METHODS: A multi-host, multi-site transmission model was developed, taking into account the three areas (forest, farm, and village) where transmission is thought to occur. Latin hypercube sampling of model parameters was used to identify parameter sets consistent with possible prevalence in macaques and humans inferred from observed data. We then explore the consequences of increasing human-macaque contact in the farm, the likely impact of rapid treatment, and the use of long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLINs) in preventing wider spread of this emerging infection.
RESULTS: Identified model parameters were consistent with transmission being sustained by the macaques with spill over infections into the human population and with high overall basic reproduction numbers (up to 2267). The extent to which macaques forage in the farms had a non-linear relationship with human infection prevalence, the highest prevalence occurring when macaques forage in the farms but return frequently to the forest where they experience higher contact with vectors and hence sustain transmission. Only one of 1,046 parameter sets was consistent with sustained human-to-human transmission in the absence of macaques, although with a low human reproduction number (R(0H) = 1.04). Simulations showed LLINs and rapid treatment provide personal protection to humans with maximal estimated reductions in human prevalence of 42% and 95%, respectively.
CONCLUSION: This model simulates conditions where P. knowlesi transmission may occur and the potential impact of control measures. Predictions suggest that conventional control measures are sufficient at reducing the risk of infection in humans, but they must be actively implemented if P. knowlesi is to be controlled.
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.
METHODS AND ANALYSIS: A population-based case-control study will be conducted over a 2-year period at two adjacent districts in north-west Sabah, Malaysia. Confirmed malaria cases presenting to the district hospital sites meeting relevant inclusion criteria will be requested to enrol. Three community controls matched to the same village as the case will be selected randomly. Study procedures will include blood sampling and administration of household and individual questionnaires to evaluate potential exposure risks associated with acquisition of P. knowlesi malaria. Secondary outcomes will include differences in exposure variables between P. knowlesi and other Plasmodium spp, risk of severe P. knowlesi malaria, and evaluation of P. knowlesi case clustering. Primary analysis will be per protocol, with adjusted ORs for exposure risks between cases and controls calculated using conditional multiple logistic regression models.
ETHICS: This study has been approved by the human research ethics committees of Malaysia, the Menzies School of Health Research, Australia, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK.
Methods: Over 3.5 years, we prospectively assessed patients of any age with molecularly-confirmed Plasmodium monoinfection presenting to 3 district hospitals in Sabah, Malaysia.
Results: Of 481 knowlesi, 172 vivax, and 96 falciparum malaria cases enrolled, 44 (9%), 71 (41%), and 31 (32%) children aged ≤12 years. Median parasitemia was lower in knowlesi malaria (2480/μL [interquartile range, 538-8481/μL]) than in falciparum (9600/μL; P < .001) and vivax malaria. In P. knowlesi, World Health Organization-defined anemia was present in 82% (95% confidence interval [CI], 67%-92%) of children vs 36% (95% CI, 31%-41%) of adults. Severe knowlesi malaria occurred in 6.4% (95% CI, 3.9%-8.3%) of adults but not in children; the commenst severity criterion was acute kideny injury. No patient had coma. Age, parasitemia, schizont proportion, abdominal pain, and dyspnea were independently associated with severe knowlesi malaria, with parasitemia >15000/μL the best predictor (adjusted odds ratio, 16.1; negative predictive value, 98.5%; P < .001). Two knowlesi-related adult deaths occurred (fatality rate: 4.2/1000 adults).
Conclusions: Age distribution and parasitemia differed markedly in knowlesi malaria compared to human-only species, with both uncomplicated and severe disease occurring at low parasitemia. Severe knowlesi malaria occurred only in adults; however, anemia was more common in children despite lower parasitemia. Parasitemia independently predicted knowlesi disease severity: Intravenous artesunate is warranted initially for those with parasitemia >15000/μL.
METHODS: We did this population-based case-control study over a 2 year period in the state of Sabah in Malaysia. We enrolled cases with microscopy-positive, PCR-confirmed malaria who presented to two primary referral hospitals serving the adjacent districts of Kudat and Kota Marudu. We randomly selected three malaria-negative community controls per case, who were matched by village within 2 weeks of case detection. We obtained questionnaire data on demographics, behaviour, and residential malaria risk factors, and we also assessed glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) enzyme activity. We used conditional logistic regression models to evaluate exposure risk between P knowlesi cases and controls, and between P knowlesi and human-only Plasmodium spp malaria cases.
FINDINGS: From Dec 5, 2012, to Jan 30, 2015, we screened 414 patients and subsequently enrolled 229 cases with P knowlesi malaria mono-infection and 91 cases with other Plasmodium spp infection. We enrolled 953 matched controls, including 683 matched to P knowlesi cases and 270 matched to non-P knowlesi cases. Age 15 years or older (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 4·16, 95% CI 2·09-8·29, p<0·0001), male gender (4·20, 2·54-6·97, p<0·0001), plantation work (3·50, CI, 1·34-9·15, p=0·011), sleeping outside (3·61, 1·48-8·85, p=0·0049), travel (2·48, 1·45-4·23, p=0·0010), being aware of the presence of monkeys in the past 4 weeks (3·35, 1·91-5·88, p<0·0001), and having open eaves or gaps in walls (2·18, 1·33-3·59, p=0·0021) were independently associated with increased risk of symptomatic P knowlesi infection. Farming occupation (aOR 1·89, 95% CI 1·07-3·35, p=0·028), clearing vegetation (1·89, 1·11-3·22, p=0·020), and having long grass around the house (2·08, 1·25-3·46, p=0·0048) increased risk for P knowlesi infection but not other Plasmodium spp infection. G6PD deficiency seemed to be protective against P knowlesi (aOR 0·20, 95% CI 0·04-0·96, p=0·045), as did residual insecticide spraying of household walls (0·52, 0·31-0·87, p=0·014), with the presence of young sparse forest (0·35, 0·20-0·63, p=00040) and rice paddy around the house (0·16, 0·03-0·78, 0·023) also associated with decreased risk.
INTERPRETATION: Adult men working in agricultural areas were at highest risk of knowlesi malaria, although peri-domestic transmission also occurrs. Human behavioural factors associated with P knowlesi transmission could be targeted in future public health interventions.
FUNDING: United Kingdom Medical Research Council, Natural Environment Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council, and Biotechnology and Biosciences Research Council.
RESULTS: Using Open Data Kit GeoODK, we designed and piloted an electronic questionnaire for rolling cross sectional surveys of health facility attendees as part of a malaria elimination campaign in two predominantly rural sites in the Rizal, Palawan, the Philippines and Kulon Progo Regency, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The majority of health workers were able to use the tablets effectively, including locating participant households on electronic maps. For all households sampled (n = 603), health facility workers were able to retrospectively find the participant household using the Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates and data collected by tablet computers. Median distance between actual house locations and points collected on the tablet was 116 m (IQR 42-368) in Rizal and 493 m (IQR 258-886) in Kulon Progo Regency. Accuracy varied between health facilities and decreased in less populated areas with fewer prominent landmarks.
CONCLUSIONS: Results demonstrate the utility of this approach to develop real-time high-resolution maps of disease in resource-poor environments. This method provides an attractive approach for quickly obtaining spatial information on individuals presenting at health facilities in resource poor areas where formal addresses are unavailable and internet connectivity is limited. Further research is needed on how to integrate these with other health data management systems and implement in a wider operational context.
METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Using in silico tools, we designed and expressed four novel P. knowlesi protein products to address the distinct lack of suitable serosurveillance tools: PkSERA3 antigens 1 and 2, PkSSP2/TRAP and PkTSERA2 antigen 1. Antibody prevalence to these antigens was determined by ELISA for three time-points post-treatment from a hospital-based clinical treatment trial in Sabah, East Malaysia (n = 97 individuals; 241 total samples for all time points). Higher responses were observed for the PkSERA3 antigen 2 (67%, 65/97) across all time-points (day 0: 36.9% 34/92; day 7: 63.8% 46/72; day 28: 58.4% 45/77) with significant differences between the clinical cases and controls (n = 55, mean plus 3 SD) (day 0 p<0.0001; day 7 p<0.0001; day 28 p<0.0001). Using boosted regression trees, we developed models to classify P. knowlesi exposure (cross-validated AUC 88.9%; IQR 86.1-91.3%) and identified the most predictive antibody responses.
CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The PkSERA3 antigen 2 had the highest relative variable importance in all models. Further validation of these antigens is underway to determine the specificity of these tools in the context of multi-species infections at the population level.
METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: After reviewing the published literature we identified potential host and vector species and ranked these based on how informative they are for the presence of an infectious parasite reservoir, based on current evidence. We collated spatial data on parasite occurrence and the ranges of the identified host and vector species. The ranked spatial data allowed us to assign an evidence score to 475 subnational areas in 19 countries and we present the results on a map of the Southeast and South Asia region.
CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: We have ranked subnational areas within the potential disease range according to evidence for presence of a disease risk to humans, providing geographical evidence to support decisions on prevention, management and prophylaxis. This work also highlights the unknown risk status of large parts of the region. Within this unknown category, our map identifies which areas have most evidence for the potential to support an infectious reservoir and are therefore a priority for further investigation. Furthermore we identify geographical areas where further investigation of putative host and vector species would be highly informative for the region-wide assessment.
METHODS: The P. knowlesi dihdyrofolate-reductase (pkdhfr) gene was sequenced from 449 P. knowlesi malaria cases from Sabah (Malaysian Borneo) and genotypes evaluated for association with clinical and epidemiological factors. Homology modelling using the pvdhfr template was used to assess the effect of pkdhfr mutations on the pyrimethamine binding pocket.
RESULTS: Fourteen non-synonymous mutations were detected, with the most common being at codon T91P (10.2%) and R34L (10.0%), resulting in 21 different genotypes, including the wild-type, 14 single mutants, and six double mutants. One third of the P. knowlesi infections were with pkdhfr mutants; 145 (32%) patients had single mutants and 14 (3%) had double-mutants. In contrast, among the 47 P. falciparum isolates sequenced, three pfdhfr genotypes were found, with the double mutant 108N+59R being fixed and the triple mutants 108N+59R+51I and 108N+59R+164L occurring with frequencies of 4% and 8%, respectively. Two non-random spatio-temporal clusters were identified with pkdhfr genotypes. There was no association between pkdhfr mutations and hyperparasitaemia or malaria severity, both hypothesized to be indicators of H-H transmission. The orthologous loci associated with resistance in P. falciparum were not mutated in pkdhfr. Subsequent homology modelling of pkdhfr revealed gene loci 13, 53, 120, and 173 as being critical for pyrimethamine binding, however, there were no mutations at these sites among the 449 P. knowlesi isolates.
CONCLUSION: Although moderate diversity was observed in pkdhfr in Sabah, there was no evidence this reflected selective antifolate drug pressure in humans.
METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We conducted comprehensive surveys in three areas where P. knowlesi transmission is reported: Limbuak, Pulau Banggi and Matunggung, Kudat, Sabah, Malaysia and Bacungan, Palawan, the Philippines. Infection prevalence was low with parasites detected by PCR in only 0.2% (4/2503) of the population. P. knowlesi PkSERA3 ag1 antibody responses were detected in 7.1% (95% CI: 6.2-8.2%) of the population, compared with 16.1% (14.6-17.7%) and 12.6% (11.2-14.1%) for P. falciparum and P. vivax. Sero-prevalence was low in individuals <10 years old for P. falciparum and P. vivax consistent with decreased transmission of non-zoonotic malaria species. Results indicated marked heterogeneity in transmission intensity between sites and P. knowlesi exposure was associated with agricultural work (OR 1.63; 95% CI 1.07-2.48) and higher levels of forest cover (OR 2.40; 95% CI 1.29-4.46) and clearing (OR 2.14; 95% CI 1.35-3.40) around houses. Spatial patterns of P. knowlesi exposure differed from exposure to non-zoonotic malaria and P. knowlesi exposed individuals were younger on average than individuals exposed to non-zoonotic malaria.
CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This is the first study to describe serological exposure to P. knowlesi and associated risk factors within endemic communities. Results indicate community-level patterns of infection and exposure differ markedly from demographics of reported cases, with higher levels of exposure among women and children. Further work is needed to understand these variations in risk across a wider population and spatial scale.