.2 % of 90 isolates compared to 85.6 % by the rpoB PRA. With 47 rapidly growing species, the hsp65 PRA identified fewer (89.4 %) species than the rpoB PRA (95.7 %), but with 23 slow-growing species the reverse was true (91.3 % identification by the hsp65 PRA but only 52.5 % by the rpoB PRA). There were 16 isolates with discordant PRA results, which were resolved by 16S rRNA and hsp65 gene sequence analysis. The findings in this study suggest that the hsp65 PRA is more useful than the rpoB PRA for the identification of Mycobacterium species, particularly with the slow-growing members of the genus. In addition, this study reports 5 and 12 novel restriction patterns for inclusion in the hsp65 and rpoB PRA algorithms, respectively.
A multiplex PCR assay was developed for the identification of major types and subtypes of staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) in meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains. The method uses a novel 9 valent multiplex PCR plus two primer pairs for S. aureus identification and detection of meticillin resistance. All 389 clinical MRSA isolates from Malaysia and 18 European isolates from the Harmony collection harbouring different SCCmec types that we tested were correctly characterized by our PCR assay. SCCmec type III and V were by far the most common types among both hospital- and community-acquired Malaysian MRSA isolates, with an apparent emergence of MRSA harbouring the IVh type.
Aeromonas hydrophila strains obtained from diarrhoeal samples of human patients (19 isolates) and freshwater ponds (11 isolates) were analysed for siderophore production. Both clinical and environmental isolates showed significantly increased siderophore production under iron-limiting conditions both at 28 degrees C and at 37 degrees C. Clinical isolates consistently produced higher levels of siderophores than did the environmental isolates. The role of plasmids in moderating siderophore production was studied after curing with acridine orange. Treatment with acridine orange for 24 h removed the larger plasmids but the smaller plasmids (< 5 MDa), more common in the environmental isolates, were resistant to curing. As found in the untreated isolates, the cured clinical isolates produced higher mean levels of siderophores than the cured environmental isolates. Siderophore production in A. hydrophila was significantly influenced by iron-limiting cultural conditions and the source of isolates, but plasmid content and growth temperature at 28 degrees C or 37 degrees C had little effect on production. The basis for the greater production of siderophores in clinical isolates than in environmental isolates needs further study.
PCR and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) typing of flagellin genes (fliC) from 57 clinical isolates of Burkholderia cepacia indicated that only type 11 flagellins were present. Twenty-two isolates previously identified as the epidemic UK cystic fibrosis strain were indistinguishable by this method, as were 11 isolates from a pseudo-outbreak in Senegal. Other clinical isolates, including 19 from disparate sources in Malaysia, were separated into nine fliC RFLP groups, exhibiting a large degree of divergence. When isolates were indistinguishable by fliC genotyping, their similarity was confirmed by whole genome macro-restriction analysis with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis following XbaI digestion. The variation in fliC sequences of B. cepacia was far greater than that with B. pseudomallei, supporting the view that 'B. cepacia', as currently defined, may comprise several different genomic species.
The class and subclass distribution of antibody response to the culture filtrate antigen (CFA) of Burkholderia pseudomallei was examined in the sera of 45 septicaemic and 17 localised melioidosis cases and 40 cases clinically suspected of melioidosis and the results were compared with those from high-risk and healthy control groups. The geometric mean titre index (GMTI) values for all classes and subclasses of immunoglobulins examined were higher for sera from the proven and clinically suspected melioidosis cases than for the control groups. However, the highest response in the three patient groups was that of IgG with GMTIs ranging from 219.4 to 291.6 and the lowest was for IgM with GMTIs of 22.5, 24.3 and 28.7. The IgA response was intermediate with GMTIs ranging from 119.2 to 170. The GMTIs were highest for IgG in septicaemic and localised infections and for IgA and IgM in localised infections. As regards IgG subclass distribution, IgG1 and IgG2 were the predominant subclasses produced against the CFA in contrast to IgG3 and IgG4, which were produced in low amounts. None of the sera from the control groups had any significant titres of antibodies.
There are several methods for the detection of haemolytic activity in campylobacters. However, we found the haemolytic effect of campylobacters on conventional blood agar plates to be variable, inconsistent and difficult to interpret. Blood agarose plates showed campylobacter haemolytic activity more clearly. The incubation conditions (temperature and gaseous) appear to be important for the expression of this activity. Ninety four percent of the Campylobacter isolates examined were found to be haemolytic by the microplate assay with minimal haemolytic units that ranged from 1 to 64. Haemolytic activity was detected only from live bacterial cultures and not from any of the 50 bacterial culture supernates, which suggests that campylobacters may possess a cell-associated haemolysin. The identification of such haemolytic activity in a large number of campylobacters (94%) suggests its potential role as a virulence factor in campylobacter gastroenteritis.
Eighteen strains of Aeromonas hydrophila from patients with bacteraemia were investigated for possible virulence factors. Cytotoxin and haemolysin were produced by all strains, whereas cholera toxin-like factor was produced by 33% of strains only. Enterotoxin production was not detected. Haemagglutination of guinea-pig, fowl and rabbit erythrocytes was demonstrated by 83%, 67% and 61% of strains, respectively. Fucose- and mannose-sensitive haemagglutinins were predominant. None of the strains agglutinated sheep erythrocytes. Extrachromosomal DNA was detected in 17 strains, 16 of which had a plasmid (3.6-5.1 MDa), the majority being between 4.6 and 5.1 MDa.