Toxocara canis of canids is a parasitic nematode (ascaridoid) that infects humans and other hosts, causing different forms of toxocariasis. This species of Toxocara appears to be the most important cause of human disease, likely followed by Toxocara cati from felids. Although some studies from Malaysia and China have shown that cats can harbor another congener, T. malaysiensis, no information is available about this parasite for other countries. Moreover, the zoonotic potential of this parasite is unknown at this point. In the present study, we conducted the first investigation of domestic dogs and cats for Toxocara in Vietnam using molecular tools. Toxocara malaysiensis was identified as a common ascaridoid of domestic cats (in the absence of T. cati), and T. canis was commonly found in dogs. Together with findings from previous studies, the present results emphasize the need to explore the significance and zoonotic potential of T. malaysiensis in Vietnam and other countries where this parasite is endemic and prevalent in cats.
Indonesia is one of the biggest dengue endemic countries, and, thus, is an important place to investigate the evolution of dengue virus (DENV). We have continuously isolated DENV in Surabaya, the second biggest city in Indonesia, since 2008. We previously reported sequential changes in the predominant serotype from DENV type 2 (DENV-2) to DENV type 1 (DENV-1) in November 2008 and from DENV-1 to DENV-2 in July 2013. The predominance of DENV-2 continued in 2014, but not in 2015. We herein phylogenetically investigated DENV-2 transitions in Surabaya between 2008 and 2014 to analyze the divergence and evolution of DENV-2 concomitant with serotype shifts. All DENV-2 isolated in Surabaya were classified into the Cosmopolitan genotype, and further divided into 6 clusters. Clusters 1-3, dominated by Surabaya strains, were defined as the "Surabaya lineage". Clusters 4-6, dominated by strains from Singapore, Malaysia, and many parts of Indonesia, were the "South East Asian lineage". The most recent common ancestor of these strains existed in 1988, coinciding with the time that an Indonesian dengue outbreak took place. Cluster 1 appeared to be unique because no other DENV-2 isolate was included in this cluster. The predominance of DENV-2 in 2008 and 2013-14 were caused by cluster 1, whereas clusters 2 and 3 sporadically emerged in 2011 and 2012. The characteristic amino acids of cluster 1, E-170V and E-282Y, may be responsible for its prevalence in Surabaya. No amino acid difference was observed in the envelope region between strains in 2008 and 2013-14, suggesting that the re-emergence of DENV-2 in Surabaya was due to the loss or decrease of herd immunity in the 5-year period when DENV-2 subsided. The South East Asian lineage primarily emerged in Surabaya in 2014, probably imported from other parts of Indonesia or foreign countries.
Glucose is an important fuel source to support many living organisms. Its importance in the physiological fitness and pathogenicity of Candida glabrata, an emerging human fungal pathogen has not been extensively studied. The present study aimed to investigate the effects of glucose on the growth, biofilm formation, antifungal susceptibility and oxidative stress resistance of C. glabrata. In addition, its effect on the expression of a putative high affinity glucose sensor gene, SNF3 was also investigated. Glucose concentrations were found to exert effects on the physiological responses of C. glabrata. The growth rate of the species correlated positively to the amount of glucose. In addition, low glucose environments were found to induce C. glabrata to form biofilm and resist amphotericin B. Conversely, high glucose environments promoted oxidative stress resistance of C. glabrata. The expression of CgSNF3 was found to be significantly up-regulated in low glucose environments. The expression of SNF3 gene in clinical isolates was found to be higher compared to ATCC laboratory strains in low glucose concentrations, which may explain the better survivability of clinical isolates in the low glucose environment. These observations demonstrated the impact of glucose in directing the physiology and virulence fitness of C. glabrata through the possible modulation by SNF3 as a glucose sensor, which in turn aids the species to adapt, survive and thrive in hostile host environment.
The epidemiology of non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) remains poorly understood. We therefore sought to determine the genetic relationship of 25 NTHi isolated from various states in Malaysia using multilocus sequence typing (MLST). The majority of isolates were obtained from sputum. There were 24 novel sequence types (STs). Eight isolates were single-locus variants, the remainder being singletons. Clustering was not based on clinical site of isolation or geographical origin. Despite the limited number of isolates examined in this study, we demonstrate that NTHi isolates in Malaysia are diverse and warrant further investigation.
Southeast Asian Ovalocytosis (SAO) is a common red blood cell disorder that is maintained as a balanced polymorphism in human populations. In individuals heterozygous for the SAO-causing mutation there are minimal detrimental effects and well-documented protection from severe malaria caused by Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum; however, the SAO-causing mutation is fully lethal in utero when homozygous. The present-day high frequency of SAO in Island Southeast Asia indicates the trait is maintained by strong heterozygote advantage. Our study elucidates the evolutionary origin of SAO by characterizing DNA sequence variation in a 9.5 kilobase region surrounding the causal mutation in the SLC4A1 gene. We find substantial haplotype diversity among SAO chromosomes and estimate the age of the trait to be approximately 10,005 years (95% CI: 4930-23,200 years). This date is far older than any other human malaria-resistance trait examined previously in Southeast Asia, and considerably pre-dates the widespread adoption of agriculture associated with the spread of speakers of Austronesian languages some 4000 years ago. Using a genealogy-based method we find no evidence of historical positive selection acting on SAO (s=0.0, 95% CI: 0.0-0.03), in sharp contrast to the strong present-day selection coefficient (e.g., 0.09) estimated from the frequency of this recessively lethal trait. This discrepancy may be due to a recent increase in malaria-driven selection pressure following the spread of agriculture, with SAO targeted as a standing variant by positive selection in malarial populations.
A novel member of the Pteropine Orthoreovirus species has been isolated and sequenced for the whole genome from flying foxes (Pteropus vampyrus) imported to Italy from Indonesia. The new isolate named Indonesia/2010 is genetically similar to Melaka virus which has been the first virus of this species to be shown to be responsible for human respiratory disease. Our findings highlight the importance of flying foxes as vectors of potentially zoonotic viruses and the biological hazard that lies in the import of animals from geographical areas that are ecologically diverse from Europe.
In the Arabian Peninsula malaria control is progressing steadily, backed by adequate logistic and political support. As a result, transmission has been interrupted throughout the region, with exception of limited sites in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Here we examined Plasmodium falciparum parasites in these sites to assess if the above success has limited diversity and gene flow.
Streptococcus pneumoniae is an epidemiologically important bacterial pathogen. Recently, we reported the antibiotic susceptibility patterns of a limited collection of pneumococcal isolates in Malaysia with a high prevalence of erythromycin resistant strains. In the present study, 55 of the pneumococcal isolates of serotype 19F were further analysed by pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and multilocus sequence typing (MLST). The generated genotypic patterns were then correlated with the antibiograms previously reported. Forty-seven different PFGE profiles (PTs) were obtained, showing that the isolates were genetically diverse. MLST identified 16 sequence types (STs) with ST-236 being predominant (58.2%), followed by ST-81 (10.3%). Among the ST-236 isolates, 22 were erythromycin resistant S. pneumoniae (ERSP) and 15 were trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (TMP/SMX) resistant, while among ST-81, four isolates were ERSP and two were TMP/SMX resistant. The high prevalence of erythromycin resistant serotype 19F isolates of ST-236 in this study has also been reported in other North and South East Asian countries.
Rapidly growing, non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) in the Mycobacterium abscessus (MAB) species are emerging pathogens that cause various diseases including skin and respiratory infections. The species has undergone recent taxonomic nomenclature refinement, and is currently recognized as two subspecies, M. abscessus subsp. abscessus (MAB-A) and M. abscessus subsp. bolletii (MAB-B). The recently reported outbreaks of MAB-B in surgical patients in Brazil from 2004 to 2009 and in cystic fibrosis patients in the United Kingdom (UK) in 2006 to 2012 underscore the need to investigate the genetic diversity of clinical MAB strains. To this end, we sequenced the genomes of two Brazilian MAB-B epidemic isolates (CRM-0019 and CRM-0020) derived from an outbreak of skin infections in Rio de Janeiro, two unrelated MAB strains from patients with pulmonary infections in the United States (US) (NJH8 and NJH11) and one type MAB-B strain (CCUG 48898) and compared them to 25 publically available genomes of globally diverse MAB strains. Genome-wide analyses of 27,598 core genome single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) revealed that the two Brazilian derived CRM strains are nearly indistinguishable from one another and are more closely related to UK outbreak isolates infecting CF patients than to strains from the US, Malaysia or France. Comparative genomic analyses of six closely related outbreak strains revealed geographic-specific large-scale insertion/deletion variation that corresponds to bacteriophage insertions and recombination hotspots. Our study integrates new genome sequence data with existing genomic information to explore the global diversity of infectious M. abscessus isolates and to compare clinically relevant outbreak strains from different continents.
Giardia duodenalis is considered the most common intestinal parasite in humans worldwide. In Malaysia, many studies have been conducted on the epidemiology of giardiasis. However, there is a scarcity of information on the genetic diversity and the dynamics of transmission of G. duodenalis. The present study was conducted to identify G. duodenalis assemblages and sub-assemblages based on multilocus analysis of the glutamate dehydrogenase (gdh), beta-giardin (bg) and triose phosphate isomerase (tpi) genes. Faecal specimens were collected from 484 Orang Asli children with a mean age of 7 years and examined using light microscopy. Specimens positive for Giardia were subjected to PCR analysis of the three genes and subsequent sequencing in both directions. Sequences were edited and analysed by phylogenetic analysis. G. duodenalis was detected in 17% (84 of 484) of the examined specimens. Among them, 71 were successfully sequenced using at least one locus. Genotyping results showed that 30 (42%) of the isolates belonged to assemblage A, 32 (45%) belonged to assemblage B, while discordant genotype results were observed in 9 specimens. Mixed infections were detected in 43 specimens using a tpi-based assemblage specific protocol. At the sub-assemblages level, isolates belonged to assemblage A were AII. High nucleotide variation found in isolates of assemblage B made subtyping difficult to achieve. The finding of assemblage B and the anthroponotic genotype AII implicates human-to-human transmission as the most possible mode of transmission among Malaysian aborigines. The high polymorphism found in isolates of assemblage B warrants a more defining tool to discriminate assemblage B at the sub-assemblage level.
Staphylococcus aureus biofilm associated infections remains a major clinical concern in patients with indwelling devices. Quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) can be used to investigate the pathogenic role of such biofilms. We describe qPCRs for 12 adhesion and biofilm-related genes of four S. aureus isolates which were applied during in vitro biofilm development. An endogenous control (16S rRNA) was used for signal normalization. We compared the qPCR results with structural analysis using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The SEM studies showed different cellular products surrounding the aggregated cells at different times of biofilm formation. Using qPCR, we found that expression levels of the gene encoding fibronectin binding protein A and B and clumping factor B (fnbA/B and clfB), which involves in primary adherence of S. aureus, were significantly increased at 24h and decreased slightly and variably at 48 h when all 4 isolates were considered. The elastin binding protein (ebps) RNA expression level was significantly enhanced more than 6-fold at 24 and 48 h compared to 12h. Similar results were obtained for the intercellular adhesion biofilm required genes type C (icaC). In addition, qPCR revealed a fluctuation in expression levels at different time points of biofilm growth of other genes, indicating that different parameter modes of growth processes are operating at different times.
Dengue viruses are mosquito-borne viruses that cause dengue fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever, both of which are globally important diseases. These viruses have evolved in a transmission cycle between human hosts and mosquito vectors in various tropical and subtropical environments. We previously isolated three strains of dengue type 1 virus (DENV1) and 14 strains of dengue type 3 virus (DENV3) during an outbreak of dengue fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever in Jakarta, Indonesia in 1988. Here, we compared the nucleotide sequences of the entire envelope protein-coding region among these strains. The isolates were 97.6-100% identical for DENV1 and 98.8-100% identical for DENV3. All DENV1 isolates were included in two different clades of genotype IV and all DENV3 isolates were included in a single clade of genotype I. For DENV1, three Yap Island strains isolated in 2004 were the only strains closely related to the present isolates; the recently circulated Indonesian strains were in different clades. Molecular clock analyses estimated that ancestors of the genotype IV strains of DENV1 have been indigenous in Indonesia since 1948. We predict that they diverged frequently around 1967 and that their offspring distributed to Southeast Asia, the Western Pacific, and Africa. For DENV3, the clade containing all the present isolates also contained strains isolated from other Indonesian regions and other countries including Malaysia, Singapore, China, and East Timor from 1985-2010. Molecular clock analyses estimated that the common ancestor of the genotype I strains of DENV3 emerged in Indonesia around 1967 and diverged frequently until 1980, and that their offspring distributed mainly in Southeast Asia. The first dengue outbreak in 1968 and subsequent outbreaks in Indonesia might have influenced the divergence and distribution of the DENV1 genotype IV strains and the DENV3 genotype I strains in many countries.
From 1989 to 2011 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, multiple genotypes from both respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) subgroups were found co-circulating each year. RSV-A subgroup predominated in 12 out of 17years with the remaining years predominated by RSV-B subgroup. Local RSV strains exhibited temporal clustering with RSV strains reported in previous epidemiological studies. Every few years, the existing predominant genotype was replaced by a new genotype. The RSV-A genotypes GA2, GA5 and GA7 were replaced by NA1 and NA2, while BA became the predominant RSV-B genotype. A unique local cluster, BA12, was seen in 2009, and the recently-described ON1 genotype with 72-nt duplication emerged in 2011. Our findings will have important implications for future vaccine intervention.
Virulent Newcastle disease virus (NDV) isolates from new sub-genotypes within genotype VII are rapidly spreading through Asia and the Middle East causing outbreaks of Newcastle disease (ND) characterized by significant illness and mortality in poultry, suggesting the existence of a fifth panzootic. These viruses, which belong to the new sub-genotypes VIIh and VIIi, have epizootic characteristics and do not appear to have originated directly from other genotype VII NDV isolates that are currently circulating elsewhere, but are related to the present and past Indonesian NDV viruses isolated from wild birds since the 80s. Viruses from sub-genotype VIIh were isolated in Indonesia (2009-2010), Malaysia (2011), China (2011), and Cambodia (2011-2012) and are closely related to the Indonesian NDV isolated in 2007, APMV1/Chicken/Karangasem, Indonesia (Bali-01)/2007. Since 2011 and during 2012 highly related NDV isolates from sub-genotype VIIi have been isolated from poultry production facilities and occasionally from pet birds, throughout Indonesia, Pakistan and Israel. In Pakistan, the viruses of sub-genotype VIIi have replaced NDV isolates of genotype XIII, which were commonly isolated in 2009-2011, and they have become the predominant sub-genotype causing ND outbreaks since 2012. In a similar fashion, the numbers of viruses of sub-genotype VIIi isolated in Israel increased in 2012, and isolates from this sub-genotype are now found more frequently than viruses from the previously predominant sub-genotypes VIId and VIIb, from 2009 to 2012. All NDV isolates of sub-genotype VIIi are approximately 99% identical to each other and are more closely related to Indonesian viruses isolated from 1983 through 1990 than to those of genotype VII, still circulating in the region. Similarly, in addition to the Pakistani NDV isolates of the original genotype XIII (now called sub-genotype XIIIa), there is an additional sub-genotype (XIIIb) that was initially detected in India and Iran. This sub-genotype also appears to have as an ancestor a NDV strain from an Indian cockatoo isolated in 1982. These data suggest the existence of a new panzootic composed of viruses of subgenotype VIIi and support our previous findings of co-evolution of multiple virulent NDV genotypes in unknown reservoirs, e.g. as recorded with the virulent NDV identified in Dominican Republic in 2008. The co-evolution of at least three different sub-genotypes reported here and the apparent close relationship of some of those genotypes from ND viruses isolated from wild birds, suggests that identifying wild life reservoirs may help predict new panzootics.
Babesia gibsoni is a tick-borne hemoprotozoan parasite of dogs that often causes fever and hemolytic illness. Detection of B. gibsoni has been predominantly reported in Asian countries, including Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Bangladesh and India. The present study shows the first molecular characterization of B. gibsoni detected from dogs in Bangladesh. Blood samples were collected on FTA® Elute cards from 50 stray dogs in Mymensingh District in Bangladesh. DNA eluted from the cards was subjected to nested PCR for the 18S rRNA gene of Babesia species. Approximately 800bp PCR products were detected in 15 of 50 dogs (30%). Based on restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and direct sequencing of the PCR products, all parasite isolates were identified as B. gibsoni. Furthermore, the BgTRAP (B. gibsoni thrombospondin-related adhesive protein) gene fragments were detected in 13 of 15 18S rRNA gene PCR positive blood samples. Phylogenetic analysis of the BgTRAP gene revealed that B. gibsoni parasites in Bangladesh formed a cluster, which was genetically different from other Asian B. gibsoni isolates. In addition, tandem repeat analysis of the BgTRAP gene clearly showed considerable genetic variation among Bangladeshi isolates. These results suggested that B. gibsoni parasites in a different genetic clade are endemic in dogs in Bangladesh. Further studies are required to elucidate the origin, distribution, vector and pathogenesis of B. gibsoni parasites circulating in dogs in Bangladesh.
The knowledge of the diversity of haemosporidian parasites is of primary importance as their representatives include agents of bird malaria. We investigated the occurrence of Haemoproteus spp. and Plasmodium spp. in bird populations from a single locality in the State of Selangor, Peninsular Malaysia, and report on the parasite prevalence of the two genera. A combination of methods (molecular and morphological) was used for detecting these parasites. Seventy-nine bird individuals were caught using mist-nets in July and August 2010 at Gombak Field Station of the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. In total, 23 birds were identified as positive for Haemoproteus or Plasmodium infection and one individual was recognized as carrying mixed infection. The total prevalence of haemosporidians in the collected samples was 30.3%. Infections with parasites of the genus Haemoproteus were predominant compared to those of the genus Plasmodium. In total, 10 new cyt b lineages of Haemoproteus spp. and 3 new cyt b lineages of Plasmodium spp. were recorded in this study. From all recorded haemosporidian lineages (16 in total), 3 were known from previous studies - hCOLL2, hYWT2 and pNILSUN1. Two of them are linked with their corresponding morphospecies - Haemoproteus pallidus (COLL2) and Haemoproteus motacillae (YWT2). The morphological analysis in the present study confirmed the results obtained by the PCR method relative to prevalence, with 25.3% total prevalence of Haemoproteus and Plasmodium parasites. The intensities of infection varied between 0.01% and 19%. Most infections were light, with intensities below 0.1%. The present study is the first molecular survey of the protozoan blood parasites of the order Haemosporida recorded in Malaysia.
Babesia gibsoni is a tick borne intraerythrocytic protozoan parasite causing piroplasmosis in dogs and has been predominantly reported in Asian countries, including Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Bangladesh and India. The present communication is the first evidence on the genetic diversity of B. gibsoni of dogs in India. Blood samples were collected from 164 dogs in north and northeast states of India and 13 dogs (7.9%) were found positive for B. gibsoni infection by microscopic examination of blood smears. Molecular confirmation of these microscopic positive cases for B. gibsoni was carried out by 18S rRNA nested-PCR, followed by sequencing. Nested-PCR for the 18S rRNA gene was also carried out on microscopically B. gibsoni negative samples that detected a higher percentage of dogs (28.6%) infected with B. gibsoni. Genetic diversity in B. gibsoni in India was determined by studying B. gibsoni thrombospondin-related adhesive protein (BgTRAP) gene fragments (855bp) in 19 isolates from four north and northeast states of India. Phylogenetic analysis of the BgTRAP gene revealed that B. gibsoni parasite in India and Bangladesh formed a distinct cluster away from other Asian B. gibsoni isolates available from Japan, Taiwan and Korea. In addition, tandem repeat analysis of the BgTRAP gene clearly showed considerable genetic variation among Indian isolates that was shared by B. gibsoni isolates of Bangladesh. These results suggested that B. gibsoni parasites in a different genetic clade are endemic in dogs in India and Bangladesh. Further studies are required for better understanding of the genetic diversity of B. gibsoni prevalent in India and in its neighbouring countries.
Plasmodium cynomolgi is a malaria parasite that typically infects Asian macaque monkeys, and humans on rare occasions. P. cynomolgi serves as a model system for the human malaria parasite Plasmodium vivax, with which it shares such important biological characteristics as formation of a dormant liver stage and a preference to invade reticulocytes. While genomes of three P. cynomolgi strains have been sequenced, genetic diversity of P. cynomolgi has not been widely investigated. To address this we developed the first panel of P. cynomolgi microsatellite markers to genotype eleven P. cynomolgi laboratory strains and 18 field isolates from Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. We found diverse genotypes among most of the laboratory strains, though two nominally different strains were found to be genetically identical. We also investigated sequence polymorphism in two erythrocyte invasion gene families, the reticulocyte binding protein and Duffy binding protein genes, in these strains. We also observed copy number variation in rbp genes.
HIV strains continuously evolve, tend to recombine, and new circulating variants are being discovered. Novel strains complicate efforts to develop a vaccine against HIV and may exhibit higher transmission efficiency and virulence, and elevated resistance to antiretroviral agents. The United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) set an ambitious goal to end HIV as a public health threat by 2030 through comprehensive strategies that include epidemiological input as the first step of the process. In this context, molecular epidemiology becomes invaluable as it captures trends in HIV evolution rates that shape epidemiological pictures across several geographical areas. This review briefly summarizes the molecular epidemiology of HIV among people who inject drugs (PWID) in Europe and Asia. Following high transmission rates of subtype G and CRF14_BG among PWID in Portugal and Spain, two European countries, Greece and Romania, experienced recent HIV outbreaks in PWID that consisted of multiple transmission clusters including subtypes B, A, F1, and recombinants CRF14_BG and CRF35_AD. The latter was first identified in Afghanistan. Russia, Ukraine, and other Former Soviet Union (FSU) states are still facing the devastating effects of epidemics in PWID produced by AFSU (also known as IDU-A), BFSU (known as IDU-B), and CRF03_AB. In Asia, CRF01_AE and subtype B (Western B and Thai B) travelled from PWID in Thailand to neighboring countries. Recombination hotspots in South China, Northern Myanmar, and Malaysia have been generating several intersubtype and inter-CRF recombinants (e.g. CRF07_BC, CRF08_BC, CRF33_01B etc.), increasing the complexity of HIV molecular patterns.
Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is endemic in the countries of mainland Southeast Asia where it represents a major obstacle to the development of productive animal industries. The aim of this study was to use genetic data to determine the distribution of FMD virus (FMDV) lineages in the Southeast Asia region, and in particular identify possible sources of FMDV causing outbreaks in Malaysia. Complete VP1 sequences, obtained from 214 samples collected between 2000 and 2009, from FMD outbreaks in six Southeast Asian countries, were compared with sequences previously reported. Phylogenetic analysis of these sequences showed that there were two patterns of FMDV distribution in Malaysia. Firstly, for some lineages (O/SEA/Mya98 and serotype A), outbreaks occurred every year in the country and did not appear to persist, suggesting that these incursions were quickly eradicated. Furthermore, for these lineages FMD viruses in Malaysia were closely related to those from neighbouring countries, demonstrating the close epidemiological links between countries in the region. In contrast, for O/ME-SA/PanAsia lineage, viruses were introduced and remained to cause outbreaks in subsequent years. In particular, the recent incursion and maintenance of the PanAsia-2 sublineage into Malaysia appears to be unique and independent from other outbreaks in the region. This study is the first characterisation of FMDV in Malaysia and provides evidence for different epidemiological sources of virus introduction into the country.