Displaying publications 1 - 20 of 98 in total

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  1. Yong HS, Song SL, Eamsobhana P, Lim PE
    Acta Trop., 2016 May 17;161:33-40.
    PMID: 27207134 DOI: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2016.05.002
    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.
  2. Dieng H, Hassan RB, Hassan AA, Ghani IA, Abang FB, Satho T, et al.
    Acta Trop., 2015 May;145:68-78.
    PMID: 25617636 DOI: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2015.01.004
    Even with continuous vector control, dengue is still a growing threat to public health in Southeast Asia. Main causes comprise difficulties in identifying productive breeding sites and inappropriate targeted chemical interventions. In this region, rural families keep live birds in backyards and dengue mosquitoes have been reported in containers in the cages. To focus on this particular breeding site, we examined the capacity of bird fecal matter (BFM) from the spotted dove, to support Aedes albopictus larval growth. The impact of BFM larval uptake on some adult fitness traits influencing vectorial capacity was also investigated. In serial bioassays involving a high and low larval density (HD and LD), BFM and larval standard food (LSF) affected differently larval development. At HD, development was longer in the BFM environment. There were no appreciable mortality differences between the two treatments, which resulted in similar pupation and adult emergence successes. BFM treatment produced a better gender balance. There were comparable levels of blood uptake and egg production in BFM and LSF females at LD; that was not the case for the HD one, which resulted in bigger adults. BFM and LSF females displayed equivalent lifespans; in males, this parameter was shorter in those derived from the BFM/LD treatment. Taken together these results suggest that bird defecations successfully support the development of Ae. albopictus. Due to their cryptic aspects, containers used to supply water to encaged birds may not have been targeted by chemical interventions.
  3. Leong PK, Tan CH, Sim SM, Fung SY, Sumana K, Sitprija V, et al.
    Acta Trop., 2014 Apr;132:7-14.
    PMID: 24384454 DOI: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2013.12.015
    Snake envenomation is a serious public health threat in many rural areas of Asia and Africa. Antivenom has hitherto been the definite treatment for snake envenomation. Owing to a lack of local production of specific antivenom, most countries in these regions fully depend on foreign supplies of antivenoms. Often, the effectiveness of the imported antivenoms against local medically important species has not been validated. This study aimed to assess cross-neutralizing capacity of a recently developed polyvalent antivenom, Hemato Polyvalent Snake Antivenom (HPAV), against venoms of a common viper and some pit vipers from Southeast Asia. Neutralisation assays showed that HPAV was able to effectively neutralize lethality of the common Southeast Asian viperid venoms examined (Calloselasma, Crytelytrops, Popeia, and Daboia sp.) except for Tropidolaemus wagleri venom. HPAV also effectively neutralized the procoagulant and hemorrhagic activities of all the venoms examined, corroboratively supporting the capability of HPAV in neutralizing viperid venoms which are principally hematoxic. The study also indicated that HPAV fully prevented the occurrence of hematuria and proteinuria in mice envenomed with Thai Daboia siamensis venom but was only partially effective against venoms of Myanmar D. siamensis. Thus, HPAV appears to be useful against its homologous venoms and venoms from Southeast Asian viperids including several medically important pit vipers belonging to the Trimeresurus complex. Nevertheless, the effectiveness of HPAV as a paraspecific antivenom for treatment of viperid envenomation in Southeast Asian region requires further assessment from future clinical trials.
  4. Dieng H, Rajasaygar S, Ahmad AH, Rawi CS, Ahmad H, Satho T, et al.
    Acta Trop., 2014 Feb;130:123-30.
    PMID: 24239749 DOI: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2013.11.001
    Despite major insecticide-based vector control programs, dengue continues to be a major threat to public health in urban areas. The reasons for this failure include the emergence of insecticide resistance and the narrowing of the spectrum of efficient products. Cigarette butts (CBs), the most commonly discarded piece of waste, also represent a major health hazard to human and animal life. CBs are impregnated with thousands of chemical compounds, many of which are highly toxic and none of which has history of resistance in mosquitoes. This study was performed to examine whether exposure to CB alters various biological parameters of parents and their progeny. We examined whether the mosquito changes its ovipositional behaviors, egg hatching, reproductive capacity, longevity and fecundity in response to CB exposure at three different concentrations. Females tended to prefer microcosms containing CBs for egg deposition than those with water only. There were equivalent rates of eclosion success among larvae from eggs that matured in CB and water environments. We also observed decreased life span among adults that survived CB exposure. Extracts of CB waste have detrimental effects on the fecundity and longevity of its offspring, while being attractive to its gravid females. These results altogether indicate that CB waste indirectly affect key adult life traits of Aedes aegypti and could conceivably be developed as a novel dengue vector control strategy, referring to previously documented direct toxicity on the larval stage. But this will require further research on CB waste effects on non-target organisms including humans.
  5. Yap MK, Fung SY, Tan KY, Tan NH
    Acta Trop., 2014 May;133:15-25.
    PMID: 24508616 DOI: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2014.01.014
    The proteome of Naja sumatrana (Equatorial spitting cobra) venom was investigated by shotgun analysis and a combination of ion-exchange chromatography and reverse phase HPLC. Shotgun analysis revealed the presence of 39 proteins in the venom while the chromatographic approach identified 37 venom proteins. The results indicated that, like other Asiatic cobra venoms, N. sumatrana contains large number of three finger toxins and phospholipases A2, which together constitute 92.1% by weight of venom protein. However, only eight of the toxins can be considered as major venom toxins. These include two phospholipases A2, three neurotoxins (two long neurotoxins and a short neurotoxin) and three cardiotoxins. The eight major toxins have relative abundance of 1.6-27.2% venom proteins and together account for 89.8% (by weight) of total venom protein. Other venom proteins identified include Zn-metalloproteinase-disintegrin, Thaicobrin, CRISP, natriuretic peptide, complement depleting factors, cobra venom factors, venom nerve growth factor and cobra serum albumin. The proteome of N. sumatrana venom is similar to proteome of other Asiatic cobra venoms but differs from that of African spitting cobra venom. Our results confirm that the main toxic action of N. sumatrana venom is neurotoxic but the large amount of cardiotoxins and phospholipases A2 are likely to contribute significantly to the overall pathophysiological action of the venom. The differences in toxin distribution between N. sumatrana venom and African spitting cobra venoms suggest possible differences in the pathophysiological actions of N. sumatrana venom and the African spitting cobra venoms, and explain why antivenom raised against Asiatic cobra venom is not effective against African spitting cobra venoms.
  6. Ngui R, Mahdy MA, Chua KH, Traub R, Lim YA
    Acta Trop., 2013 Oct;128(1):154-7.
    PMID: 23774318 DOI: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2013.06.003
    Ancylostoma ceylanicum is the only zoonotic hookworm species that is able to produce patent infections in humans with the majority of cases reported in South East Asia. Over the past few years, there have been an increasing number of studies investigating the prevalence of this parasitic zoonosis using molecular diagnostic tools and a single genetic locus as marker for species identification. As there can be limitations in using a single genetic locus for epidemiological studies and genetic discrimination, the complementary use of a more variable locus will provide additional evidence to support the zoonotic exchange of hookworm species between humans and animals. In the present study, the cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (cox 1) sequence of A. ceylanicum from positive human and animal fecal samples were determined and compared with published reference sequences. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated that isolates of A. ceylanicum were divided into two clusters, one consisting 3 human isolates and the other comprising 19 isolates of human and animal origin from different geographical locations within Malaysia. The two groups of A. ceylanicum could be distinguished from one another through five fixed nucleotide differences at locations 891, 966, 1008, 1077 and 1083. The detection of genetically distinct groups and considerable level of genetic variation within the cox 1 sequence of A. ceylanicum might suggest potential haplotype-linked differences in zoonotic, epidemiological and pathobiological characteristics, a hypothesis that still needs further investigation.
  7. Dieng H, Rajasaygar S, Ahmad AH, Ahmad H, Rawi CS, Zuharah WF, et al.
    Acta Trop., 2013 Dec;128(3):584-90.
    PMID: 23999373 DOI: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2013.08.013
    Annually, 4.5 trillion cigarette butts (CBs) are flicked into our environment. Evidence exists that CB waste is deadly to aquatic life, but their lethality to the aquatic life of the main dengue vector is unknown. CBs are full of toxicants that occur naturally, during planting and manufacturing, which may act as larvicidal agents. We assessed Aedes aegypti vulnerability to Marlboro butts during its development. Overall, CBs showed insecticidal activities against larvae. At early phases of development, mortality rates were much higher in two CBs solution (2CBSol) and 3CBSol microcosms (MICRs). Larval survival gradually decreased with development in 1CBSol-MICRs. However, in great presence of CBs, mortality was high even for the late developmental stages. These results suggest that A. aegypti larvae are vulnerable to CB presence in their habitats, but this effect was seen most during the early developmental phases and in the presence of increased amounts of cigarette remnants. CB filters are being used as raw material in many sectors, i.e., brick, art, fashion, plastic industries, as a practical solution to the pollution problem, the observed butt waste toxicity to mosquito larvae open new avenues for the identification of novel insecticide products.
  8. Hassan M, Sulaiman MH, Lian CJ
    Acta Trop., 2013 May;126(2):142-5.
    PMID: 23416121 DOI: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2013.02.001
    A parasitological survey of 16 pangolins, confiscated from the Department of Wildlife and Nature Park Peninsular Malaysia (DWNP) at Kelantan and Pulau Pinang, Malaysia was conducted in 2011. Amblyomma javanense (family: Ixodidae) was the only ectoparasite found on the pangolins. The prevalence, intensity and life cycle of A. javanense were observed together with the respective pangolins' age and sex. It was found that 68.8% of the pangolins were infected, and significant difference, χ(2)(1, N=16)=4.02, p=0.05 were observed with males higher in infestation (88.9%) as compared to the females (42.9%). However, the mean intensity was higher on females (72) as compared to males (31.6). In addition, significant difference, χ(2) (2, N=16)=6.73, p=0.05 was recorded between adults and juveniles with juveniles found to be 100% infected as compared to adult (63.6%). Nevertheless, the mean intensity was slightly higher on adults (47) than juveniles (35). Adult ticks were found in higher numbers as compared to the nymph and larvae with number of male ticks higher (236) as compared to the females (53). Similarly, a high significant difference χ(2)(2, N=469)=203.47, p=0.05 was recorded in the composition of the tick's life stages with a higher number of adult ticks (61.6%) followed by nymph (30.3%) and larvae (8.1%). As such, the results of this study revealed a picture of the A. javanense life cycle which is related to the age and gender of the Malayan Pangolin.
  9. Antinori S, Galimberti L, Milazzo L, Corbellino M
    Acta Trop., 2013 Feb;125(2):191-201.
    PMID: 23088834 DOI: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2012.10.008
    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.
  10. Benacer D, Thong KL, Min NC, Bin Verasahib K, Galloway RL, Hartskeerl RA, et al.
    Acta Trop., 2016 May;157:162-8.
    PMID: 26844370 DOI: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2016.01.031
    Leptospirosis is an emerging disease, especially in countries with a tropical climate such as Malaysia. A dramatic increase in the number of cases has been reported over the last decade; however, information on the epidemiological trends of this disease is lacking. The objective of this study is to provide an epidemiological description of human leptospirosis cases over a 9-year period (2004-2012) and disease relationship with meteorological, geographical, and demographical information. A retrospective study was undertaken to describe the patterns of human leptospirosis cases and their association with intrinsic (sex, age, and ethnicity) and extrinsic (location, rainfall, and temperature) factors. Data was grouped according to age, sex, ethnicity, seasonality and geographical distribution, and analyzed using statistical tools to understand the influence of all the different factors on disease incidence. A total of 12,325 cases of leptospirosis were reported between 2004 and 2012 with an upward trend in disease incidence, with the highest in 2012. Three hundred thirty-eight deaths were reported with an overall case fatality rate of 2.74%, with higher incidence in males (9696; 78.7%) compared with female patients (2629; 21.3%), and overall male to female ratio of 3.69:1. Patients aged cohorts between 30-39 years old (16.22 per 100,000 population) had the highest disease incidence while the lowest incidence occurred between <1 to 9 years old (3.44 per 100,000 population). The average incidence was highest amongst Malays (10.97 per 100,000 population), followed by Indians (7.95 per 100,000 population). Stratification according to geographical distribution showed that the state of Malacca had the highest average disease incidence (11.12 per 100,000 population) followed by Pahang (10.08 per 100,000 population). The states of Terengganu, Kelantan, and Perak recorded similar rates of incidence (≈8.00 per 100,000 population), while Johor with the least number of reported cases (1.80 per 100,000 population). Positive relationships were recorded between the number of reported cases with the number of raining days per month and monthly average temperature (p-value<0.05). However, no significant association was noted between rainfall volume and number of reported Leptospirosis cases. This collaborative efforts between medical, academic and governmental institutions has enabled the construction of this comprehensive database that is essential to understand the disease trends in Malaysia and add insights into the prevention and control of this disease.
  11. Cheong FW, Fong MY, Lau YL
    Acta Trop., 2016 Feb;154:89-94.
    PMID: 26624919 DOI: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2015.11.005
    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.
  12. Ya'cob Z, Takaoka H, Pramual P, Low VL, Sofian-Azirun M
    Acta Trop., 2016 Jan;153:57-63.
    PMID: 26476394 DOI: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2015.10.007
    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.
  13. Tay ST, Kho KL, Wee WY, Choo SW
    Acta Trop., 2016 Mar;155:25-33.
    PMID: 26658020 DOI: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2015.11.019
    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.
  14. Fong MY, Wong SS, Silva JR, Lau YL
    Acta Trop., 2015 Dec;152:145-150.
    PMID: 26384455 DOI: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2015.09.009
    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.
  15. Yong HS, Song SL, Eamsobhana P, Goh SY, Lim PE
    Acta Trop., 2015 Dec;152:157-164.
    PMID: 26348256 DOI: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2015.09.001
    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.
  16. Srisuka W, Takaoka H, Otsuka Y, Fukuda M, Thongsahuan S, Taai K, et al.
    Acta Trop., 2015 Sep;149:212-9.
    PMID: 26028177 DOI: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2015.05.024
    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.
  17. Leong PK, Fung SY, Tan CH, Sim SM, Tan NH
    Acta Trop., 2015 Sep;149:86-93.
    PMID: 26026717 DOI: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2015.05.020
    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.
  18. Bamaga OA, Mahdy MA, Lim YA
    Acta Trop., 2015 Sep;149:59-63.
    PMID: 26001972 DOI: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2015.05.013
    Malaria is still a major public health problem in Yemen. More than 95% of the malaria cases are due to Plasmodium ‎falciparum‎. Recently in Yemen, the antimalarial treatment policy was changed from chloroquine (CQ) to artemisinin combination therapy (ACTs). However, CQ is still available and prescribed in the Yemeni market. The persistence of CQ resistance will be prolonged if the shift to ACT and the simultaneous withdrawal of CQ are not rigorously implemented. The aim of the current survey is to detect chloroquine-resistant mutations in P. falciparum chloroquine-resistance transporter (pfcrt) and P. falciparum multi-drug resistance-1 (pfmdr1) genes. These data will be important for future monitoring and assessment of antimalarial drug policy in Yemen. Blood specimens were collected from 735 individuals from different districts of the Hadhramout province, Yemen by house-to-house visit. Mutation-specific nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) methods were used to investigate the mutations in the pfmdr1(codons 86 and 1246) and pfcrt (codons 76, 271, 326, 356 and 371) genes. The overall prevalence of pfcrt mutations at codons 76, 271, 326 and 371 were 50.4%, 58.7%, 54.3% and 44.9%, respectively. All isolates had wild-type pfcrt 356 allele. The majority of pfmdr1 86 alleles (83.3%) and all pfmdr1 1246 alleles were wild type. There was no association between pfcrt mutations and symptomatology, gender and age groups. In conclusion, point mutations in codons 76, 271, 326 and 371 of pfcrt of P. falciparum are high suggesting a sustained high CQ resistance even after 4 years of shifting to ACTs. These findings warrant complete withdrawal of CQ use from the Yemeni market for P. falciparum and careful usage of CQ for treating Plasmodium vivax.
  19. Gan CS, Yusof R, Othman S
    Acta Trop., 2015 Sep;149:8-14.
    PMID: 25981524 DOI: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2015.05.005
    Dengue virus (DV) infection demonstrates an intriguing virus-induced intracellular membrane alteration that results in the augmentation of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I-restricted antigen presentation. As oppose to its biological function in attracting CD8(+) T-cells, this phenomenon appears to facilitate the immune evasion. However, the molecular events that attribute to the dysregulation of the antigen presenting mechanism (APM) by DV remain obscure. In this study, we aimed to characterize the host cell APM upon infection with all serotypes of whole DV. Cellular RNA were isolated from infected cells and the gene expressions of LMP2, LMP7, TAP1, TAP2, TAPBP, CALR, CANX, PDIA3, HLA-A and HLA-B were analyzed via quantitative PCR. The profiles of the gene expression were further validated. We showed that all four DV serotypes modulate host APM at the proteasomal level with DV2 showing the most prominent expression profile.
  20. Yong HS, Eamsobhana P, Song SL, Prasartvit A, Lim PE
    Acta Trop., 2015 Aug;148:66-71.
    PMID: 25930187 DOI: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2015.04.020
    Angiostrongylus cantonensis is an important emerging zoonotic parasite causing human eosinophilic meningitis (or meningoencephalitis) in many parts of the world. To-date there is only a single study using mitochondrial cytochrome b (CYTB) gene to determine its genetic structure in eight geographical localities in Thailand. The present study examined the molecular phylogeography of this rat lungworm and its phylogenetic relationship with congeners using CYTB gene marker. A total of 15 CYTB haplotypes was found in 37 sequences from 14 geographical localities (covering north, west, east, central and south regions) in Thailand. These CYTB haplotypes were distinct from those of A. cantonensis for China and Hawaii. In Thailand, some CYTB haplotypes appeared to be confined to specific geographical localities. The partial CYTB DNA nucleotide sequences separated unequivocally the A. cantonensis isolates of Thailand, China and Hawaii as well as the congeners Angiostrongylus malaysiensis, A. costaricensis and Angiostrongylus vasorum, with A. malaysiensis grouped with A. cantonensis and A. costaricensis grouped with A. vasorum. Likewise the congeners of Metastrongylus and Onchocerca genera could also be clearly differentiated. The present study added two new definitive hosts (Bandicota savilei and Rattus losea) and three new localities (Mae Hong Son in the north, Tak in the west, and Phang Nga in the south) for A. malaysiensis in Thailand, indicating its wide occurrence in the country. Three CYTB haplotypes were found in the Thailand samples of A. malaysiensis. In addition to differentiation of congeners, CYTB gene marker could be used for determining the genetic diversity of a given population/taxon.
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