Given that Campylobacter jejuni is recognized as the most common cause of bacterial gastroenteritis worldwide, recent findings showing comparable levels of Campylobacter concisus in patients with gastroenteritis would suggest that this bacterium is clinically important. The prevalence and abundance of Campylobacter concisus in stool samples collected from patients with acute gastroenteritis was examined using quantitative real-time PCR. The associated virulence determinants exotoxin 9 and zonula occludens toxin DNA were detected for Campylobacter concisus-infected samples using real-time PCR. Campylobacter concisus was detected at high prevalence in patients with gastroenteritis (49.7 %), higher than that observed for Campylobacter jejuni (∼5 %). The levels of Campylobacter concisus were putatively classified into clinically relevant and potentially transient subgroups based on a threshold developed using Campylobacter jejuni levels, as the highly sensitive real-time PCR probably detected transient passage of the bacterium from the oral cavity. A total of 18 % of patients were found to have clinically relevant levels of Campylobacter concisus, a significant number of which also had high levels of one of the virulence determinants. Of these patients, 78 % were found to have no other gastrointestinal pathogen identified in the stool, which strongly suggests a role for Campylobacter concisus in the aetiology of gastroenteritis in these patients. These results emphasize the need for diagnostic laboratories to employ identification protocols for emerging Campylobacter species. Clinical follow-up in patients presenting with high levels of Campylobacter concisus in the intestinal tract is needed, given that it has been associated with more chronic sequelae.
This study investigated 147 multidrug-resistant Enterobacteriaceae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates from hospitalized patients in Malaysia. Class 1 integrons were the most dominant class identified (45.6%). Three isolates were shown to contain class 2 integrons (2.0%), whilst one isolate harboured both class 1 and 2 integrons. No class 3 integrons were detected in this study. In addition, the sul1 gene was amplified in 35% of isolates and was significantly associated with the presence of integrase genes in an integron structure. RFLP and DNA sequencing analyses revealed the presence of 19 different cassette arrays among the detected integrons. The most common gene cassettes were those encoding resistance towards aminoglycosides (aad) and trimethoprim (dfr). As far as is known, this study is the first to identify integron-carrying cassette arrays such as aadA2-linF, aacC3-cmlA5 and aacA4-catB8-aadA1 in the Malaysian population. Patients' age was demonstrated as a significant risk factor for the acquisition of integrons (P=0.028). Epidemiological typing using PFGE also demonstrated a clonal relationship among isolates carrying identical gene cassettes in Klebsiella pneumoniae and P. aeruginosa but not in Escherichia coli isolates.
Entamoeba histolytica is the only Entamoeba species that causes amoebiasis in humans. Approximately 50 million people are infected, with 100, 000 deaths annually in endemic countries. Molecular diagnosis of Entamoeba histolytica is important to differentiate it from the morphologically identical Entamoeba dispar to avoid unnecessary medication. Conventional molecular diagnostic tests require trained personnel, cold-chain transportation and/or are storage-dependent, which make them user-unfriendly. The aim of this study was to develop a thermostabilized, one-step, nested, tetraplex PCR assay for the detection of Entamoeba histolytica, Entamoeba dispar and Entamoeba species in cold-chain-free and ready-to-use form. The PCR test was designed based on the Entamoeba small subunit rRNA (SSU-rRNA) gene, which detects the presence of any Entamoeba species, and simultaneously can be used to differentiate Entamoeba histolytica from Entamoeba dispar. In addition, a pair of primers was designed to serve as an internal amplification control to help identify inhibitors in the samples. All PCR reagents together with the designed primers were thermostabilized by lyophilization and were stable at 24 °C for at least 6 months. The limit of detection of the tetraplex PCR was found to be 39 pg DNA or 1000 cells for Entamoeba histolytica and 78 pg DNA or 1000 cells for Entamoeba dispar, and the specificity was 100 %. In conclusion, this cold-chain-free, thermostabilized, one-step, nested, multiplex PCR assay was found to be efficacious in differentiating Entamoeba histolytica from other non-pathogenic Entamoeba species.
In this study, six clinical isolates (two from blood, two from urine and one each from a bronchoalveolar lavage and a vaginal swab) were identified as Candida rugosa based on carbohydrate assimilation profiles using API 20C AUX and ID32 C kits (bioMérieux). Sequence analysis of the D1/D2 domain of the yeasts differentiated the isolates into two subgroups, A and B (three isolates per subgroup), which were closely related (99.1-99.6 % nucleotide similarity) to C. rugosa strain ATCC 10571. Compared with the C. rugosa type strain, the intergenic transcribed spacer (ITS) nucleotide similarity for subgroup A was only 89.2 % (29 mismatches and one deletion) and for subgroup B was 93.7 % (20 mismatches). All isolates grew green colonies on Oxoid Chromogenic Candida Agar, with darker pigmentation observed for subgroup A. All isolates were able to grow at 25-42 °C but not at 45 °C. The isolates had identical enzymic profiles, as determined by API ZYM (bioMérieux) analysis, and produced proteinase. High amphotericin MICs (≥1 µg ml(-1)) were noted for two isolates from each subgroup. Dose-dependent susceptibility to fluconazole (MIC 32 µg ml(-1)) was noted in a blood isolate. The biofilms of the isolates demonstrated increased resistance to amphotericin and fluconazole. The greater ITS sequence variability of subgroup A isolates is in support of this yeast being recognized as a distinct species; however, further verification using more sophisticated molecular approaches is required. A sequence comparison study suggested the association of subgroup A with environmental sources and subgroup B with clinical sources. Accurate identification and antifungal susceptibility testing of C. rugosa are important in view of its decreased susceptibility to amphotericin and fluconazole. The ITS region has been shown to be a valuable region for differentiation of closely related subgroups of C. rugosa.
In this study, 90 non-replicate imipenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa (IRPA) Malaysian isolates collected between October 2005 and March 2008 were subjected to a screening test for detection of the integron and the gene cassette. Class 1 integrons were detected in 54 IRPA clinical isolates, whilst three isolates contained class 2 integrons. Analysis of the gene cassettes associated with the class 1 integrons showed the detection of accC1 in isolates carrying bla(IMP-7) and aacA7 in isolates carrying bla(VIM-2). aadA6 was detected in two isolates carrying bla(IMP-4). Using random amplification of polymorphic DNA analysis, 14 PCR fingerprint patterns were generated from the 32 isolates carrying metallo-β-lactamase (MBL) genes (35.5 %), whilst 20 patterns were generated from the 58 non-MBL gene isolates (64.4 %). Based on the differences in the fingerprinting patterns, two clusters (A and B) were identified among the MBL-producing isolates. Cluster A comprised 18 isolates (56 %) carrying the bla(VIM) gene, whereas cluster B comprised 14 (44 %) isolates carrying the bla(IMP) gene. The non-MBL isolates were divided into clusters C and D. Cluster C comprised 22 non-MBL isolates harbouring class 1 integrons, whilst cluster D consisted of three isolates carrying class 2 integrons. These findings suggest that the class 1 integron is widespread among P. aeruginosa isolated in Malaysia and that characterization of cassette arrays of integrons will be a useful epidemiological tool to study the evolution of multidrug resistance and the dissemination of antibiotic resistance genes.
Vibrio cholerae has caused severe outbreaks of cholera worldwide with thousands of recorded deaths annually. Molecular diagnosis for cholera has become increasingly important for rapid detection of cholera as the conventional methods are time-consuming and labour intensive. However, traditional PCR tests still require cold-chain transportation and storage as well as trained personnel to perform, which makes them user-unfriendly. The aim of this study was to develop a thermostabilized triplex PCR test for cholera which is in a ready-to-use form and requires no cold chain. The PCR test specifically detects both toxigenic and non-toxigenic strains of V. cholerae based on the cholera toxin A (ctxA) and outer-membrane lipoprotein (lolB) genes. The thermostabilized triplex PCR also incorporates an internal amplification control that helps to check for PCR inhibitors in samples. PCR reagents and the specific primers were lyophilized into a pellet form in the presence of trehalose, which acts as an enzyme stabilizer. The triplex PCR was validated with 174 bacteria-spiked stool specimens and was found to be 100 % sensitive and specific. The stability of the thermostabilized PCR was evaluated using the Q10 method and it was found to be stable for approximately 7 months at 24 °C. The limit of detection of the thermostabilized triplex PCR assay was 2×10(4) c.f.u. at the bacterial cell level and 100 pg DNA at the genomic DNA level, comparable to conventional PCR methods. In conclusion, a rapid thermostabilized triplex PCR assay was developed for detecting toxigenic and non-toxigenic V. cholerae which requires minimal pipetting steps and is cold chain-free.
The in vitro antifungal susceptibilities of 159 clinical isolates of Candida species from patients with invasive candidiasis in Kuala Lumpur Hospital, Malaysia, were determined against amphotericin B, fluconazole, voriconazole, itraconazole and caspofungin. The most common species were Candida albicans (71 isolates), Candida parapsilosis (42 isolates), Candida tropicalis (27 isolates) and Candida glabrata (12 isolates). The susceptibility tests were carried out using an E-test. The MIC breakpoints were based on Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute criteria. Amphotericin B and voriconazole showed the best activities against all the isolates tested, with MIC(90) values of ≤1 µg ml(-1) for all major species. Only one Candida lusitaniae isolate was resistant to amphotericin B, and all the isolates were susceptible to voriconazole. In total, six isolates were resistant to fluconazole, comprising two isolates of C. albicans, two of C. parapsilosis, one C. tropicalis and one C. glabrata, and all of these isolates showed cross-resistance to itraconazole. The MIC(90) of itraconazole was highest for C. glabrata and C. parapsilosis. Caspofungin was active against most of the isolates except for five isolates of C. parapsilosis. The MIC(90) of caspofungin against C. parapsilosis was 3 µg ml(-1). In conclusion, amphotericin B remains the most active antifungal agent against most Candida species except for C. lusitaniae. Voriconazole is the best alternative for fluconazole- or itraconizole-resistant isolates. Although five of the C. parapsilosis isolates showed in vitro resistance to caspofungin, more clinical correlation studies need to be carried out to confirm the significance of these findings. Currently, despite the increase in usage of antifungals in our hospitals, especially in the management of febrile neutropenia patients, the antifungal-resistance problem among clinically important Candida isolates in Kuala Lumpur Hospital is not yet worrying. However, continued antifungal-susceptibility surveillance needs to be conducted to monitor the antifungal-susceptibility trends of Candida species and other opportunistic fungal pathogens.
A multiplex PCR assay was developed for the identification of major types and subtypes of staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) in meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains. The method uses a novel 9 valent multiplex PCR plus two primer pairs for S. aureus identification and detection of meticillin resistance. All 389 clinical MRSA isolates from Malaysia and 18 European isolates from the Harmony collection harbouring different SCCmec types that we tested were correctly characterized by our PCR assay. SCCmec type III and V were by far the most common types among both hospital- and community-acquired Malaysian MRSA isolates, with an apparent emergence of MRSA harbouring the IVh type.
In this study, PCR-RFLP analysis (PRA) targeting hsp65 and rpoB gene regions was evaluated for the identification of mycobacterial species isolated from Malaysian patients. Overall, the hsp65 PRA identified 92.2 % of 90 isolates compared to 85.6 % by the rpoB PRA. With 47 rapidly growing species, the hsp65 PRA identified fewer (89.4 %) species than the rpoB PRA (95.7 %), but with 23 slow-growing species the reverse was true (91.3 % identification by the hsp65 PRA but only 52.5 % by the rpoB PRA). There were 16 isolates with discordant PRA results, which were resolved by 16S rRNA and hsp65 gene sequence analysis. The findings in this study suggest that the hsp65 PRA is more useful than the rpoB PRA for the identification of Mycobacterium species, particularly with the slow-growing members of the genus. In addition, this study reports 5 and 12 novel restriction patterns for inclusion in the hsp65 and rpoB PRA algorithms, respectively.
Community-acquired meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) occurring among hospital isolates in Malaysia has not been reported previously. As CA-MRSA reported worldwide has been shown to carry SCCmec types IV and V, the aim of this study was to determine the SCCmec types of MRSA strains collected in Malaysia from November 2006 to June 2008. From a total of 628 MRSA isolates, 20 were SCCmec type IV, whilst the rest were type III. Further characterization of SCCmec type IV strains revealed 11 sequence types (STs), including ST22, with the majority being ST30/Panton-Valentine leukocidin positive. Eight out of nine CA-MRSA were ST30, one was ST80, and all were sensitive to co-trimoxazole and gentamicin. Five new STs designated ST1284, ST1285, ST1286, ST1287 and ST1288 were discovered, suggesting the emergence of novel clones of MRSA circulating in Malaysian hospitals. The discovery of the ST22 strain is a cause for concern because of its ability to replace existing predominant clones in certain geographical regions.
The emergence of multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae poses a serious antibiotic management problem as resistance genes are easily transferred from one organism to another. Fifty-one strains of K. pneumoniae isolated from sporadic cases in various hospitals throughout Malaysia were analysed by antimicrobial susceptibility testing, PCR detection of ESBL-encoding genes and DNA fingerprinting. Although 27 of the 51 K. pneumoniae strains were MDR (i.e. resistant to three or more classes of antibiotics), the majority of the strains (98 %) were sensitive to imipenem. PCR detection using ESBL gene-specific primers showed that 46 of the K. pneumoniae strains harboured bla(SHV), 19 harboured bla(CTX-M), 5 harboured bla(OXA-1) and 4 harboured bla(TEM-1). Class 1 integron-encoded intI1 integrase was detected in 21 of the 51 K. pneumoniae strains and amplification of the integron 5'CS region showed the presence of several known antibiotic resistance gene cassettes of various sizes. Results of conjugation and transformation experiments indicated that some of the ESBL-encoding genes (i.e. bla(SHV), bla(CTX-M) and bla(TEM-1)) were transmissible and were likely plasmid-encoded. DNA fingerprinting using PFGE and PCR-based methods indicated that the 51 K. pneumoniae strains were genetically diverse and heterogeneous.
The genetic heterogeneity and antifungal susceptibility patterns of Candida parapsilosis isolated from blood cultures of patients were investigated in this study. Randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analysis generated 5 unique profiles from 42 isolates. Based on the major DNA fragments of the RAPD profiles, the isolates were identified as RAPD type P1 (29 isolates), P2 (6 isolates), P3 (4 isolates), P4 (2 isolates) and P5 (1 isolate). Sequence analysis of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) gene of the isolates identified RAPD type P1 as C. parapsilosis, P2 and P3 as Candida orthopsilosis, P4 as Candida metapsilosis, and P5 as Lodderomyces elongisporus. Nucleotide variations in ITS gene sequences of C. orthopsilosis and C. metapsilosis were detected. Antifungal susceptibility testing using Etests showed that all isolates tested in this study were susceptible to amphotericin B, fluconazole, ketoconazole, itraconazole and voriconazole. C. parapsilosis isolates exhibited higher MIC(50) values than those of C. orthopsilosis for all of the drugs tested in this study; however, no significant difference in the MICs for these two Candida species was observed. The fact that C. orthopsilosis and C. metapsilosis were responsible for 23.8 and 4.8 % of the cases attributed to C. parapsilosis bloodstream infections, respectively, indicates the clinical relevance of these newly described yeasts. Further investigations of the ecological niche, mode of transmission and virulence of these species are thus essential.
A 17-year-old man with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia had fever and diarrhoea during a febrile neutropenic episode. A spiral-shaped, Gram-negative anaerobic bacterium was isolated from blood, and confirmed as Anaerobiospirillum succiniciproducens by 16S rRNA sequencing. The patient responded to imipenem.
The incidence of candidaemia among immunocompromised patients in Malaysia is increasing at an alarming rate. Isolation of clinical strains that are resistant to fluconazole has also risen markedly. We report here the repeated isolation of Candida tropicalis from the blood of a neonatal patient with Hirschsprung's disease. In vitro fluconazole susceptibility tests of the eight isolates obtained at different time points showed that seven of the isolates were resistant and one isolate was scored as susceptible dose-dependent. Random amplification of polymorphic DNA fingerprinting of the isolates using three primers and subsequent phylogenetic analysis revealed that these isolates were highly similar strains having minor genetic divergence, with a mean pairwise similarity coefficient of 0.893+/-0.041. The source of the infectious agent was thought to be the central venous catheter, as culture of its tip produced fluconazole-resistant C. tropicalis. This study demonstrates the utility of applying molecular epidemiology techniques to complement traditional mycological culture and drug susceptibility tests for accurate and appropriate management of recurrent candidaemia and highlights the need for newer antifungals that can combat the emergence of fluconazole-resistant C. tropicalis strains.