Displaying publications 1 - 20 of 30 in total

  1. Chua TH
    Trop Biomed, 2012 Mar;29(1):121-8.
    PMID: 22543612 MyJurnal
    According to the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Malaysia will experience an increase of 3-5°C in the future. As the development of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, is sensitive to temperature, we investigated, using computer models, the effect of increase of 3º and 5ºC on the possible changes in the epidemiology of malaria transmission of P. falciparum in Malaysia. Four environmentally different locations were selected: Kuala Lumpur (KL), Cameron Highlands (CH), Kota Kinabalu (KK) and Kinabalu Park (KP). The extrinsic incubation period (EIP) was estimated using hourly temperatures and the mean daily temperatures. The EIP values estimated using the mean daily temperature were lower than those computed from hourly temperatures in warmer areas (KL, KK), but higher in the cooler areas (CH, KP). The computer simulations also indicated that the EIP will be decreased if the temperature was raised by 3º or 5ºC, with the effect more pronounced for the greater temperature increase, and for the cooler places. The vector cohort that is still alive at a time to transmit malaria (s(EIP)) also increased when the temperature was raised, with the increase more pronounced in the cooler areas. This study indicates an increase in temperature will have more significant effect in shortening the EIP in a cooler place (eg CH, KP), resulting in a greater s(EIP), and consequently increasing the transmission intensity and malaria risk. A temperature increase arising from the global climate change will likely affect the epidemiology of malaria in Malaysia, especially in the cooler areas.
  2. Lim-Leroy A, Chua TH
    PLoS One, 2020;15(9):e0239680.
    PMID: 32986746 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0239680
    Geohelminthiasis is a worldwide problem, especially in low-income countries. Children from rural areas and those living in poverty, lacking basic health amenities and having poor environmental sanitation are likely to be affected. Adverse effects such as anemia, protein malnutrition, colitis are common which can affect both the children's physical and mental growing development. A cross-sectional study on geohelminthiasis was conducted among children from 238 households in 13 villages in Kota Marudu of northern Sabah, East Malaysia. The study involved interviewing villagers using questionnaires to collect demographic and socio-economic data, getting faecal samples from the children, collecting soil samples and identifying parasite eggs with microscopy and molecular methods. A total of 407 children (6 months-17 years old) enrolled in the study. Geohelminthiasis was detected in the faecal samples of children from 54% (7/13) of the villages with mean prevalence of infection per village of 9.0% (0%-34.9%). On a household basis, 18% (43/238) of the households sampled had infected children, with mean prevalence rate per household of 11% (0%-43%). The prevalence was for Ascaris lumbricoides: 9.6% (39/407), Trichuris trichiura: 2.7% (11/407) and hookworms (Necator americanus and Ancylostoma sp.): 2.7% (11/407). The overall mean infection rate of the children examined was 14.3%. Significantly higher prevalence was recorded for the children of mothers who did not have any formal education (p = 0.003); household income of less than USD119 (RM500) (p<0.001); children from homes without proper sanitation facilities (p<0.001); children who usually go about barefoot (p<0.001) and not washing feet before entering the house (p = 0.017). Soil samples were found to have geohelminth eggs or larvae which could be due to unhygienic sanitation practices. This study shows the geohelminthiasis is prevalent in the villages, and the risk factors are lack of maternal education, low income, poor sanitation facilities and irregular deworming practice. Expanding deworming coverage in the study region may help reduce the worm infections in these communities, so that the mental and physical development of the children would not be affected by geohelminthiasis. The data on the prevalence of geohelminthiasis in this study would contribute to better public health monitoring and operation to reduce the infection in rural areas.
  3. Arbaoui AA, Chua TH
    Trop Biomed, 2014 Mar;31(1):134-42.
    PMID: 24862053 MyJurnal
    Since a safe and effective mass vaccination program against dengue fever is not presently available, a good way to prevent and control dengue outbreaks depends mainly on controlling the mosquito vectors. Aedes aegypti mosquito populations can be monitored and reduced by using ovitraps baited with organic infusions. A series of laboratory experiments were conducted which demonstrated that the bacteria in bamboo leaf infusion produce volatile attractants and contact chemical stimulants attractive to the female mosquitoes. The results showed that the female mosquitoes laid most of their eggs (59.9 ± 8.1 vs 2.9 ± 2.8 eggs, P<0.001) in bamboo leaf infusions when compared to distilled water. When the fresh infusion was filtered with a 0.45 μm filter membrane, the female mosquitoes laid significantly more eggs (64.1 ± 6.6 vs 4.9 ± 2.6 eggs, P<0.001) in unfiltered infusion. However when a 0.8 μm filter membrane was used, the female laid significantly more eggs (62.0 ± 4.3 vs 10.1 ± 7.8 eggs, P<0.001) in filtrate compared to a solution containing the residue. We also found that a mixture of bacteria isolated from bamboo leaf infusion serve as potent oviposition stimulants for gravid Aedes mosquitoes. Aedes aegypti laid significantly more eggs (63.3 ± 6.5 vs 3.1 ± 2.4 eggs, P<0.001) in bacteria suspension compared to sterile R2A medium. Our results suggest microbial activity has a role in the production of odorants that mediate the oviposition response of gravid mosquitoes.
  4. Chua TH, Song BK, Chong YV
    J. Econ. Entomol., 2010 Dec;103(6):1994-9.
    PMID: 21309218
    Differentiation of Bactrocera papayae Drew & Hancock and Bactrocera carambolae Drew & Hancock (Diptera: Tephritidae) based on morphological characters has often been problematical. We describe here a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay to differentiate between these two species. For detection of SNPs, fragments derived from each species were amplified using two primer pairs, COIF/COIR and UEA7/UEA10, sequenced, and aligned to obtain a contiguous 1,517-bp segment. Two new sets of primers were designed based on the 11 SNPs identified in the region. Results of the SNP-PCR test using any one of these species-specific primer sets indicate that these two species could be differentiated on basis of presence or absence of a band in the gel profile. We also tested the SNP-PCR primers on Bactrocera umbrosa F., Bactrocera cucurbitae Coquillett, Bactrocera latifrons Hendel, and Bactrocera tau (Walker) but did not detect any band in the gel, indicating the likelihood of a false positive for B. papayae is nil. This SNP-PCR method is efficient and useful, especially for immature life stages or when only adult body parts of the two species are available for identification, as encountered often in quarantine work.
  5. Chua TH, Chong YV, Lim SH
    Pest Manag. Sci., 2010 Apr;66(4):379-84.
    PMID: 19946858 DOI: 10.1002/ps.1886
    Identification of Bactrocera carambolae Drew and Hancock, B. papayae Drew and Hancock, B. tau Walker, B. latifrons Hendel, B. cucurbitae Coquillett, B. umbrosa Fabricius and B. caudata Fabricius would pose a problem if only a body part or an immature stage were available. Analysis of polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) of cytochrome oxidase I (COI) gene using primers COIR, COIF, UEA7 and UEA10 and restriction enzymes (MseI, RsaI and Alu1) was carried out. The banding profiles in the electrophoresis gel were analysed.
  6. Suleiman M, Muhammad J, Jelip J, William T, Chua TH
    PMID: 29644840
    The horseshoe crab (Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda) is consumed by those
    residing near the coastal areas of Kota Marudu District in Malaysia, as it is considered
    a delicacy. During June to August, 2011 thirty cases of tetrodotoxin poisoning
    were reported from Kota Marudu District following ingestion of horseshoe
    crabs caught in Kota Marudu Bay. The purpose of this study is to describe this
    case series in order to determine risk factors to prevent further outbreaks. There
    were six confirmed and 24 probable cases of tetrodotoxin poisoning identified in
    the study area during the study period as diagnosed by clinical presentation and
    laboratory findings. Symptoms included dizziness (80%), circumoral and lingual
    numbness (80%), hand and feet numbness (63.3%), nausea and vomiting (30%)
    and weakness and difficulty in breathing (26.6%). Three cases (10%) died while 27
    cases recovered. Forty-seven percent of the cases had onset of symptoms within
    30 minutes of ingestion and 14% 31-60 minutes after ingestion of horseshoe crab
    meat. Urine samples were collected from the cases, while horseshoe crabs, cockles
    and sea water from the epidemic area were also taken for analysis. Tetrodotoxin
    was detected in the urine of six cases; the highest concentrations recorded were
    among the three cases who died. High tetrodotoxin concentrations were found
    in the hepatic cecum and eggs of the tested horseshoe crabs. Dinoflagellates were
    not detected in the sea water or cockle samples. Intensive health education was
    initiated quickly to stop other members of the Marudu Bay community from
    consuming the horseshoe crabs. This is the first documented epidemic of tetrodotoxin
    poisoning in Sabah.
  7. Manin BO, Drakeley CJ, Chua TH
    PLoS One, 2018;13(8):e0202905.
    PMID: 30138386 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0202905
    Anopheles balabacensis, the primary vector of Plasmodium knowlesi in Sabah, Malaysia, is both zoophilic and anthropophilic, feeding on macaques as well as humans. It is the dominant Anopheles species found in Kudat Division where it is responsible for all the cases of P. knowlesi. However there is a paucity of basic biological and ecological information on this vector. We investigated the genetic variation of this species using the sequences of cox1 (1,383 bp) and cox2 (685 bp) to gain an insight into the population genetics and inter-population gene flow in Sabah. A total of 71 An. balabacensis were collected from seven districts constituting 14 subpopulations. A total of 17, 10 and 25 haplotypes were detected in the subpopulations respectively using the cox1, cox2 and the combined sequence. Some of the haplotypes were common among the subpopulations due to gene flow occurring between them. AMOVA showed that the genetic variation was high within subpopulations as compared to between subpopulations. Mantel test results showed that the variation between subpopulations was not due to the geographical distance between them. Furthermore, Tajima's D and Fu's Fs tests showed that An. balabacensis in Sabah is experiencing population expansion and growth. High gene flow between the subpopulations was indicated by the low genetic distance and high gene diversity in the cox1, cox2 and the combined sequence. However the population at Lipasu Lama appeared to be isolated possibly due to its higher altitude at 873 m above sea level.
  8. Suleiman M, Jelip J, Rundi C, Chua TH
    Am J Trop Med Hyg, 2017 Dec;97(6):1731-1736.
    PMID: 29016314 DOI: 10.4269/ajtmh.17-0589
    During the months of January-February and May-June 2013 coinciding with the red tide occurrence in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, six episodes involving 58 cases of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) or saxitoxin (STX) poisoning and resulting in four deaths were reported. Many of them were intoxicated from consuming shellfish purchased from the markets, whereas others were intoxicated from eating shellfish collected from the beach. Levels of STX in shellfish collected from the affected areas were high (mean 2,920 ± 780 and 360 ± 140 µg STX equivalents/100 g shellfish meat respectively for the two periods). The count of toxic dinoflagellates (Pyrodinium bahamense var compressum) of the sea water sampled around the coast was also high (mean 34,200 ± 10,300 cells/L). Species of shellfish containing high levels of STX were Atrina fragilis, Perna viridis, and Crassostrea belcheri. The age of victims varied from 9 to 67 years. Symptoms presented were typical of PSP, such as dizziness, numbness, vomiting, and difficulty in breathing. Recommended steps to prevent or reduce PSP in future red tide season include better monitoring of red tide occurrence, regular sampling of shellfish for determination of STX level, wider dissemination of information on the danger of eating contaminated shellfish among the communities, fishermen, and fishmongers.
  9. Chua TH, Manin BO, Daim S, Vythilingam I, Drakeley C
    PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 2017 Oct;11(10):e0005991.
    PMID: 28968395 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0005991
    BACKGROUND: Anopheles balabacensis of the Leucospyrus group has been confirmed as the primary knowlesi malaria vector in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo for some time now. Presently, knowlesi malaria is the only zoonotic simian malaria in Malaysia with a high prevalence recorded in the states of Sabah and Sarawak.

    METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Anopheles spp. were sampled using human landing catch (HLC) method at Paradason village in Kudat district of Sabah. The collected Anopheles were identified morphologically and then subjected to total DNA extraction and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to detect Plasmodium parasites in the mosquitoes. Identification of Plasmodium spp. was confirmed by sequencing the SSU rRNA gene with species specific primers. MEGA4 software was then used to analyse the SSU rRNA sequences and bulid the phylogenetic tree for inferring the relationship between simian malaria parasites in Sabah. PCR results showed that only 1.61% (23/1,425) of the screened An. balabacensis were infected with one or two of the five simian Plasmodium spp. found in Sabah, viz. Plasmodium coatneyi, P. inui, P. fieldi, P. cynomolgi and P. knowlesi. Sequence analysis of SSU rRNA of Plasmodium isolates showed high percentage of identity within the same Plasmodium sp. group. The phylogenetic tree based on the consensus sequences of P. knowlesi showed 99.7%-100.0% nucleotide identity among the isolates from An. balabacensis, human patients and a long-tailed macaque from the same locality.

    CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This is the first study showing high molecular identity between the P. knowlesi isolates from An. balabacensis, human patients and a long-tailed macaque in Sabah. The other common simian Plasmodium spp. found in long-tailed macaques and also detected in An. balabacensis were P. coatneyi, P. inui, P. fieldi and P. cynomolgi. The high percentage identity of nucleotide sequences between the P. knowlesi isolates from the long-tailed macaque, An. balabacensis and human patients suggests a close genetic relationship between the parasites from these hosts.

  10. Davidson G, Chua TH, Cook A, Speldewinde P, Weinstein P
    Ecohealth, 2019 12;16(4):594-610.
    PMID: 30675676 DOI: 10.1007/s10393-019-01395-6
    Defining the linkages between landscape change, disease ecology and human health is essential to explain and predict the emergence of Plasmodium knowlesi malaria, a zoonotic parasite residing in Southeast Asian macaques, and transmitted by species of Anopheles mosquitos. Changing patterns of land use throughout Southeast Asia, particularly deforestation, are suggested to be the primary drivers behind the recent spread of this zoonotic parasite in humans. Local ecological changes at the landscape scale appear to be increasing the risk of disease in humans by altering the dynamics of transmission between the parasite and its primary hosts. This paper will focus on the emergence of P. knowlesi in humans in Malaysian Borneo and the ecological linkage mechanisms suggested to be playing an important role.
  11. Davidson G, Chua TH, Cook A, Speldewinde P, Weinstein P
    Malar J, 2019 Mar 08;18(1):66.
    PMID: 30849978 DOI: 10.1186/s12936-019-2693-2
    Plasmodium knowlesi is a zoonotic malaria parasite normally residing in long-tailed and pig-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis and Macaca nemestrina, respectively) found throughout Southeast Asia. Recently, knowlesi malaria has become the predominant malaria affecting humans in Malaysian Borneo, being responsible for approximately 70% of reported cases. Largely as a result of anthropogenic land use changes in Borneo, vectors which transmit the parasite, along with macaque hosts, are both now frequently found in disturbed forest habitats, or at the forest fringes, thus having more frequent contact with humans. Having access to human hosts provides the parasite with the opportunity to further its adaption to the human immune system. The ecological drivers of the transmission and spread of P. knowlesi are operating over many different spatial (and, therefore, temporal) scales, from the molecular to the continental. Strategies to prevent and manage zoonoses, such as P. knowlesi malaria require interdisciplinary research exploring the impact of land use change and biodiversity loss on the evolving relationship between parasite, reservoir hosts, vectors, and humans over multiple spatial scales.
  12. Stanis CS, Song BK, Chua TH, Lau YL, Jelip J
    Turk J Med Sci, 2016 Jan 05;46(1):207-18.
    PMID: 27511356 DOI: 10.3906/sag-1411-114
    BACKGROUND/AIM: Malaria is a major public health problem, especially in the Southeast Asia region, caused by 5 species of Plasmodium (P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. malariae, P. ovale, and P. knowlesi). The aim of this study was to compare parasite species identification methods using the new multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) against nested PCR and microscopy.

    MATERIALS AND METHODS: Blood samples on filter papers were subject to conventional PCR methods using primers designed by us in multiplex PCR and previously designed primers of nested PCR. Both sets of results were compared with microscopic identification.

    RESULTS: Of the 129 samples identified as malaria-positive by microscopy, 15 samples were positive for P. falciparum, 14 for P. vivax, 6 for P. knowlesi, 72 for P. malariae, and 2 for mixed infection of P. falciparum/P. malariae. Both multiplex and nested PCR identified 12 P. falciparum single infections. For P. vivax, 9 were identified by multiplex and 12 by nested PCR. For 72 P. malariae cases, multiplex PCR identified 58 as P. knowlesi and 10 as P. malariae compared to nested PCR, which identified 59 as P. knowlesi and 7 as P. malariae.

    CONCLUSION: Multiplex PCR could be used as alternative molecular diagnosis for the identification of all Plasmodium species as it requires a shorter time to screen a large number of samples.

  13. Manin BO, Ferguson HM, Vythilingam I, Fornace K, William T, Torr SJ, et al.
    PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 2016 Oct;10(10):e0005064.
    PMID: 27741235 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0005064
    In recent years, the primate malaria Plasmodium knowlesi has emerged in human populations throughout South East Asia, with the largest hotspot being in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. Control efforts are hindered by limited knowledge of where and when people get exposed to mosquito vectors. It is assumed that exposure occurs primarily when people are working in forest areas, but the role of other potential exposure routes (including domestic or peri-domestic transmission) has not been thoroughly investigated.
  14. Hawkes F, Manin BO, Ng SH, Torr SJ, Drakeley C, Chua TH, et al.
    Parasit Vectors, 2017 Jul 18;10(1):338.
    PMID: 28720113 DOI: 10.1186/s13071-017-2277-3
    BACKGROUND: Plasmodium knowlesi is found in macaques and is the only major zoonotic malaria to affect humans. Transmission of P. knowlesi between people and macaques depends on the host species preferences and feeding behavior of mosquito vectors. However, these behaviours are difficult to measure due to the lack of standardized methods for sampling potential vectors attracted to different host species. This study evaluated electrocuting net traps as a safe, standardised method for sampling P. knowlesi vectors attracted to human and macaque hosts. Field experiments were conducted within a major focus on P. knowlesi transmission in Malaysian Borneo to compare the performance of human (HENET) or macaque (MENET) odour-baited electrocuting nets, human landing catches (HLC) and monkey-baited traps (MBT) for sampling mosquitoes. The abundance and diversity of Anopheles sampled by different methods were compared over 40 nights, with a focus on the P. knowlesi vector Anopheles balabancensis.

    RESULTS: HLC caught more An. balabacensis than any other method (3.6 per night). In contrast, no An. balabacensis were collected in MBT collections, which generally performed poorly for all mosquito taxa. Anopheles vector species including An. balabacensis were sampled in both HENET and MENET collections, but at a mean abundance of less than 1 per night. There was no difference between HENET and MENET in the overall abundance (P = 0.05) or proportion (P = 0.7) of An. balabacensis. The estimated diversity of Anopheles species was marginally higher in electrocuting net than HLC collections, and similar in collections made with humans or monkey hosts.

    CONCLUSIONS: Host-baited electrocuting nets had moderate success for sampling known zoonotic malaria vectors. The primary vector An. balabacensis was collected with electrocuting nets baited both with humans and macaques, but at a considerably lower density than the HLC standard. However, electrocuting nets were considerably more successful than monkey-baited traps and representatively characterised anopheline species diversity. Consequently, their use allows inferences about relative mosquito attraction to be meaningfully interpreted while eliminating confounding factors due to trapping method. On this basis, electrocuting net traps should be considered as a useful standardised method for investigating vector contact with humans and wildlife reservoirs.

  15. Hawkes FM, Manin BO, Cooper A, Daim S, R H, Jelip J, et al.
    Sci Rep, 2019 Nov 20;9(1):17510.
    PMID: 31745193 DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-53744-8
    An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
  16. Daim S, Barnad E, Johnny V, Suleiman M, Jikal M, Chua TH, et al.
    Clin Case Rep, 2020 Jan;8(1):171-175.
    PMID: 31998510 DOI: 10.1002/ccr3.2584
    In endemic regions, include melioidosis in the routine differential diagnosis of neonates with respiratory distress, and consider early empirical ceftazidime treatment for neonates with worsening respiratory distress.
  17. Brown R, Chua TH, Fornace K, Drakeley C, Vythilingam I, Ferguson HM
    PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 2020 09;14(9):e0008617.
    PMID: 32886679 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0008617
    The zoonotic malaria parasite, Plasmodium knowlesi, is now a substantial public health problem in Malaysian Borneo. Current understanding of P. knowlesi vector bionomics and ecology in Sabah comes from a few studies near the epicentre of human cases in one district, Kudat. These have incriminated Anopheles balabacensis as the primary vector, and suggest that human exposure to vector biting is peri-domestic as well as in forest environments. To address the limited understanding of vector ecology and human exposure risk outside of Kudat, we performed wider scale surveillance across four districts in Sabah with confirmed transmission to investigate spatial heterogeneity in vector abundance, diversity and infection rate. Entomological surveillance was carried out six months after a cross-sectional survey of P. knowlesi prevalence in humans throughout the study area; providing an opportunity to investigate associations between entomological indicators and infection. Human-landing catches were performed in peri-domestic, farm and forest sites in 11 villages (3-4 per district) and paired with estimates of human P. knowlesi exposure based on sero-prevalence. Anopheles balabacensis was present in all districts but only 6/11 villages. The mean density of An. balabacensis was relatively low, but significantly higher in farm (0.094/night) and forest (0.082/night) than peri-domestic areas (0.007/night). Only one An. balabacensis (n = 32) was infected with P. knowlesi. Plasmodium knowlesi sero-positivity in people was not associated with An. balabacensis density at the village-level however post hoc analyses indicated the study had limited power to detect a statistical association due low vector density. Wider scale sampling revealed substantial heterogeneity in vector density and distribution between villages and districts. Vector-habitat associations predicted from this larger-scale surveillance differed from those inferred from smaller-scale studies in Kudat; highlighting the importance of local ecological context. Findings highlight potential trade-offs between maximizing temporal versus spatial breadth when designing entomological surveillance; and provide baseline entomological and epidemiological data to inform future studies of entomological risk factors for human P. knowlesi infection.
  18. Hawkes FM, Manin BO, Cooper A, Daim S, R H, Jelip J, et al.
    Sci Rep, 2019 09 16;9(1):13312.
    PMID: 31527622 DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-49842-2
    In lowland areas of Malaysia, Plasmodium knowlesi infection is associated with land use change and high proportions of the vector Anopheles balabacensis. We conducted a 15-month study in two Malaysian villages to determine the effect of habitat on vector populations in understudied high-altitude, high-incidence districts. Anopheles mosquitoes were sampled in human settlements, plantations and forest edges, and screened for Plasmodium species by PCR. We report the first An. donaldi positive for P. knowlesi. This potential vector was associated with habitat fragmentation measured as disturbed forest edge:area ratio, while An. balabacensis was not, indicating fragmented land use could favour An. donaldi. Anopheline species richness and diversity decreased from forest edge, to plantation, to human settlement. Greater numbers of An. balabacensis and An. donaldi were found in forest edges compared to human settlements, suggesting exposure to vectors and associated zoonoses may be greater for people entering this habitat.
  19. Grignard L, Shah S, Chua TH, William T, Drakeley CJ, Fornace KM
    J Infect Dis, 2019 11 06;220(12):1946-1949.
    PMID: 31418017 DOI: 10.1093/infdis/jiz397
    To determine the presence and species composition of malaria infections, we screened a subset of samples collected during a cross-sectional survey in Northern Sabah, Malaysia using highly sensitive molecular techniques. Results identified 54 asymptomatic submicroscopic malaria infections, including a large cluster of Plasmodium falciparum and 3 P. knowlesi infections. We additionally identified 2 monoinfections with the zoonotic malaria Plasmodium cynomolgi, both in individuals reporting no history of forest activities or contact with macaques. Results highlight the need for improved surveillance strategies to detect these infections and determine public health impacts.
  20. Chua TH, Manin BO, Vythilingam I, Fornace K, Drakeley CJ
    Parasit Vectors, 2019 Jul 25;12(1):364.
    PMID: 31345256 DOI: 10.1186/s13071-019-3627-0
    BACKGROUND: We investigated the effect of five common habitat types on the diversity and abundance of Anopheles spp. and on the biting rate and time of Anopheles balabacensis (currently the only known vector for Plasmodium knowlesi in Sabah) at Paradason village, Kudat, Sabah. The habitats were forest edge, playground area, longhouse, oil palm plantation and shrub-bushes area. Sampling of Anopheles was done monthly using the human landing catch method in all habitat types for 14 months (October 2013 to December 2014, excluding June 2014). The Anopheles species were morphologically identified and subjected to PCR assay for the detection of Plasmodium parasites. Generalised linear mixed models (GLMM) were applied to test the variation in abundance and biting rates of An. balabacensis in different habitat types.

    RESULTS: A total of 1599 Anopheles specimens were collected in the village, of which about 90% were An. balabacensis. Anopheles balabacensis was present throughout the year and was the dominant Anopheles species in all habitat types. The shrub bushes habitat had the highest Anopheles species diversity while forest edge had the greatest number of Anopheles individuals caught. GLMM analysis indicated that An. balabacensis abundance was not affected by the type of habitats, and it was more active during the early and late night compared to predawn and dawn. PCR assay showed that 1.61% of the tested An. balabacensis were positive for malaria parasites, most of which were caught in oil palm estates and infected with one to two Plasmodium species.

    CONCLUSIONS: The identification of infected vectors in a range of habitats, including agricultural and farming areas, illustrates the potential for humans to be exposed to P. knowlesi outside forested areas. This finding contributes to a growing body of evidence implicating environmental changes due to deforestation, expansion of agricultural and farming areas, and development of human settlements near to forest fringes in the emergence of P. knowlesi in Sabah.

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