Traditional healers in Sarawak, Malaysia, use plants such as Picria fel-terrae, Linariantha bicolor and Lansium domesticum to treat gastrointestinal infections. This study aimed to test whether their nematocidal activities could be confirmed in vitro using highly standardised Caenorhabditis elegans models. We applied eight different ethanol solubilised plant extracts and two commercial anthelmintic drugs to larval and adult stages of C. elegans in vitro. Seven C. elegans strains were evaluated, one wild type and six strains with GFP-tagged stress response pathways to help characterise and compare the pathways affected by plant extracts. Our in vitro screen confirmed that both of the commercial anthelmintic drugs and five of the eight traditionally used plant extracts had significant nematocidal activity against both larval and adult C. elegans. The most effective extracts were from P. fel-terrae. The plant extracts triggered different stress response pathways from the commercial anthelmintic drugs. This study showed that using traditional knowledge of plant medicinal properties in combination with a C. elegans in vitro screen provided a rapid and economical test with a high hit rate compared with the random screening of plants for nematocidal activities. The use of transgenic C. elegans strains may allow this approach to be refined further to investigate the mode of action of active extracts.
Anopheles farauti is the primary malaria vector throughout the coastal regions of the Southwest Pacific. A shift in peak biting time from late to early in the night occurred following widespread indoor residue spraying of dichlorodiphenyltrichloro-ethane (DDT) and has persisted in some island populations despite the intervention ending decades ago. We used mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (COI) sequence data and 12 newly developed microsatellite markers to assess the population genetic structure of this malaria vector in the Solomon Archipelago. With geographically distinct differences in peak A. farauti night biting time observed in the Solomon Archipelago, we tested the hypothesis that strong barriers to gene flow exist in this region. Significant and often large fixation index (FST) values were found between different island populations for the mitochondrial and nuclear markers, suggesting highly restricted gene flow between islands. Some discordance in the location and strength of genetic breaks was observed between the mitochondrial and microsatellite markers. Since early night biting A. farauti individuals occur naturally in all populations, the strong gene flow barriers that we have identified in the Solomon Archipelago lend weight to the hypothesis that the shifts in peak biting time from late to early night have appeared independently in these disconnected island populations. For this reason, we suggest that insecticide impregnated bed nets and indoor residue spraying are unlikely to be effective as control tools against A. farauti occurring elsewhere, and if used, will probably result in peak biting time behavioural shifts similar to that observed in the Solomon Islands.
Currently, species-specific information on Entamoeba infections is unavailable in Malaysia and is restricted worldwide due to the re-description of pathogenic Entamoeba histolytica and non-pathogenic Entamoeba dispar and Entamoeba moshkovskii. Therefore, this cross-sectional study was conducted to provide the first known documented data on the true prevalence of these three species in western Malaysia using a molecular method. Another aim of this study was to determine the association of potential risk factors associated with each Entamoeba sp. A total of 500 stool samples from three Orang Asli tribes were randomly collected. The overall prevalence of E. histolytica, E. dispar and E. moshkovskii determined by microscopy was 18.6% (93/500). Molecular analysis revealed that while most Entamoeba-positive individuals were infected with E. dispar (13.4%), followed by E. histolytica (3.2%) and E. moshkovskii (1.0%), the present findings show low prevalence rates of mixed infections with E. histolytica and E. dispar (2%), E. dispar and E. moshkovskii (1.2%) and association infections of E. histolytica, E. dispar and E. moshkovskii (0.4%). Logistical regression analysis indicates that the dynamics of the transmission of the three Entamoeba spp. was different. Of six statistically significant variables observed in the univariate analysis, three were retained as significant risk factors for E. histolytica infection in the logistical regression model. These factors were (i) not washing hands after playing with soil or gardening (Odds ratio (OR)=4.7; 95% confidence level (CI)=1.38, 16.14; P=0.013), (ii) indiscriminate defecation in the river or bush (OR=5.7; 95% CI=1.46, 21.95; P=0.012) and (iii) close contact with domestic animals (OR=5.4; 95% CI=1.36, 2.51; P=0.017). However, subjects with family members who were infected with E. histolytica/E. dispar/E. moshkovskii (OR=3.8; 95 CI=2.11, 6.86; P<0.001) and those who consumed raw vegetables (OR=1.8; 95% CI=1.01, 3.23; P=0.047) were more likely to be infected with E. dispar. On the other hand, no associated factor was identified with E. moshkovskii infection. Nevertheless, diarrhoea (P=0.002) and other gastroenteritis symptoms (P<0.001) were only associated with E. histolytica infection. The present study provides new insight into the distribution and risk factors of E. histolytica, E. dispar and E. moshkovskii infections among Orang Asli communities in Malaysia. Identifying the different risk factors of E. histolytica and E. dispar infections will help in the planning specific strategies in the control and prevention of each infection in the communities. Moreover, it emphasises the need for molecular methods to determine the species-specific prevalence of Entamoeba spp.
The flagellate protozoan parasite, Giardia intestinalis, is widely distributed throughout the world with a high prevalence in developing countries in the tropics and subtropics, including Malaysia. Approximately 200 million people are infected with the parasite globally, with 500,000 new cases reported annually. This cross-sectional study was conducted among three tribes of Orang Asli communities in Selangor, Perak and Pahang states of Malaysia. The main objective was to determine the prevalence of and risk factors for giardiasis. Stool samples were collected from 500 individuals aged between 2 and 74 years (males=219, females=281). The samples were examined with formalin-ether sedimentation and trichrome staining techniques. Socioeconomic data were collected through a pre-tested questionnaire. The overall prevalence of giardiasis was 20.0% with the highest prevalence in the Proto-Malays (33.3%) followed by Negritos (20.1%) and Senois (10.4%). The positive cases showed a decrease with increasing age and most of the positive cases were observed in individuals less than 24 years old. Males had significantly higher prevalence than females (χ(2)=5.283, P=0.022). Logistic regression analysis of the overall population studied and the Senoi tribe confirmed that being a child aged less than 15 years, being male, the consumption of raw vegetables and the presence of other family members infected with G. intestinalis were the main risk factors for giardiasis. The presence of other family members infected with G. intestinalis was the only risk factor highlighted in the Proto-Malay and Negrito tribes. Diarrhoea was significantly associated with giardiasis. However, the cause and effect relationship has yet to be determined. Thus, screening family members and treating the infected individuals are the main strategies that should be adopted by the public health authority in combating this infection in Orang Asli communities as well as health education regarding good personal and food hygiene practises.
Phylogenetic, genealogical and population relationships of Chrysomya bezziana, the Old World screwworm fly (OWSF), were inferred from DNA sequences of mitochondrial cytochrome b (cyt b), nuclear elongation factor-1α (EF-1α) and nuclear white eye colour (white), using sequences of Chrysomya megacephala and Chrysomya rufifacies as outgroups. Cyt b (717bp, 754 specimens), EF-1α (361bp, 256 specimens) and white (577bp, 242 specimens) were analysed from up to two African and nine Asian countries, including 10 Indonesian islands. We show that OWSF occurs as distinctive African and Asian lineages based on cyt b and white, and that there is a marked differentiation between Sumatran and Javan populations in Indonesia, supported by the genealogy and analysis of molecular variance of cyt b alone. Four cyt b sub-lineages are recognised in Asia: only 2.1 occurs on the Asian mainland, from Yemen to Peninsular Malaysia; only 2.2, 2.3 and 2.4 occur in central Indonesia; 2.4 predominates on New Guinea; and 2.1 co-occurs with others only on Sumatra in western Indonesia. This phylogeography and the genetic distances between cyt b haplotypes indicate pre-historic, natural dispersal of OWSF eastwards into Indonesia and other Malesian islands, followed by vicariant evolution in New Guinea and central Indonesia. OWSF is absent from Australia, where there is surveillance for importation or natural invasion. Judged by cyt b haplotype markers, there is currently little spread of OWSF across sea barriers, despite frequent shipments of Australian livestock through Indonesian seas to the Middle East Gulf region. These findings will inform plans for integrated pest management, which could be applied progressively, for example starting in East Nusa Tenggara (central Indonesia) where OWSF has regional cyt b markers, and progressing westwards to Java where any invasion from Sumatra is unlikely. Cyt b markers would help identify the source of any re-emergence in treated areas.
Numerous global reports of the species Udonella caligorum, currently thought to be a species complex, suggests that the group may be species-rich. Herein we describe Udonella fugu n. sp., previously described as U. caligorum, found on the parasitic copepod Pseudocaligus fugu infecting Takifugu spp. from Japan. Using morphological data U. fugu can be distinguished from the current valid species by at least one of the traditionally used characters in udonellid taxonomy, and phylogenetic analyses of ssrDNA sequence data for U. fugu and other udonellids confirm that U. fugu forms a distinct clade from other udonellids including U. caligorum. Variable regions in the ssrDNA demonstrated a range of between 2.75 and 5.5% difference between currently recognized species of Udonella. These differences in ssrDNA sequences are phylogenetically useful when distinguishing between morphologically similar udonellids and can be used in conjunction with other data (morphology, phylogeography and fish host) to help clarify udonellid systematics. Udonella fugu was also found to cause significant damage to farmed tiger puffers through their feeding activities. Individual skin lesions were round in shape but merged with adjoining lesions to form more extensive lacerations. In some of the specimens from P. fugu infecting Takifugu niphobles, the protozoan ciliate Trichodina was found on the udonellid body surface and in their intestinal contents. We conclude that the udonellids are a more species-rich group than currently recognized, that early descriptions of new species may have been synonymized with U. caligorum in error and that the frequent global reports of U. caligorum may actually represent new species. This has led to a wide range of morphological descriptions for U. caligorum, blurring the usefulness of morphological data for the group.
Wildlife are now recognised as an important source of emerging human pathogens, including parasites. This paper discusses the linkages between wildlife, people, zoonotic parasites and the ecosystems in which they co-exist, revisits definitions for 'emerging' and 're-emerging', and lists zoonotic parasites that can be acquired from wildlife including, for some, estimates of the associated global human health burdens. The paper also introduces the concepts of 'parasite webs' and 'parasite flow', provides a context for parasites, relative to other infectious agents, as causes of emerging human disease, and discusses drivers of disease emergence and re-emergence, especially changes in biodiversity and climate. Angiostrongylus cantonensis in the Caribbean and the southern United States, Baylisascaris procyonis in California and Georgia, Plasmodium knowlesi in Sarawak, Malaysia, Human African Trypanosomiasis, Sarcoptes scabiei in carnivores, and Cryptosporidium, Giardia and Toxoplasma in marine ecosystems are presented as examples of wildlife-derived zoonotic parasites of particular recent interest. An ecological approach to disease is promoted, as is a need for an increased profile for this approach in undergraduate and graduate education in the health sciences. Synergy among scientists and disciplines is identified as critical for the study of parasites and parasitic disease in wildlife populations. Recent advances in techniques for the investigation of parasite fauna of wildlife are presented and monitoring and surveillance systems for wildlife disease are discussed. Some of the limitations inherent in predictions for the emergence and re-emergence of infection and disease associated with zoonotic parasites of wildlife are identified. The importance of public awareness and public education in the prevention and control of emerging and re-emerging zoonotic infection and disease are emphasised. Finally, some thoughts for the future are presented.
Thirty-two patients reporting to the Lundu District Hospital, Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo, with uncomplicated falciparum malaria were recruited into a multifaceted study to assess treatment response. Following combined chloroquine and sulphadoxine/pyrimethamine treatment the patients were followed for 28 days according to the World Health Organisation in vivo drug response protocol. The in vivo study revealed that 13 (41%) of the patients had a sensitive response to treatment, five (16%) cleared asexual stage parasites but had persistent gametocytes, 11 (34%) had RI type resistance and three (9%) had RII type resistance requiring quinine intervention before day 7 for parasite clearance. Although clinically insignificant, patients with persistent gametocytes, surviving chloroquine and sulphadoxine/pyrimethamine treatment during maturation, were placed in the reduced response to treatment group for analysis. Allelic typing detected 100% prevalence of the pfcrt K76T marker associated with chloroquine resistance and 78% prevalence of the pfdhfr NRNL haplotype associated with sulphadoxine/pyrimethamine treatment failure. High serum chloroquine levels and pfdhfr haplotypes with
The blood filtration method was used as the gold standard to determine the detection level of simple blood-spot sampling and nested-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for Brugia malayi. Of 100 samples, 48 were filtration-positive. Of these, 26 had microfilaria counts that were low enough (<1-29 microfilariae/ml) to accurately assess the limit of detection by nested-PCR. Nested-PCR consistently detected B. malayi DNA in samples with > or = 10 microfilariae/ml. Post-filtration, microfilaria-depleted, blood-spots from microfilaria-positive samples were screened by nested-PCR and B. malayi specific 'free' DNA was detected in 51.7% of these samples. There was no evidence for 'free' DNA in microfilaria-negative individuals from this endemic community.
A study of about 500 expressed sequence tags (ESTs), derived from a merozoite cDNA library, was initiated as an approach to generate a larger pool of gene information on Eimeria tenella. Of the ESTs, 47.7% had matches with entries in the databases, including ribosomal proteins, metabolic enzymes and proteins with other functions, of which 14.3% represented previously known E. tenella genes. Thus over 50% of the ESTs had no significant database matches. The E. tenella EST dataset contained a range of highly abundant genes comparable with that found in the EST dataset of T. gondii and may thus reflect the importance of such molecules in the biology of the apicomplexan organisms. However, comparison of the two datasets revealed very few homologies between sequences of apical organelle molecules, and provides evidence for sequence divergence between these closely-related parasites. The data presented underpin the potential value of the EST strategy for the discovery of novel genes and may allow for a more rapid increase in the knowledge and understanding of gene expression in the merozoite life cycle stage of Eimeria spp.
In the absence of a suitable Brugia malayi antigen detection assay, PCR remains one of the more sensitive alternatives to Giemsa-stained thick blood films for B. malayi detection. The need for refrigerated storage and transportation of blood has limited the use of PCR for large-scale epidemiology studies in remote endemic areas. Here we report simple finger-prick blood-spot collection, a one-tube DNA template extraction method and the development of a B. malayi-specific nested PCR assay. The assay was tested on 145 field samples and was positive for all 30 microscopy-positive samples and for an additional 13 samples which were microscopy-negative.
For hepatic schistosomiasis the egg-induced granulomatous response and the development of extensive fibrosis are the main pathologies. We used a Schistosoma japonicum-infected mouse model to characterise the multi-cellular pathways associated with the recovery from hepatic fibrosis following clearance of the infection with the anti-schistosomal drug, praziquantel. In the recovering liver splenomegaly, granuloma density and liver fibrosis were all reduced. Inflammatory cell infiltration into the liver was evident, and the numbers of neutrophils, eosinophils and macrophages were significantly decreased. Transcriptomic analysis revealed the up-regulation of fatty acid metabolism genes and the identification of Peroxisome proliferator activated receptor alpha as the upstream regulator of liver recovery. The aryl hydrocarbon receptor signalling pathway which regulates xenobiotic metabolism was also differentially up-regulated. These findings provide a better understanding of the mechanisms associated with the regression of hepatic schistosomiasis.
The diversity of monogeneans from Southeast Asia was examined using information from the literature to show their diversity at different taxonomic (subclass, family, genera, species) levels. Knowledge of monogeneans is still incomplete in Southeast Asia and the present numbers of monogeneans are likely an underestimate of what is present on/in aquatic organisms in the region, since so few hosts have been examined. An estimate of the possible numbers of monogeneans that could be present on/in fishes and turtles in Peninsular Malaysia indicates that only 8% of the monogeneans are presently known. Analysis of the available data on monogenean diversity (or species richness) at different taxonomic levels will provide useful information on their distribution patterns. There is an uneven distribution of investigations on this topic and Malayan fauna is considered to be representative of the Southeast Asian fauna. Southeast Asian (Sundaland) monogeneans are related (at the generic level) to the monogenean fauna of South China, India and Africa.
The nucleotide sequences of the second internal transcribed spacer of rDNA were determined for adult worms of Necator americanus originating from Togo (Africa) and Sarawak (Malaysia). The length of the sequences of specimens from Togo (325 bp) were shorter than those from Sarawak (327 bp). There were six fixed genetic differences in the aligned sequences of N. americanus from Sarawak and Togo, excluding one or two polymorphic sites within the sequence of N. americanus from each geographical region. These findings suggest that there is either population variation in the sequence of N. americanus, or that N. americanus from the two countries may represent genetically distinct but morphologically similar (i.e. cryptic) species, however, comparison of the sequence differences among other hookworm species supports the latter conclusion.
Malaria remains a disease of underdeveloped and remote regions of the world. The application of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology to malaria epidemiology has the potential for increasing our knowledge and understanding of this disease. In order to study malaria in all geographical locations it is important that specimen collection and DNA extraction for PCR be kept simple. Here we report a method for extracting DNA from dried blood spots on filter paper which is capable of detecting one Plasmodium falciparum and two Plasmodium vivax parasites/microliter of whole blood by nested PCR without compromising the simplicity of specimen collection or DNA extraction.
Partial nuclear 28S ribosomal RNA and mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene sequences (953 and 385 nucleotides, respectively) of one fish monogenean (outgroup) and six polystome monogeneans (four Polystomoides spp. from the oral cavities and urinary bladders of freshwater turtles in Australia and Malaya, two Neopolystoma spp. from the urinary bladder and conjunctival sac of a freshwater turtle in Australia) were used to examine the question of whether congeneric species infecting different sites in the same host species have speciated in that host by adapting to different sites, or whether species infecting a particular site in one host have given rise to species infecting the same site in different hosts. Results show unequivocally that congeneric species infecting the same site, even of host species belonging to different suborders and occurring on different continents, are more closely related than congeneric species infecting different sites of the same host species. This is interpreted as meaning that speciation has not occurred in one host. Morphological evolution of polystomes has been very slow: few differences between species and even genera have evolved over a period of at least 150 Myr, and this is matched by low substitution rates of nucleotides, and the ambiguous position of species of different genera, depending on whether COI or 28S rDNA sequences are used.
Mariculture in Southeast Asia began in the 1970s and expanded rapidly during the 1980s, with the commercial hatchery production of the seabass Lates calcarifer. Other important cultured species were Epinephelus coioides, Epinephelus malabaricus, Lutjanus johni, and Lutjanus argentimaculatus. Intensification in the polyculture of these species and the large-scale international movement of fingerlings or juveniles, as well as the rapid expansion and concentration of fish farms, have caused severe problems resulting from parasitic infections. Infections in maricultured fish are predominantly caused by monoxenous parasites, in particular the capsalid and diplectanid monogeneans. Heteroxenous blood parasites also successfully maintained transmission in the culture system despite their requirement for an intermediate host. Prophylactic chemical treatments helped to reduce parasitic infection but did not eliminate them and once introduced into the floating netcage culture system, these parasites managed to maintain their transmission successfully. Despite the current lack of information regarding the biology of many parasites affecting cultured marine fishes, it nevertheless is possible to develop methodologies to produce an integrated health management system specifically designed to the needs of the mariculture practiced in the Southeast Asian region. This system is important and should include a sequence of prophylaxes, adequate nutrition, sanitation, immunization and an effective system of marketing for farmed fishes.
Direct microscopy is widely used for the diagnosis of parasitic infections although it often requires an experienced microscopist for accurate diagnosis, is labour intensive and not very sensitive. In order to overcome some of these shortcomings, molecular or nucleic acid-based diagnostic methods for parasitic infections have been developed over the past 12 years. The parasites which have been studied with these techniques include the human Plasmodia, Leishmania, the trypanosomes, Toxoplasma gondii, Entamoeba histolytica, Giardia, Trichomonas vaginalis, Cryptosporidium parvum, Taenia, Echinococcus, Brugia malayi, Wuchereria bancrofti, Loa loa and Onchocerca volvulus. Early methods, which involved hybridisation of specific probes (radiolabelled and non-radiolabelled) to target deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), have been replaced by more sensitive polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based assays. Other methods, such as PCR-hybridisation assays, PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) assays and random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analysis have also proved valuable for epidemiological studies of parasites. The general principles and development of DNA-based methods for diagnosis and epidemiological studies will be described, with particular reference to malaria. These methods will probably not replace current methods for routine diagnosis of parasitic infections in developing countries where parasitic diseases are endemic, due to high costs. However, they will be extremely useful for genotyping parasite strains and vectors, and for accurate parasite detection in both humans and vectors during epidemiological studies.
Cruoricola lates are found throughout sea bass (Lates calcarifer), most commonly in the mesenteric blood vessels, kidney, pericardial vessels, and eye. Eggs of C. lates were predominantly found in the gills, ventricle, hepatopancreas, and kidneys, but only develop to miracidia regularly in the gills and heart. Single miracidia escaping appear to cause little damage, but groups induce an inflammatory response and haemorrhage. Endocardial macrophages encapsulate eggs trapped between trabeculae in the heart. The reaction to eggs in the kidneys, hepatopancreas and spleen consists of fibrocytic encapsulation. Infection at the levels observed in this study were insufficient to cause lethal pathological changes, but could result in reduced food conversion ratios or impaired immunological capacity.