Displaying publications 1 - 20 of 129 in total

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  1. Clayton BA, Middleton D, Arkinstall R, Frazer L, Wang LF, Marsh GA
    PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 2016 06;10(6):e0004775.
    PMID: 27341030 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0004775
    Person-to-person transmission is a key feature of human Nipah virus outbreaks in Bangladesh. In contrast, in an outbreak of Nipah virus in Malaysia, people acquired infections from pigs. It is not known whether this important epidemiological difference is driven primarily by differences between NiV Bangladesh (NiV-BD) and Malaysia (NiV-MY) at a virus level, or by environmental or host factors. In a time course study, ferrets were oronasally exposed to equivalent doses of NiV-BD or NiV-MY. More rapid onset of productive infection and higher levels of virus replication in respiratory tract tissues were seen for NiV-BD compared to NiV-MY, corroborating our previous report of increased oral shedding of NiV-BD in ferrets and suggesting a contributory mechanism for increased NiV-BD transmission between people compared to NiV-MY. However, we recognize that transmission occurs within a social and environmental framework that may have an important and differentiating role in NiV transmission rates. With this in mind, ferret-to-ferret transmission of NiV-BD and NiV-MY was assessed under differing viral exposure conditions. Transmission was not identified for either virus when naïve ferrets were cohoused with experimentally-infected animals. In contrast, all naïve ferrets developed acute infection following assisted and direct exposure to oronasal fluid from animals that were shedding either NiV-BD or NiV-MY. Our findings for ferrets indicate that, although NiV-BD may be shed at higher levels than NiV-MY, transmission risk may be equivalently low under exposure conditions provided by cohabitation alone. In contrast, active transfer of infected bodily fluids consistently results in transmission, regardless of the virus strain. These observations suggest that the risk of NiV transmission is underpinned by social and environmental factors, and will have practical implications for managing transmission risk during outbreaks of human disease.
  2. Shepard DS, Undurraga EA, Betancourt-Cravioto M, Guzmán MG, Halstead SB, Harris E, et al.
    PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 2014 Nov;8(11):e3306.
    PMID: 25412506 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0003306
    Dengue presents a formidable and growing global economic and disease burden, with around half the world's population estimated to be at risk of infection. There is wide variation and substantial uncertainty in current estimates of dengue disease burden and, consequently, on economic burden estimates. Dengue disease varies across time, geography and persons affected. Variations in the transmission of four different viruses and interactions among vector density and host's immune status, age, pre-existing medical conditions, all contribute to the disease's complexity. This systematic review aims to identify and examine estimates of dengue disease burden and costs, discuss major sources of uncertainty, and suggest next steps to improve estimates. Economic analysis of dengue is mainly concerned with costs of illness, particularly in estimating total episodes of symptomatic dengue. However, national dengue disease reporting systems show a great diversity in design and implementation, hindering accurate global estimates of dengue episodes and country comparisons. A combination of immediate, short-, and long-term strategies could substantially improve estimates of disease and, consequently, of economic burden of dengue. Suggestions for immediate implementation include refining analysis of currently available data to adjust reported episodes and expanding data collection in empirical studies, such as documenting the number of ambulatory visits before and after hospitalization and including breakdowns by age. Short-term recommendations include merging multiple data sources, such as cohort and surveillance data to evaluate the accuracy of reporting rates (by health sector, treatment, severity, etc.), and using covariates to extrapolate dengue incidence to locations with no or limited reporting. Long-term efforts aim at strengthening capacity to document dengue transmission using serological methods to systematically analyze and relate to epidemiologic data. As promising tools for diagnosis, vaccination, vector control, and treatment are being developed, these recommended steps should improve objective, systematic measures of dengue burden to strengthen health policy decisions.
  3. Chowdhury S, Khan SU, Crameri G, Epstein JH, Broder CC, Islam A, et al.
    PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 2014 Nov;8(11):e3302.
    PMID: 25412358 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0003302
    BACKGROUND: Nipah virus (NiV) is an emerging disease that causes severe encephalitis and respiratory illness in humans. Pigs were identified as an intermediate host for NiV transmission in Malaysia. In Bangladesh, NiV has caused recognized human outbreaks since 2001 and three outbreak investigations identified an epidemiological association between close contact with sick or dead animals and human illness.

    METHODOLOGY: We examined cattle and goats reared around Pteropus bat roosts in human NiV outbreak areas. We also tested pig sera collected under another study focused on Japanese encephalitis.

    PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We detected antibodies against NiV glycoprotein in 26 (6.5%) cattle, 17 (4.3%) goats and 138 (44.2%) pigs by a Luminex-based multiplexed microsphere assay; however, these antibodies did not neutralize NiV. Cattle and goats with NiVsG antibodies were more likely to have a history of feeding on fruits partially eaten by bats or birds (PR=3.1, 95% CI 1.6-5.7) and drinking palmyra palm juice (PR=3.9, 95% CI 1.5-10.2).

    CONCLUSIONS: This difference in test results may be due to the exposure of animals to one or more novel viruses with antigenic similarity to NiV. Further research may identify a novel organism of public health importance.

  4. Mohd-Zaki AH, Brett J, Ismail E, L'Azou M
    PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 2014;8(11):e3159.
    PMID: 25375211 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0003159
    A literature survey and analysis was conducted to describe the epidemiology of dengue disease in Malaysia between 2000 and 2012. Published literature was searched for epidemiological studies of dengue disease, using specific search strategies for each electronic database; 237 relevant data sources were identified, 28 of which fulfilled the inclusion criteria. The epidemiology of dengue disease in Malaysia was characterized by a non-linear increase in the number of reported cases from 7,103 in 2000 to 46,171 in 2010, and a shift in the age range predominance from children toward adults. The overall increase in dengue disease was accompanied by a rise in the number, but not the proportion, of severe cases. The dominant circulating dengue virus serotypes changed continually over the decade and differed between states. Several gaps in epidemiological knowledge were identified; in particular, studies of regional differences, age-stratified seroprevalence, and hospital admissions.

    PROTOCOL REGISTRATION: PROSPERO #CRD42012002293.

  5. Hossain MM, Mani KK, Islam MR
    PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 2015 Mar;9(3):e0003616.
    PMID: 25747178 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0003616
    BACKGROUND: The number of child deaths is a potential indicator to assess the health condition of a country, and represents a major health challenge in Bangladesh. Although the country has performed exceptionally well in decreasing the mortality rate among children under five over the last few decades, mortality still remains relatively high. The main objective of this study is to identify the prevalence and determinants of the risk factors of child mortality in Bangladesh.

    METHODS: The data were based on a cross-sectional study collected from the Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS), 2011. The women participants numbered 16,025 from seven divisions of Bangladesh - Rajshahi, Dhaka, Chittagong, Barisal, Khulna, Rangpur and Sylhet. The 𝟀2 test and logistic regression model were applied to determine the prevalence and factors associated with child deaths in Bangladesh.

    RESULTS: In 2011, the prevalence of child deaths in Bangladesh for boys and girls was 13.0% and 11.6%, respectively. The results showed that birth interval and birth order were the most important factors associated with child death risks; mothers' education and socioeconomic status were also significant (males and females). The results also indicated that a higher birth order (7 & more) of child (OR=21.421 & 95%CI=16.879-27.186) with a short birth interval ≤ 2 years was more risky for child mortality, and lower birth order with longer birth interval >2 were significantly associated with child deaths. Other risk factors that affected child deaths in Bangladesh included young mothers of less than 25 years (mothers' median age (26-36 years): OR=0.670, 95%CI=0.551-0.815), women without education compared to those with secondary and higher education (OR =0 .711 & .628, 95%CI=0.606-0.833 & 0.437-0.903), mothers who perceived their child body size to be larger than average and small size (OR= 1.525 & 1.068, 95%CI=1.221-1.905 & 0.913-1.249), and mothers who delivered their child by non-caesarean (OR= 1.687, 95%CI=1.253-2.272).

    CONCLUSION: Community-based educational programs or awareness programs are required to reduce the child death in Bangladesh, especially for younger women should be increase the birth interval and decrease the birth order. The government should apply the strategies to enhance the socioeconomic conditions, especially in rural areas, increase the awareness program through media and expand schooling, particularly for girls.

  6. Hunsperger EA, Yoksan S, Buchy P, Nguyen VC, Sekaran SD, Enria DA, et al.
    PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 2014 Oct;8(10):e3171.
    PMID: 25330157 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0003171
    Commercially available diagnostic test kits for detection of dengue virus (DENV) non-structural protein 1 (NS1) and anti-DENV IgM were evaluated for their sensitivity and specificity and other performance characteristics by a diagnostic laboratory network developed by World Health Organization (WHO), the UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) and the Pediatric Dengue Vaccine Initiative (PDVI). Each network laboratory contributed characterized serum specimens for the panels used in the evaluation. Microplate enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and rapid diagnostic test (RDT formats) were represented by the kits. Each ELISA was evaluated by 2 laboratories and RDTs were evaluated by at least 3 laboratories. The reference tests for IgM anti-DENV were laboratory developed assays produced by the Armed Forces Research Institute for Medical Science (AFRIMS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the NS1 reference test was reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Results were analyzed to determine sensitivity, specificity, inter-laboratory and inter-reader agreement, lot-to-lot variation and ease-of-use. NS1 ELISA sensitivity was 60-75% and specificity 71-80%; NS1 RDT sensitivity was 38-71% and specificity 76-80%; the IgM anti-DENV RDTs sensitivity was 30-96%, with a specificity of 86-92%, and IgM anti-DENV ELISA sensitivity was 96-98% and specificity 78-91%. NS1 tests were generally more sensitive in specimens from the acute phase of dengue and in primary DENV infection, whereas IgM anti-DENV tests were less sensitive in secondary DENV infections. The reproducibility of the NS1 RDTs ranged from 92-99% and the IgM anti-DENV RDTs from 88-94%.
  7. Bray DP, Yaman K, Underhilll BA, Mitchell F, Carter V, Hamilton JG
    PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 2014 Dec;8(12):e3316.
    PMID: 25474027 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0003316
    BACKGROUND: The sand fly Phlebotomus argentipes is arguably the most important vector of leishmaniasis worldwide. As there is no vaccine against the parasites that cause leishmaniasis, disease prevention focuses on control of the insect vector. Understanding reproductive behaviour will be essential to controlling populations of P. argentipes, and developing new strategies for reducing leishmaniasis transmission. Through statistical analysis of male-female interactions, this study provides a detailed description of P. argentipes courtship, and behaviours critical to mating success are highlighted. The potential for a role of cuticular hydrocarbons in P. argentipes courtship is also investigated, by comparing chemicals extracted from the surface of male and female flies.

    PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: P. argentipes courtship shared many similarities with that of both Phlebotomus papatasi and the New World leishmaniasis vector Lutzomyia longipalpis. Male wing-flapping while approaching the female during courtship predicted mating success, and touching between males and females was a common and frequent occurrence. Both sexes were able to reject a potential partner. Significant differences were found in the profile of chemicals extracted from the surface of males and females. Results of GC analysis indicate that female extracts contained a number of peaks with relatively short retention times not present in males. Extracts from males had higher peaks for chemicals with relatively long retention times.

    CONCLUSIONS: The importance of male approach flapping suggests that production of audio signals through wing beating, or dispersal of sex pheromones, are important to mating in this species. Frequent touching as a means of communication, and the differences in the chemical profiles extracted from males and females, may also indicate a role for cuticular hydrocarbons in P. argentipes courtship. Comparing characteristics of successful and unsuccessful mates could aid in identifying the modality of signals involved in P. argentipes courtship, and their potential for use in developing new strategies for vector control.

  8. Al-Delaimy AK, Al-Mekhlafi HM, Nasr NA, Sady H, Atroosh WM, Nashiry M, et al.
    PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 2014 Aug;8(8):e3074.
    PMID: 25144662 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0003074
    This cross-sectional study aimed to investigate the current prevalence and risk factors associated with intestinal polyparasitism (the concurrent infection with multiple intestinal parasite species) among Orang Asli school children in the Lipis district of Pahang state, Malaysia.
  9. Ahmed AM, Pinheiro MM, Divis PC, Siner A, Zainudin R, Wong IT, et al.
    PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 2014 Aug;8(8):e3086.
    PMID: 25121807 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0003086
    Emerging pathogens undermine initiatives to control the global health impact of infectious diseases. Zoonotic malaria is no exception. Plasmodium knowlesi, a malaria parasite of Southeast Asian macaques, has entered the human population. P. knowlesi, like Plasmodium falciparum, can reach high parasitaemia in human infections, and the World Health Organization guidelines for severe malaria list hyperparasitaemia among the measures of severe malaria in both infections. Not all patients with P. knowlesi infections develop hyperparasitaemia, and it is important to determine why. Between isolate variability in erythrocyte invasion, efficiency seems key. Here we investigate the idea that particular alleles of two P. knowlesi erythrocyte invasion genes, P. knowlesi normocyte binding protein Pknbpxa and Pknbpxb, influence parasitaemia and human disease progression. Pknbpxa and Pknbpxb reference DNA sequences were generated from five geographically and temporally distinct P. knowlesi patient isolates. Polymorphic regions of each gene (approximately 800 bp) were identified by haplotyping 147 patient isolates at each locus. Parasitaemia in the study cohort was associated with markers of disease severity including liver and renal dysfunction, haemoglobin, platelets and lactate, (r = ≥ 0.34, p =  <0.0001 for all). Seventy-five and 51 Pknbpxa and Pknbpxb haplotypes were resolved in 138 (94%) and 134 (92%) patient isolates respectively. The haplotypes formed twelve Pknbpxa and two Pknbpxb allelic groups. Patients infected with parasites with particular Pknbpxa and Pknbpxb alleles within the groups had significantly higher parasitaemia and other markers of disease severity. Our study strongly suggests that P. knowlesi invasion gene variants contribute to parasite virulence. We focused on two invasion genes, and we anticipate that additional virulent loci will be identified in pathogen genome-wide studies. The multiple sustained entries of this diverse pathogen into the human population must give cause for concern to malaria elimination strategists in the Southeast Asian region.
  10. Naing C, Whittaker MA, Nyunt Wai V, Mak JW
    PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 2014 Aug;8(8):e3071.
    PMID: 25121491 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0003071
    BACKGROUND: Plasmodium vivax is one of the major species of malaria infecting humans. Although emphasis on P. falciparum is appropriate, the burden of vivax malaria should be given due attention. This study aimed to synthesize the evidence on severe malaria in P. vivax infection compared with that in P. falciparum infection.
    METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We searched relevant studies in electronic databases. The main outcomes required for inclusion in the review were mortality, severe malaria (SM) and severe anaemia (SA). The methodological quality of the included studies was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. Overall, 26 studies were included. The main meta-analysis was restricted to the high quality studies. Eight studies (n = 27490) compared the incidence of SM between P. vivax infection and P. falciparum mono-infection; a comparable incidence was found in infants (OR: 0.45, 95% CI:0.04-5.68, I2:98%), under 5 year age group (OR: 2.06, 95% CI: 0.83-5.1, I2:83%), the 5-15 year-age group (OR: 0.6, 95% CI: 0.31-1.16, I2:81%) and adults (OR: 0.83, 95% CI: 0.67-1.03, I2:25%). Six studies reported the incidences of SA in P. vivax infection and P. falciparum mono-infection; a comparable incidence of SA was found among infants (OR: 3.47, 95%:0.64-18.94, I2: 92%), the 5-15 year-age group (OR:0.71, 95% CI: 0.06-8.57, I2:82%). This was significantly lower in adults (OR:0.75, 95% CI: 0.62-0.92, I2:0%). Five studies (n = 71079) compared the mortality rate between vivax malaria and falciparum malaria. A lower rate of mortality was found in infants with vivax malaria (OR:0.61, 95% CI:0.5-0.76, I2:0%), while this was comparable in the 5-15 year- age group (OR: 0.43, 95% CI:0.06-2.91, I2:84%) and the children of unspecified-age group (OR: 0.77, 95% CI:0.59-1.01, I2:0%).
    CONCLUSION: Overall, the present analysis identified that the incidence of SM in patients infected with P. vivax was considerable, indicating that P. vivax is a major cause of SM. Awareness of the clinical manifestations of vivax malaria should prompt early detection. Subsequent treatment and monitoring of complications can be life-saving.
  11. Imai N, White MT, Ghani AC, Drakeley CJ
    PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 2014 Jul;8(7):e2978.
    PMID: 25058400 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0002978
    INTRODUCTION: Plasmodium knowlesi is now recognised as a leading cause of malaria in Malaysia. As humans come into increasing contact with the reservoir host (long-tailed macaques) as a consequence of deforestation, assessing the potential for a shift from zoonotic to sustained P. knowlesi transmission between humans is critical.

    METHODS: A multi-host, multi-site transmission model was developed, taking into account the three areas (forest, farm, and village) where transmission is thought to occur. Latin hypercube sampling of model parameters was used to identify parameter sets consistent with possible prevalence in macaques and humans inferred from observed data. We then explore the consequences of increasing human-macaque contact in the farm, the likely impact of rapid treatment, and the use of long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLINs) in preventing wider spread of this emerging infection.

    RESULTS: Identified model parameters were consistent with transmission being sustained by the macaques with spill over infections into the human population and with high overall basic reproduction numbers (up to 2267). The extent to which macaques forage in the farms had a non-linear relationship with human infection prevalence, the highest prevalence occurring when macaques forage in the farms but return frequently to the forest where they experience higher contact with vectors and hence sustain transmission. Only one of 1,046 parameter sets was consistent with sustained human-to-human transmission in the absence of macaques, although with a low human reproduction number (R(0H) = 1.04). Simulations showed LLINs and rapid treatment provide personal protection to humans with maximal estimated reductions in human prevalence of 42% and 95%, respectively.

    CONCLUSION: This model simulates conditions where P. knowlesi transmission may occur and the potential impact of control measures. Predictions suggest that conventional control measures are sufficient at reducing the risk of infection in humans, but they must be actively implemented if P. knowlesi is to be controlled.

  12. Lee SC, Tang MS, Lim YA, Choy SH, Kurtz ZD, Cox LM, et al.
    PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 2014 May;8(5):e2880.
    PMID: 24851867 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0002880
    Soil-transmitted helminths colonize more than 1.5 billion people worldwide, yet little is known about how they interact with bacterial communities in the gut microbiota. Differences in the gut microbiota between individuals living in developed and developing countries may be partly due to the presence of helminths, since they predominantly infect individuals from developing countries, such as the indigenous communities in Malaysia we examine in this work. We compared the composition and diversity of bacterial communities from the fecal microbiota of 51 people from two villages in Malaysia, of which 36 (70.6%) were infected by helminths. The 16S rRNA V4 region was sequenced at an average of nineteen thousand sequences per samples. Helminth-colonized individuals had greater species richness and number of observed OTUs with enrichment of Paraprevotellaceae, especially with Trichuris infection. We developed a new approach of combining centered log-ratio (clr) transformation for OTU relative abundances with sparse Partial Least Squares Discriminant Analysis (sPLS-DA) to enable more robust predictions of OTU interrelationships. These results suggest that helminths may have an impact on the diversity, bacterial community structure and function of the gut microbiota.
  13. Italiano CM, Wong KT, AbuBakar S, Lau YL, Ramli N, Syed Omar SF, et al.
    PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 2014 May;8(5):e2876.
    PMID: 24854350 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0002876
    From the 17th to 19th January 2012, a group of 92 college students and teachers attended a retreat in a hotel located on Pangkor Island, off the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Following the onset of symptoms in many participants who presented to our institute, an investigation was undertaken which ultimately identified Sarcocystis nesbitti as the cause of this outbreak.
  14. Wong LP, AbuBakar S, Chinna K
    PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 2014 May;8(5):e2789.
    PMID: 24853259 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0002789
    Demographic, economic and behavioural factors are central features underpinning the successful management and biological control of dengue. This study aimed to examine these factors and their association with the seroprevalence of this disease.
  15. Moyes CL, Henry AJ, Golding N, Huang Z, Singh B, Baird JK, et al.
    PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 2014 Mar;8(3):e2780.
    PMID: 24676231 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0002780
    BACKGROUND: The simian malaria parasite, Plasmodium knowlesi, can cause severe and fatal disease in humans yet it is rarely included in routine public health reporting systems for malaria and its geographical range is largely unknown. Because malaria caused by P. knowlesi is a truly neglected tropical disease, there are substantial obstacles to defining the geographical extent and risk of this disease. Information is required on the occurrence of human cases in different locations, on which non-human primates host this parasite and on which vectors are able to transmit it to humans. We undertook a systematic review and ranked the existing evidence, at a subnational spatial scale, to investigate the potential geographical range of the parasite reservoir capable of infecting humans.

    METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: After reviewing the published literature we identified potential host and vector species and ranked these based on how informative they are for the presence of an infectious parasite reservoir, based on current evidence. We collated spatial data on parasite occurrence and the ranges of the identified host and vector species. The ranked spatial data allowed us to assign an evidence score to 475 subnational areas in 19 countries and we present the results on a map of the Southeast and South Asia region.

    CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: We have ranked subnational areas within the potential disease range according to evidence for presence of a disease risk to humans, providing geographical evidence to support decisions on prevention, management and prophylaxis. This work also highlights the unknown risk status of large parts of the region. Within this unknown category, our map identifies which areas have most evidence for the potential to support an infectious reservoir and are therefore a priority for further investigation. Furthermore we identify geographical areas where further investigation of putative host and vector species would be highly informative for the region-wide assessment.

  16. Al-Alimi AA, Ali SA, Al-Hassan FM, Idris FM, Teow SY, Mohd Yusoff N
    PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 2014 Mar;8(3):e2711.
    PMID: 24625456 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0002711
    Dengue virus is endemic in peninsular Malaysia. The clinical manifestations vary depending on the incubation period of the virus as well as the immunity of the patients. Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency is prevalent in Malaysia where the incidence is 3.2%. It has been noted that some G6PD-deficient individuals suffer from more severe clinical presentation of dengue infection. In this study, we aim to investigate the oxidative responses of DENV2-infected monocytes from G6PD-deficient individuals.
  17. Yap MK, Tan NH, Sim SM, Fung SY, Tan CH
    PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 2014 Jun;8(6):e2890.
    PMID: 24901441 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0002890
    BACKGROUND: The optimization of snakebite management and the use of antivenom depend greatly on the knowledge of the venom's composition as well as its pharmacokinetics. To date, however, pharmacokinetic reports on cobra venoms and their toxins are still relatively limited. In the present study, we investigated the pharmacokinetics of Naja sumatrana (Equatorial spitting cobra) venom and its major toxins (phospholipase A2, neurotoxin and cardiotoxin), following intravenous and intramuscular administration into rabbits.

    PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The serum antigen concentration-time profile of the N. sumatrana venom and its major toxins injected intravenously fitted a two-compartment model of pharmacokinetics. The systemic clearance (91.3 ml/h), terminal phase half-life (13.6 h) and systemic bioavailability (41.9%) of N. sumatrana venom injected intramuscularly were similar to those of N. sputatrix venom determined in an earlier study. The venom neurotoxin and cardiotoxin reached their peak concentrations within 30 min following intramuscular injection, relatively faster than the phospholipase A2 and whole venom (Tmax=2 h and 1 h, respectively). Rapid absorption of the neurotoxin and cardiotoxin from the injection site into systemic circulation indicates fast onsets of action of these principal toxins that are responsible for the early systemic manifestation of envenoming. The more prominent role of the neurotoxin in N. sumatrana systemic envenoming is further supported by its significantly higher intramuscular bioavailability (Fi.m.=81.5%) compared to that of the phospholipase A2 (Fi.m.=68.6%) or cardiotoxin (Fi.m.=45.6%). The incomplete absorption of the phospholipase A2 and cardiotoxin may infer the toxins' affinities for tissues at the injection site and their pathological roles in local tissue damages through synergistic interactions.

    CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: Our results suggest that the venom neurotoxin is absorbed very rapidly and has the highest bioavailability following intramuscular injection, supporting its role as the principal toxin in systemic envenoming.

  18. Supali T, Djuardi Y, Bradley M, Noordin R, Rückert P, Fischer PU
    PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 2013;7(12):e2586.
    PMID: 24349595 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0002586
    The lymphatic filarial parasite Brugia timori occurs only in eastern Indonesia where it causes high morbidity. The absence of an animal reservoir, the inefficient transmission by Anopheles mosquitoes and the high sensitivity to DEC/albendazole treatment make this species a prime candidate for elimination by mass drug administration (MDA).
  19. Isa A, Loke YK, Smith JR, Papageorgiou A, Hunter PR
    PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 2013;7(9):e2401.
    PMID: 24086777 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0002401
    BACKGROUND: Dengue fever is endemic in Malaysia, with frequent major outbreaks in urban areas. The major control strategy relies on health promotional campaigns aimed at encouraging people to reduce mosquito breeding sites close to people's homes. However, such campaigns have not always been 100% effective. The concept of self-efficacy is an area of increasing research interest in understanding how health promotion can be most effective. This paper reports on a study of the impact of self-efficacy on dengue knowledge and dengue preventive behaviour.

    METHODS AND FINDINGS: We recruited 280 adults from 27 post-outbreak villages in the state of Terengganu, east coast of Malaysia. Measures of health promotion and educational intervention activities and types of communication during outbreak, level of dengue knowledge, level and strength of self-efficacy and dengue preventive behaviour were obtained via face-to-face interviews and questionnaires. A structural equation model was tested and fitted the data well (χ(2) = 71.659, df = 40, p = 0.002, RMSEA = 0.053, CFI = 0.973, TLI = 0.963). Mass media, local contact and direct information-giving sessions significantly predicted level of knowledge of dengue. Level and strength of self-efficacy fully mediated the relationship between knowledge of dengue and dengue preventive behaviours. Strength of self-efficacy acted as partial mediator in the relationship between knowledge of dengue and dengue preventive behaviours.

    CONCLUSIONS: To control and prevent dengue outbreaks by behavioural measures, health promotion and educational interventions during outbreaks should now focus on those approaches that are most likely to increase the level and strength of self-efficacy.

  20. Impoinvil DE, Ooi MH, Diggle PJ, Caminade C, Cardosa MJ, Morse AP, et al.
    PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 2013;7(8):e2334.
    PMID: 23951373 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0002334
    BACKGROUND: Japanese encephalitis (JE) is the leading cause of viral encephalitis across Asia with approximately 70,000 cases a year and 10,000 to 15,000 deaths. Because JE incidence varies widely over time, partly due to inter-annual climate variability effects on mosquito vector abundance, it becomes more complex to assess the effects of a vaccination programme since more or less climatically favourable years could also contribute to a change in incidence post-vaccination. Therefore, the objective of this study was to quantify vaccination effect on confirmed Japanese encephalitis (JE) cases in Sarawak, Malaysia after controlling for climate variability to better understand temporal dynamics of JE virus transmission and control.

    METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Monthly data on serologically confirmed JE cases were acquired from Sibu Hospital in Sarawak from 1997 to 2006. JE vaccine coverage (non-vaccine years vs. vaccine years) and meteorological predictor variables, including temperature, rainfall and the Southern Oscillation index (SOI) were tested for their association with JE cases using Poisson time series analysis and controlling for seasonality and long-term trend. Over the 10-years surveillance period, 133 confirmed JE cases were identified. There was an estimated 61% reduction in JE risk after the introduction of vaccination, when no account is taken of the effects of climate. This reduction is only approximately 45% when the effects of inter-annual variability in climate are controlled for in the model. The Poisson model indicated that rainfall (lag 1-month), minimum temperature (lag 6-months) and SOI (lag 6-months) were positively associated with JE cases.

    CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This study provides the first improved estimate of JE reduction through vaccination by taking account of climate inter-annual variability. Our analysis confirms that vaccination has substantially reduced JE risk in Sarawak but this benefit may be overestimated if climate effects are ignored.

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