Angiostrongylus malaysiensis is a nematode parasite of various rat species. When first documented in Malaysia, it was referred to as A. cantonensis. Unlike A. cantonensis, the complete mitochondrial genome of A. malaysiensis has not been documented. We report here its complete mitogenome, its differentiation from A. cantonensis, and the phylogenetic relationships with its congeners and other Metastrongyloid taxa. The whole mitogenome of A. malaysiensis had a total length of 13,516bp, comprising 36 genes (12 PCGs, 2 rRNA and 22 tRNA genes) and a control region. It is longer than that of A. cantonensis (13,509bp). Its control region had a long poly T-stretch of 12bp which was not present in A. cantonensis. A. malaysiensis and A. cantonensis had identical start codon for the 12 PCGs, but four PCGs (atp6, cob, nad2, nad6) had different stop codon. The cloverleaf structure for the 22 tRNAs was similar in A. malaysiensis and A. cantonensis except the TΨC-arm was absent in trnV for A. malaysiensis but present in A. cantonensis. The Angiostrongylus genus was monophyletic, with A. malaysiensis and A. cantonensis forming a distinct lineage from that of A. costaricensis and A. vasorum. The genetic distance between A. malaysiensis and A. cantonensis was p=11.9% based on 12 PCGs, p=9.5% based on 2 rRNA genes, and p=11.6% based on 14 mt-genes. The mitogenome will prove useful for studies on phylogenetics and systematics of Angiostrongylus lungworms and other Metastrongyloid nematodes.
To investigate the breeding habitat preference of black flies, a comprehensive black fly survey was conducted for the first time in Peninsular Malaysia. Preimaginal black flies (pupae and larvae) were collected manually from 180 stream points encompassing northern, southern, central and east coast of the Peninsular Malaysia. A total of 47 black fly species were recorded in this study. The predominant species were Simulium trangense (36.7%) and Simulium angulistylum (33.3%). Relatively common species were Simulium cheongi (29.4%), Simulium tani (25.6%), Simulium nobile (16.2%), Simulium sheilae (14.5%) and Simulium bishopi (10.6%). Principal Component Analysis (PCA) of all stream variables revealed four PCs that accounted for 69.3% of the total intersite variance. Regression analysis revealed that high species richness is associated with larger, deeper, faster and higher discharge streams with larger streambed particles, more riparian vegetation and low pH (F=22.7, d.f.=1, 173; P<0.001). Relationship between species occurrence of seven common species (present in >10% of the sampling sites) was assessed. Forward logistic regression analysis indicated that four species were significantly related to the stream variables. S. nobile and S. tani prefer large, fast flowing streams with higher pH, large streambed particles and riparian trees. S. bishopi was commonly found at high elevation with cooler stream, low conductivity, higher conductivity and more riparian trees. In contrast, S. sheilae was negatively correlated with PC-2, thus, this species commonly found at low elevation, warmer stream with low conductivity and less riparian trees. The results of this study are consistent with previous studies from other geographic regions, which indicated that both physical and chemical stream conditions are the key factors for black fly ecology.
Plasmodium knowlesi can cause potentially life threatening human malaria. The Plasmodium merozoite surface protein-142 (MSP-142) is a potential target for malaria blood stage vaccine, and for diagnosis of malaria. Two epitope mapping techniques were used to identify the potential epitopes within P. knowlesi MSP-142. Nine and 14 potential epitopes were identified using overlapping synthetic peptide library and phage display library, respectively. Two regions on P. knowlesi MSP-142 (amino acid residues 37-95 and residues 240-289) were identified to be the potential dominant epitope regions. Two of the prominent epitopes, P10 (TAKDGMEYYNKMGELYKQ) and P31 (RCLLGFKEVGGKCVPASI), were evaluated using mouse model. P10- and P31-immunized mouse sera reacted with recombinant P. knowlesi MSP-142, with the IgG isotype distribution of IgG2b>IgG1>IgG2a>IgG3. Significant higher level of cytokines interferon-gamma and interleukin-2 was detected in P31-immunized mice. Both P10 and P31 could be the suitable epitope candidates to be used in malaria vaccine designs and immunodiagnostic assays, provided further evaluation is needed to validate the potential uses of these epitopes.
Bartonella elizabethae has been known to cause endocarditis and neuroretinitis in humans. The genomic features and virulence profiles of a B. elizabethae strain (designated as BeUM) isolated from the spleen of a wild rat in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia are described in this study. The BeUM strain has a genome size of 1,932,479bp and GC content of 38.3%. There is a high degree of conservation between the genomes of strain BeUM with B. elizabethae type strains (ATCC 49927 and F9251) and a rat-borne strain, Re6043vi. Of 2137 gene clusters identified from B. elizabethae strains, 2064 (96.6%) are indicated as the core gene clusters. Comparative genome analysis of B. elizabethae strains reveals virulence genes which are known in other pathogenic Bartonella species, including VirB2-11, vbhB2-B11, VirD4, trw, vapA2-5, hbpA-E, bepA-F, bepH, badA/vomp/brp, ialB, omp43/89 and korA-B. A putative intact prophage has been identified in the strain BeUM, in addition to a 8kb pathogenicity island. The whole genome analysis supports the zoonotic potential of the rodent-borne B. elizabethae, and provides basis for future functional and pathogenicity studies of B. elizabethae.
The simian malaria parasite Plasmodium knowlesi is now recognized as a species that can cause human malaria. The first report of large scale human knowlesi malaria was in 2004 in Malaysia Borneo. Since then, hundreds of human knowlesi malaria cases have been reported in Southeast Asia. The present study investigates the genetic polymorphism of P. knowlesi DI domain of the apical membrane antigen-1 (AMA-1), a protein considered as a promising vaccine candidate for malaria. The DI domain of AMA-1 gene of P. knowlesi clinical isolates from Peninsular Malaysia was amplified by PCR, cloned into Escherichia coli, then sequenced and analysed. Ninety-seven DI domain sequences were obtained. Comparison at the nucleotide level against P. knowlesi strain H as reference sequence showed 21 synonymous and 25 nonsynonymous mutations. Nonetheless, nucleotide sequence analysis revealed low genetic diversity of the DI domain, and it was under purifying (negative) selection. At the amino acid level, 26 different haplotypes were identified and 2 were predominant haplotypes (H1, H2) with high frequencies. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the 26 haplotypes could be clustered into 2 distinct groups (I and II). Members of the groups were basically derived from haplotypes H1 and H2, respectively.
Angiostrongylus cantonensis is a zoonotic parasite that causes eosinophilic meningitis in humans. Earlier work on its mitochondrial genome was based on long polymerase chain reaction method. To date, only the mitogenome of the isolates from China has been studied. We report here the complete mitogenome of the Thailand isolate based on next generation sequencing and compare the genetic diversity with other isolates. The mitogenome of the Thailand isolate (13,519bp) is longer than those of the China isolates (13,497-13,502bp). Five protein-coding genes (atp6, cox1, cox2, cob, nad2) show variations in length among the isolates. The stop codon of the Thailand isolate differs from the China and Taiwan isolates in 4 genes (atp6, cob, nad2, nad6). Additionally, the Thailand isolate has 4 incomplete T stop codon compared to 3 in the China and Taiwan isolates. The control region is longer in the Thailand isolate (258bp) than the China (230-236bp) and Taiwan (237bp) isolates. The intergenic sequence between nad4 and cox1 genes in the Thailand isolate lacks 2bp (indels) at the 5'-end of the sequence as well as differs at 7 other sites compared to the China and Taiwan isolates. In the Thailand isolate, 18 tRNAs lack the entire TΨC-arm, compared to 17 in the China isolate and 16 in the Taiwan isolate. Phylogenetic analyses based on 36 mt-genes, 12 PCGs, 2 rRNA genes, 22 tRNA genes and control region all indicate closer genetic affinity between the China and Taiwan isolates compared to the Thailand isolate. Based on 36 mt-genes, the inter-isolate genetic distance varies from p=3.2% between China and Taiwan isolates to p=11.6% between Thailand and China isolates. The mitogenome will be useful for population, phylogenetics and phylogeography studies.
Diagnosis of human toxocariasis, caused by Toxocara canis or Toxocara cati, normally relies on a combination of the presence of clinical signs and symptoms backed by positive serology. The use of Toxocara excretory-secretory antigen (TES) in ELISA assays increases the test specificity. However, in tropical countries where soil-transmitted helminths are endemic, cross-reactivity from antibodies to these intestinal parasites poses a significant limitation for Toxocara serodiagnosis. To increase the specificity of serodiagnosis, we compared the use of IgG-ELISA to the use of IgG4-ELISA using commercially manufactured TES-coated plates. The sensitivity of the IgG-ELISA was 97.1%, while that of the IgG4-ELISA was 45.7%; the specificities were 36.0 and 78.6%, respectively. The study shows that employing both assays can improve the serodiagnosis of toxocariasis. An IgG4 immunoassay would also be useful in the secondary screening of antigen clones in the effort to develop improved serological tests for toxocariasis.
A study was carried out from July 2001 until January 2003 in the Kinabatangan area of Sabah, part of Borneo island, where malaria used to be mesoendemic. Vector surveys determined that Plasmodium falciparum was the predominant species and Anopheles balabacensis the primary vector. Malaria cases have dropped drastically over the years but P. falciparum is still predominant. In the present study, Anopheles donaldi was the predominant species and was positive for sporozoites. Although An. balabacensis was present, none were infective. An. donaldi bite more outdoors than indoors and have a peak biting time from 18:00 to 19:00 h when most people are still out of their homes. An integrated malaria control programme along with area development has helped in the control of malaria and its vector.
Traditionally, engineering and environment-based interventions have contributed to the prevention of malaria in Asia. However, with the introduction of DDT and other potent insecticides, chemical control became the dominating strategy. The renewed interest in environmental-management-based approaches for the control of malaria vectors follows the rapid development of resistance by mosquitoes to the widely used insecticides, the increasing cost of developing new chemicals, logistical constraints involved in the implementation of residual-spraying programs and the environmental concerns linked to the use of persistent organic pollutants. To guide future research and operational agendas focusing on environmental-control interventions, it is necessary to learn from the successes and failures from the time before the introduction of insecticides. The objective of this paper is to describe the experiences gained in Asia with early vector control interventions focusing on cases from the former Indian Punjab, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. The paper deals primarily with the agricultural engineering and land and water management vector control interventions implemented in the period 1900-1950. The selected cases are discussed in the wider context of environment-based approaches for the control of malaria vectors, including current relevance. Clearly, some of the interventions piloted and implemented early in the last century still have relevance today but generally in a very site-specific manner and in combination with other preventive and curative activities. Some of the approaches followed earlier on to support implementation would not be acceptable or feasible today, from a social or environmental point of view.
Envenomation by hump-nosed pit viper (Hypnale hypnale, Hh) in Sri Lanka has caused significant morbidity and mortality, attributed to 35% of total venomous snakebites. In Southwestern India (Kerala), H. hypnale was increasingly identified as a dangerous and common source of envenomation, second to the Russell's viper but ahead of the cobra bites. Unfortunately, there is still no specific antivenom to date. This study aims to investigate the immunological properties of the venom and to assess the feasibility of specific Hh antivenom production as well as the development of a diagnostic assay. Hh venom elicited satisfactory titers of anti-Hh IgG in rabbits after 3rd immunization. The anti-Hh IgG, isolated with caprylic acid precipitation method, was effective in neutralizing the venom lethality (potency=48 LD(50) per ml IgG) as well as its procoagulant, hemorrhagic and necrotic effects, indicating the possibility to produce the specific antivenom using the common immunization regime. Cross-reactivity studies using indirect ELISA showed that anti-Hh IgG cross-reacted extensively with several Asiatic crotalid venoms, particularly that of Calloselasma rhodostoma (73.6%), presumably due to the presence of venom antigens common to both snakes. Levels of immunological cross-reactivity were vastly reduced with double-sandwich ELISA. Further work demonstrated that the assay was able to distinguish and quantify venoms of H. hypnale, Daboia russelii and Echis carinatus sinhaleyus (three common local viperid) used to spike human sera at various concentrations. The assay hence may be a useful investigating tool for diagnosing biting species and studying the time course profile of venom concentrations in blood.
During a study on the quality of the indoor environment, Acanthamoeba spp. were detected in 20 out of 87 dust samples collected from air-conditioners installed in a four-story campus building located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Twenty-one cloned Acanthamoeba isolates designated as IMU1 to IMU21 were established from the positive primary cultures. Five species were identified from the 16 isolates according to the morphological criteria of Pussard and Pons; i.e. A. castellanii, A. culbertsoni, A. griffini, A. hatchetti and A. polyphaga. Species identities for the remaining five isolates (IMU4, IMU5, IMU15, IMU20 and IMU21), however, could not be determined morphologically. At genotypic characterization, these isolates were placed into T3 (IMU14); T5 (IMU16 and IMU17) and T4 (all the remaining isolates). To predict the potential pathogenicity of these Acanthamoeba isolates, thermo- and osmotolerance tests were employed; many isolates were predicted as potential human pathogens based on the outcome of these tests. This is the first time potentially pathogenic Acanthamoeba have been isolated from air-conditioners in Malaysia.
Hypnale hypnale (hump-nosed pit viper) is a medically important venomous snake in Sri Lanka and Southwestern India. Bite of this snake may result in hemostatic dysfunction, acute kidney injury and death. Clinical studies indicated that the locally available polyvalent antivenoms produced in India are not effective against hump-nosed pit viper envenoming. Hence, there is an urgent need to search for effective antivenom. In this paper, we examined the ability of Calloselasma rhodostoma (Malayan pit viper) monovalent antivenom and the Hemato polyvalent antivenom (both produced by Thai Red Cross Society, TRCS) to neutralize the lethality and toxic effects of H. hypnale venom, as C. rhodostoma is considered a sister taxon of H. hypnale. In vitro neutralization studies showed that the Hemato polyvalent antivenom effectively neutralized the lethality of H. hypnale venom (1.52mgvenom/mL antivenom) as well as the hemorrhagic, procoagulant and necrotic activities of the venom. The monovalent C. rhodostoma antivenom could also neutralize the lethality and toxic activities of the venom, but the potency was lower. The Hemato polyvalent antivenom also effectively protected mice from the lethal and local effects of H. hypnale venom in an in vivo rodent model of envenoming. Furthermore, the polyvalent antivenom could also effectively neutralize the venom of Daboia russelii (2.50mgvenom/mL antivenom), another common cause of snake bites in Sri Lanka and South India. These findings suggested that the Hemato polyvalent antivenom may be beneficial in the antivenom treatment of H. hypnale envenoming.
This study was conducted to identify genotypes related risk factors of Giardia intestinalis in an Orang Asli (aboriginal) community in Pahang, Malaysia. Stool samples were collected from 321 individuals aged between 2 and 76 years old, of whom 160 were males and 161 were females. Faecal samples were processed with trichrome staining technique for the primary identification of G. intestinalis. Molecular identification was carried out by the amplification of a partial SSU rRNA gene using nested PCR. PCR products were purified and genotyped. 42 samples successfully amplified from the 76 positive faecal samples, only 1 was Assemblage A, the rest were Assemblage B. Risk analysis based on the detected genotypes of Giardia using univariate analysis and logistic regression identified three significant risk factors of giardiasis caused by assemblage B which included children =12 years (OR=13.56, 95% CI=1.79-102.64, p=0.012), females (OR=2.52, 95% CI=1.11-5.75, p=0.027) and eating fresh fruits (OR=7.78, 95% CI=1.01-60.00, p=0.049). Assemblage B infection was significantly correlated with clinical symptoms of giardiasis (OR=2.4, 95% CI=1.13-5.12, p=0.019). Females infected with Assemblage B were at higher risk of manifesting gastroenteritis signs and symptoms (OR=3.9, 95% CI=1.50-10.31, p=0.004). It has been concluded that giardiasis is still a public health problem in Orang Asli community and most commonly caused by assemblage B. The dynamic of transmission is most probably anthroponotic which is human to human either directly or indirectly through contaminated food. This route of transmission should be considered in the control strategy of the disease. Mass treatment together with health education could be the most practical intervention for reducing the infection. Those at high risk should receive more attention from public health authorities.
Data on soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections and reinfection among Orang Asli (aborigine) schoolchildren and their nutritional and socioeconomic status were analyzed to investigate the pattern and the possible predictors of STH reinfection. In this longitudinal study, 120 (60 males and 60 females) Orang Asli primary schoolchildren aged 7-12 years and living in remote areas in Pos Betau, Kuala Lipis, Pahang were screened for the presence of STH using modified cellophane thick smear and Harada Mori techniques. The overall prevalence of ascariasis, trichuriasis and hookworm infections were 65.8, 97.5 and 10.8%, respectively. After complete deworming with a 3-day course of 400mg/daily of albendazole tablets, children were re-examined at 3 and 6 months from baseline. The reinfection rate, by one or more of STH species, at 3 months after deworming was high (49.5%) while 79.6% of the children were reinfected at 6 months after deworming. Logistic regression analyses showed that females, stunted children and those living in houses without toilets had significantly higher reinfection rates than others at 3 months (P<0.05). At 6 months, maternal employment status emerged as another predictor where children of working mothers had significantly higher reinfection rates (P=0.026). In conclusion, reinfection rate of STH is high and thus necessitates frequent and periodic deworming among children. Public health personnel need to re-look at the current control measures and identify innovative and integrated ways in order to reduce STH significantly in the rural communities.
Anopheles (Cellia) sundaicus (Rodenwaldt) is an important malaria vector in the Andaman and Nicobar islands of India where it breeds in freshwater as well as in brackish water. To establish the molecular identity of An. sundaicus on these islands we analyzed samples from four geographically isolated areas-Teressa, Nancowry, Car Nicobar and Katchal islands. PCR-amplification and nucleotide sequence analysis were performed for internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) and domain-3 (D3) of 28S rRNA. The ITS2 region of An. sundaicus from all four islands was identical but different from An. sundaicus A of Vietnam and An. sundaicus s.s of Malaysia. Furthermore, freshwater and brackish water forms of An. sundaicus did not reveal any sequence variation. Similarly, the D3 sequences were identical among all An. sundaicus samples from the four islands. D3 sequences for a species of the Sundaicus Complex are reported here for the first time and thus could not be compared with other regional isolates of this species. In conclusion, probably only one member of the Sundaicus Complex exists on the Andaman and Nicobar islands, which breeds in freshwater as well as in brackish water and is different from the An. sundaicus A and Malaysian An. sundaicus s.s. The identification of a new sibling species of the Sundaicus Complex in these islands is significant from the viewpoint of vector control strategies.
Charles Wilberforce Daniels was a major pioneer in the early days of the newly-formed medical specialism--tropical medicine. At the London School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) of which he was a leading stalwart, he took an active part in research, teaching and administration. But like others in the new discipline he spent a great deal of time at various tropical locations: Fiji, British Guiana--where he made important observations on various forms of filariasis-- east Africa, and Malaya. However, his most important research contribution was arguably confirmation of Ronald Ross' 1898 discovery of the complete life-cycle of avian malaria, in Calcutta.
Bacterial resistance to various antimicrobial agents is common in area with high usage of antibiotics. In this study, the data on antimicrobial susceptibility patterns of Vibrio cholerae O1 from patients during an outbreak period was found to be high but variable rates of multidrug resistance. Thirty-two of 33 V. cholerae isolates harboured the tcp, ctx, zot and ace genes, suggesting their possible roles in the outbreak cases. We analyzed the molecular diversity of a total of 33 strains of V. cholerae O1 isolated from 33 patients between November 1997 and April 1998 using random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analysis. The 30 typable isolates could be separated into four major clusters containing 5, 17, 2 and 6 isolates, respectively. However, no particular RAPD pattern was predictive of a particular pattern of antibiotic susceptibility. The findings of this study showed that multiple clones seemed to be responsible for cases in the outbreaks in the study area.
Plasmodium knowlesi was initially identified in the 30s as a natural Plasmodium of Macaca fascicularis monkey also capable of experimentally infecting humans. It gained a relative notoriety in the mid-30s as an alternative to Plasmodium vivax in the treatment of the general paralysis of the insane (neurosyphilis). In 1965 the first natural human infection was described in a US military surveyor coming back from the Pahang jungle of the Malaysian peninsula. P. knowlesi was again brought to the attention of the medical community when in 2004, Balbir Singh and his co-workers reported that about 58% of malaria cases observed in the Kapit district of the Malaysian Borneo were actually caused by P. knowlesi. In the following years several reports showed that P. knowlesi is much more widespread than initially thought with cases reported across Southeast Asia. This infection should also be considered in the differential diagnosis of any febrile travellers coming back from a recent travel to forested areas of Southeast Asia. P. knowlesi can cause severe malaria with a rate of 6-9% and with a case fatality rate of 3%. Respiratory distress, acute renal failure, shock and hyperbilirubinemia are the most frequently observed complications of severe P. knowlesi malaria. Chloroquine is considered the treatment of choice of uncomplicated malaria caused by P. knowlesi.
The low potency of cobra antivenom has been an area of concern in immunotherapy for cobra envenomation. This study sought to investigate factors limiting the neutralizing potency of cobra antivenom, using a murine model. We examined the immunological reactivity and neutralizing potency of a Thai polyvalent antivenom against the principal toxins of Naja sumatrana (Equatorial spitting cobra) venom and two related Asiatic cobra venom α-neurotoxins. The antivenom possesses moderate neutralizing potency against phospholipases A2 (P, potency of 0.98mg/mL) and moderately weak neutralizing potency against long-chain α-neurotoxins (0.26-0.42mg/mL) but was only weakly effective in neutralizing the short-chain α-neurotoxins and cardiotoxins (0.05-0.08mg/mL). The poor neutralizing potency of the antivenom on the low molecular mass short-chain neurotoxins and cardiotoxins is presumably the main limiting factor of the efficacy of the cobra antivenom. Our results also showed that phospholipase A2, which exhibited the highest ELISA reactivity and avidity, was most effectively neutralized, whereas N. sumatrana short-chain neurotoxin, which exhibited the lowest ELISA reactivity and avidity, was least effectively neutralized by the antivenom. These observations suggest that low immunoreactivity (low ELISA reactivity and avidity) is one of the reasons for poor neutralization of the cobra venom low molecular mass toxins. Nevertheless, the overall results show that there is a lack of congruence between the immunological reactivity of the toxins toward antivenom and the effectiveness of toxin neutralization by the antivenom, indicating that there are other factors that also contribute to the weak neutralization capacity of the antivenom. Several suggestions have been put forward to overcome the low efficacy of the cobra antivenom. The use of a 'proper-mix' formulation of cobra venoms as immunogen, whereby the immunogen mixture used for hyperimmunization contains a mix of various types of α-neurotoxins and cardiotoxins in sufficient amount, may also help to improve the efficacy and broaden the neutralization spectrum of the antivenom.
This is the first study on the seasonal biodiversity of black flies and evaluation of ecological factors influencing their distribution at Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park, northern Thailand. Larvae were collected from six fixed-stream sites in relation to altitude gradients from May 2011 to April 2013. The water temperature, water pH, conductivity, total dissolved solids (TDS), salt, water velocity, stream width and depth, streambed particle sizes, riparian vegetation, and canopy cover were recorded from each site. Monthly collections from the six sites yielded 5475 last-instar larvae, belonging to 29 black fly species. The most frequently found species from all sites were Simulium asakoae (100%) followed by Simulium yuphae (83.3%), and Simulium chiangdaoense, Simulium gombakense, Simulium phahompokense, Simulium fruticosum, Simulium maeaiense and Simulium fenestratum (66.6%). Of the 5475 last-instar larvae, S. maeaiense (19.3%), S. chiangdaoense (15.8%) and S. asakoae (14.8%), were the three most abundant species. The Shannon diversity index (H) at the six sites with different altitudes of 2100m, 2000m, 1500m, 1400m, 700m, and 500m above mean sea level, were 2.042, 1.832, 2.158, 2.123, 1.821 and 1.822, respectively. The Shannon index and number of taxa in the cold season were higher than those in the rainy and hot seasons. Principal component analysis (PCA) indicated that at least three principal components have eigen values >1.0 and accounted for 93.5% of the total variability of ecological factors among sampling sites. The Canonical correspondence analyses (CCA) showed that most species had a trend towards altitude, canopy cover, riparian vegetation and water velocity.