This study examined the trend of major congenital anomalies (CA) in the state of Penang using the ICD 10 database from 1999 to 2004. The data was collected from various health centres and hospitals. The aim was to study the magnitude of the problem for congenital anomalies in the state of Penang in terms of trends and also to calculate the incidence rate by districts. If a trend was noticed, this in turn will determine whether to carry out further in-depth studies in the future and to find out the linkages to the environment if any.
In October 2011, the National International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005 Focal Point for Malaysia received notification from the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of a probable Sarcocystis outbreak amongst 23 travellers from six countries who had vacationed on Tioman Island between June and August 2011. The Ministry of Health, Malaysia (MOH) in collaboration with the Department of Veterinary Services, Malaysia (DVS) conducted a cross sectional study in November 2011 to determine the presence of Sarcocystosis among humans, animals and in the environment in Tioman Island. Epidemiological investigations conducted involved a community health survey of 44 residents in Kampung Salang, Tioman and review of outpatient attendance cards for suspected or confirmed cases of Sarcocystosis. Twenty-eight fresh stool samples were collected and sent to the National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL) for detection of Sarcocystis oocysts using fluorescence microscopy. Water samples taken from 27 water sampling points around the island were processed and analysed under the fluorescence microscope using ultraviolet (UV) light at the Institute for Medical Research (IMR) to detect the presence of Sarcocystis sporocyst. DVS collected 84 faecal samples from four types of domesticated animals and then analysed them at the Veterinary Services Centre in Tioman Island for Sarcocystis oocysts and other parasitic ova and cysts using qualitative Floatation Technique. The results showed that Sarcocystis was not present in humans, animals and in the environment in Tioman Island during the study period. Further surveillance among humans, wildlife and the environment is needed to determine Sarcocystis endemicity in Tioman Island.
Introduction: Most health advisories related to outdoor physical activity during haze are general in nature. The advisories normally advise everyone to reduce or limit prolonged exertion or heavy exertion without mentioning the acceptable duration for performing outdoor physical activity causing difficulty for public to decide to stop or cancel a particular outdoor or sport event. The aim of this paper is to determine the acceptable duration for performing outdoor physical activity pattern during haze based on API level.
Methods: Health risk assessment approach that comprises of hazard identification, exposure assessment, dose-response, and risk characterization steps was used to determine the potential inhaled dose and risk associated with performing the physical activity during haze. We have considered many factors that include time spent for physical activity patterns for Malaysian adult, age and physical intensity-specific inhalation rate (m3/min), and the indoor/outdoor ratio of PM10. A hypothetical exposure scenario of PM10 was created using the breakpoints of PM10 concentration for the calculation of respective API levels during haze.
Results: The association between physical activity pattern, API level and risk quotient were presented in the form of risk radar diagram. Based on the 50th percentile inhalation rate, all prolonged exertion and heavy exertion should be avoided when API reach >201 (very unhealthy) and >175 (unhealthy) respectively. Below the said API, the duration for performing prolonged exertion and heavy exertion should be reduced according to the API level. When API reaches 140, high intensity physical activity should be limited to < 90 minutes. A football match which requires 90 minutes, should be postponed of cancelled if API > 140. Whereas, for the same API level, prolonged exertion (moderate intensity physical activity) should be limited to 4 hours.
Conclusions: Reducing the physical activity is an effective strategy to lower the dose of inhaled pollutants and reduce the health risk during poor air quality. Based on the assessment, taking into account the uncertainty of risk assessment methodology, we proposed all prolonged exertion should be avoided when API reach very unhealthy status (>201). Below the said API level, outdoor physical activity should be reduced according to the level of API respectively. The recommendation is not applicable for the sensitive groups. The computed risk radar provide a valuable guide for the public to organize or considering postponing an outdoor event during haze.
Amoebiasis is an infectious diseased caused by parasitic one-celled protozoan called Entamoeba histolytica. Numerous protozoa also can inhabit the gastro-intestinal tract of human. Majority of these protozoa are non-pathogenic commensals or only causes disease under certain circumstances. Morphologically, E. histolytica, the invasive form, share the same characteristic with the nonpathogenic form, E. dispar. Both strains can be distinguished by using DNA identification. Many previous researches in Malaysia only reported infection with E. histolytica infection. Therefore in this study we tried to classify infection among the aborigines in Cameron Highland as true E. histolytica or E. dispar by Nested Polymerase Chain Reaction (Nested PCR) and Restriction enzyme (RE) digestion. Results showed that 31 samples were positive by microscopic examination, however of these 28 (13.2%) samples were positive for E. histolytica and 12 (5.6%) samples were positive for E. dispar by molecular tools.
A total of 20 isolates of Blastocystis were characterized using a single set of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) primers. The amplification product revealed five types of pattern. All four isolates from Singapore yielded PCR products quite different from those of the local isolates. However, most of the local isolates showed a major product at either 280 or 500 bp, or both. We also suspected that the amplification product detected at 280 bp might be an indicator of the pathogenicity of this parasite. One isolate (M12) obtained from a monkey showed patterns similar to those of human isolates (10203 and KP1) and probably belongs to the same strain. The results indicate that the intraspecific or interstrain variations in these 20 Blastocystis isolates belong to 5 different patterns. The differences among isolates of the same strain revealed by the presence or absence of certain amplification products showed further intrastrain variations in this parasite.
On 14 April 2014, the first laboratory-confirmed case of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection was reported in Malaysia in a man in his mid-fifties, who developed pneumonia with respiratory distress, after returning from a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. The case succumbed to his illness three days after admission at a local hospital. The follow-up of 199 close contacts identified through contact tracing and vigilant surveillance did not result in detecting any other confirmed cases of MERS-CoV infection.
Goniothalamus scortechinii, Andrographis paniculata and Aralidium pinnatifidum were selected for the study based on their ethnomedicinal values. They were screened for anti-malarial activity towards Plasmodium falciparum in vitro using the lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) assay. The crude extract of G. scortechinii exhibited the most potent schizonticidal activity compared to the other extracts. It is effective against both the chloroquine resistant isolate, Gombak A and the sensitive strain, D10 of Plasmodium falciparum. Furthermore a better IC(50) value was obtained against the resistant strain, (9 microg/ml) compared to the sensitive strain, 40 microg/ml. When the crude extract was fractionated into 3 fractions, the chloroform fraction yielded the best activity, exhibiting equipotency against both strains of parasite used; IC(50) of 23.53 microg/ml against Gombak A and 21.06 microg/ml against D10.
An IgG4 ELISA based on a novel recombinant antigen was evaluated for detection of Brugia malayi infection, using 2487 sera from various institutions: 2031 samples from Universiti Sains Malaysia, 276 blinded sera from 2 other institutions in Malaysia, 140 blinded sera from India and 40 blinded sera from Thailand. These sera were from various groups of individuals, i.e., microfilaraemics, chronic patients, endemic normals, non-endemic normals and individuals with other parasitic and bacterial infections. Based on a cut-off optical density reading of 0.300, the IgG4 ELISA demonstrated specificity rates of 95.6-100%, sensitivity rates of 96-100%, positive predictive values of 75-100% and negative predictive values of 98.9-100%. These evaluation studies demonstrated the high specificity and sensitivity of this test for the detection of active B. malayi infection. Thus, the IgG4 ELISA would be very useful as a tool in diagnosis and in elimination programmes for brugian filariasis.
We have examined 56 unrelated individuals from Malaysian aborigines for their DNA polymorphism of the HLA-B gene by sequence specific oligonucleotide probe (SSO) method. Using the SSO hybridization, we found that one specific DNA allele with a B*1513 like pattern of epitope combination (ECB1513) was dominant among the Melayu Asli (Af = 41.9%) and the Senoi (Af = 24%). To determine the nucleotide sequences of ECB1513, a DNA fragment spanning from the beginning of exon 1 to the middle of exon 4 of the HLA-B gene was amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) from two ECB1513 positive individuals, and the PCR products were cloned and sequenced. This sequencing analysis confirmed that ECB1513 was identical to HLA-B*1513 in exon 1, 2, 3, and 4. Amino acid sequence of this major allele, HLA-B*1513, in the aborigines especially around the peptide binding groove (B and F pockets), was compared with that of African B*5301 that had been suggested to confer resistance to malaria infection in Africa. The amino acid residues composing of the F pocket were completely identical in B*1513 and B*5301. These observations suggest that a common environmental factor, the malaria infection, might have independently enhanced the selection of functional change in the polymorphic portion of HLA-B gene in Africa and in South-East Asia.
Uncomplicated falciparum malaria patients were randomly assigned to receive either 25 mg/kg chloroquine (CHL) over 3 d or a statim dose of 25 mg/kg sulfadoxine (SDX) plus 1.25 mg/kg pyrimethamine (PYR). Patients were followed up for 28 d and the parasite response graded according to World Health Organization criteria. Overall resistance to CHL was 63.3% and 47.4% to SDX/PYR. RI, RII and RIII rates were 9.1%, 42.4% and 12.1% for CHL and 10.5%, 21.1% and 15.8% for SDX/PYR, respectively. Degree and rates of resistance to CHL were significantly correlated with pre-treatment parasite density, but not those to SDX/PYR. Plasma CHL and SDX/PYR levels were within the reported ranges and were not significantly different in patients with sensitive and resistant responses.