Human anisakiasis is a zoonosis acquired by eating raw or undercooked infected seafood. Herein, we report a case of acute dysentery caused by anisakiasis in a 64-year-old man in Malaysia. A colonoscopy was performed and a nematode larva was found penetrating the mucosa of the ascending colon. Bleeding was observed at the site of penetration. Y-shaped lateral epidermal cords were seen from the cross section of the worm, which is a prominent feature of Anisakis larva. Molecular analysis using polymerase chain reaction of cytochrome oxidase 2 (cox2) gene confirmed the specimen to be larva of Anisakis simplex.
Vertical transmission may contribute to the maintenance of arthropod-borne viruses, but its existence in chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is unclear. Experimental vertical transmission of infectious clones of CHIKV in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes from Malaysia was investigated. Eggs and adult progeny from the second gonotrophic cycles of infected parental mosquitoes were tested. Using polymerase chain reaction (PCR), 56.3% of pooled eggs and 10% of adult progeny had detectable CHIKV RNA, but no samples had detectable infectious virus by plaque assay. Transfected CHIKV RNA from PCR-positive eggs did not yield infectious virus in BHK-21 cells. Thus, vertical transmission of viable CHIKV was not demonstrated. Noninfectious CHIKV RNA persists in eggs and progeny of infected Ae. aegypti, but the mechanism and significance are unknown. There is insufficient evidence to conclude that vertical transmission exists in CHIKV, as positive results reported in previous studies were almost exclusively based only on viral RNA detection.
The lack of rapid, affordable, and accurate diagnostic tests represents the primary hurdle affecting malaria surveillance in resource- and expertise-limited areas. Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) is a sensitive, rapid, and cheap diagnostic method. Five species-specific LAMP assays were developed based on 18S rRNA gene. Sensitivity and specificity of LAMP results were calculated as compared with microscopic examination and nested polymerase chain reaction. LAMP reactions were highly sensitive with the detection limit of one copy for Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium falciparum, and Plasmodium malariae and 10 copies for Plasmodium knowlesi and Plasmodium ovale. LAMP positively detected all human malaria species in all positive samples (N = 134; sensitivity = 100%) within 35 minutes. All negative samples were not amplified by LAMP (N = 67; specificity = 100%). LAMP successfully detected two samples with very low parasitemia. LAMP may offer a rapid, simple, and reliable test for the diagnosis of malaria in areas where malaria is prevalent.
In this study, three molecular assays (real-time multiplex polymerase chain reaction [PCR], merozoite surface antigen gene [MSP]-multiplex PCR, and the PlasmoNex Multiplex PCR Kit) have been developed for diagnosis of Plasmodium species. In total, 52 microscopy-positive and 20 malaria-negative samples were used in this study. We found that real-time multiplex PCR was the most sensitive for detecting P. falciparum and P. knowlesi. The MSP-multiplex PCR assay and the PlasmoNex Multiplex PCR Kit were equally sensitive for diagnosing P. knowlesi infection, whereas the PlasmoNex Multiplex PCR Kit and real-time multiplex PCR showed similar sensitivity for detecting P. vivax. The three molecular assays displayed 100% specificity for detecting malaria samples. We observed no significant differences between MSP-multiplex PCR and the PlasmoNex multiplex PCR kit (McNemar's test: P = 0.1489). However, significant differences were observed comparing real-time multiplex PCR with the PlasmoNex Multiplex PCR Kit (McNemar's test: P = 0.0044) or real-time multiplex PCR with MSP-multiplex PCR (McNemar's test: P = 0.0012).
A molecular genotyping assay for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) circulating in Southeast Asia is difficult to design because of the high level of genetic diversity. We developed a multiplex real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay to detect subtype B, CRF01_AE, CRF33_01B, and three newly described circulating recombinant forms, (CRFs) (CRF53_01B, CRF54_01B, and CRF58_01B). A total of 785 reference genomes were used for subtype-specific primers and TaqMan probes design targeting the gag, pol, and env genes. The performance of this assay was compared and evaluated with direct sequencing and phylogenetic analysis. A total of 180 HIV-infected subjects from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia were screened and 171 samples were successfully genotyped, in agreement with the phylogenetic data. The HIV-1 genotype distribution was as follows: subtype B (16.7%); CRF01_AE (52.8%); CRF33_01B (24.4%); CRF53_01B (1.1%); CRF54_01B (0.6%); and CRF01_AE/B unique recombinant forms (4.4%). The overall accuracy of the genotyping assay was over 95.0%, in which the sensitivities for subtype B, CRF01_AE, and CRF33_01B detection were 100%, 100%, and 97.7%, respectively. The specificity of genotyping was 100%, inter-subtype specificities were > 95% and the limit of detection of 10(3) copies/mL for plasma. The newly developed real-time PCR assay offers a rapid and cost-effective alternative for large-scale molecular epidemiological surveillance for HIV-1.
The predictors of severe disease or death were determined for 85 melioidosis patients in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Most of the patients were male, > 40 years old, and diabetic. Severe disease or death occurred in 28 (32.9%) cases. Lower lymphocyte counts and positive blood cultures were significant independent predictors of severe disease, but age, presentations with pneumonia, inappropriate empirical antibiotics, or flagellin types of the infecting isolates were not. Knowledge of local predictors of severe disease is useful for clinical management.
The 1997 and 2009 WHO dengue case classifications were compared in a systematic review with 12 eligible studies (4 prospective). Ten expert opinion articles were used for discussion. For the 2009 WHO classification studies show: when determining severe dengue sensitivity ranges between 59-98% (88%/98%: prospective studies), specificity between 41-99% (99%: prospective study) - comparing the 1997 WHO classification: sensitivity 24.8-89.9% (24.8%/74%: prospective studies), specificity: 25%/100% (100%: prospective study). The application of the 2009 WHO classification is easy, however for (non-severe) dengue there may be a risk of monitoring increased case numbers. Warning signs validation studies are needed. For epidemiological/pathogenesis research use of the 2009 WHO classification, opinion papers show that ease of application, increased sensitivity (severe dengue) and international comparability are advantageous; 3 severe dengue criteria (severe plasma leakage, severe bleeding, severe organ manifestation) are useful research endpoints. The 2009 WHO classification has clear advantages for clinical use, use in epidemiology is promising and research use may at least not be a disadvantage.
Tembusu virus (TMUV) is an important emerging arthropod-borne virus that may cause encephalitis in humans and has been isolated in regions of southeast Asia, including Malaysia, Thailand, and China. Currently, detection and identification of TMUV are limited to research laboratories, because quantitative rapid diagnostic assays for the virus do not exist. We describe the development of sensitive and specific conventional and real-time quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction assays for detecting TMUV RNA in infected cell culture supernatant and Culex tarsalis mosquitoes. We used this assay to document the replication of TMUV in Cx. tarsalis, where titers increased 1,000-fold 5 days after inoculation. These assays resulted in the detection of virus-specific RNA in the presence of copurified mosquito nucleic acids. The use of these rapid diagnostic assays may have future applications for field pathogen surveillance and may assist in early detection, diagnosis, and control of the associated arthropod-borne pathogens.
Cystic echinococcosis (CE) caused by infection with Echinococcus granulosus is of major concern for humans in many parts of the world. Antigen B was prepared from E. granulosus hydatid fluid, and Western blots confirmed eight batches showing a band corresponding to the 8-/12-kDa subunit with positive serum and no low-molecular mass band (< 15 kDa) with negative serum. The batches were pooled and used to prepare lateral flow immunoglobulin G4 (IgG4) and IgG dipsticks. Diagnostic sensitivity was determined using serum samples from 21 hydatidosis patients, and diagnostic specificity was established using sera from 17 individuals infected with other parasites and 15 healthy people. IgG4 dipstick had a diagnostic sensitivity of 95% (20 of 21) and a specificity of 100% (32 of 32). The IgG dipstick had a sensitivity of 100% (21 of 21) and a specificity of 87.5% (28 of 32). Thus, both IgG and IgG4 dipsticks had high sensitivities, but IgG4 had greater specificity for the diagnosis of human CE.
This study investigated the distribution of parasites as main contaminants in water environments of peninsular Malaysia (October 2011-December 2011) and the southeastern coast of Thailand (June 2012). Sixty-four water samples, 33 from Malaysia and 31 from Thailand, of various water types were examined according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines. Drinking or household water types from both countries were free from parasitic contamination. The recreational/environmental (except a swimming pool in Malaysia) and effluent water types from these two countries were contaminated with waterborne parasites: Giardia (0.04-4 cysts/L), Cryptosporidium (0.06-2.33 oocysts/L), hookworm (6.67-350 ova/L), Ascaris (0.33-33.33 ova/L), and Schistosoma (9.25-13.33 ova/L). The most contaminated sites were recreational lake garden 3 in Malaysia and river 2 in Thailand. Higher concentrations of Giardia, Cryptosporidium, and hookworm were found in samples from Malaysia than in samples from Thailand. The presence of Giardia cysts showed a significant association with the presence of Cryptosporidium oocysts (P < 0.005).
We report a case of Ancylostoma ceylanicum infection detected by endoscopy. It was diagnosed and confirmed using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and DNA sequencing. The patient is a 58-year-old Malaysian woman who lives in a rural area, where uncontrolled populations of stray and semidomesticated dogs live in close proximity with humans.
This study describes our investigation on the prevalence and molecular identification of bartonellae from Rattus diardii and R. norvegicus in the urban areas of Malaysia. Of 95 rats investigated, Bartonella tribocorum, B. rattimassiliensis, B. coopersplainsensis, B. elizabethae, and B. queenslandensis were isolated from kidney and spleen homogenates of four rats. Bartonellae DNA was amplified from the rat organ tissues by using primers specific for the bartonellae RNA polymerase beta subunit (rpoB) gene in nine other rats. Sequence analysis of the rpoB gene fragments shows the identification of B. queenslandensis in five rats, B. elizabethae in three rats, and B. tribocorum in one rat. Combining the results of isolation and molecular detection of bartonellae, we found that the prevalence of Bartonella infection in the Rattus spp. investigated in this study was 13.7%. Implementation of effective rat control program in the urban areas is necessary to prevent the spillover of bartonellosis from rats to humans.
Sarcocystis nesbitti is an intracellular protozoan parasite found as sarcocysts within muscle fibers of intermediate hosts (monkey and baboon). The definitive host is suspected to be the snake. We report two cases from a larger cohort of 89 patients who had fever, headache, and generalized myalgia after a trip to Pangkor Island, Malaysia. Sarcocysts were detected in skeletal muscle biopsy specimens by light and electron microscopy from these two patients. DNA sequencing based on the 18S ribosomal DNA region identified the Sarcocystis species as S. nesbitti. We also identified S. nesbitti sequences in the stools of a snake (Naja naja). Phylogenetic analysis showed that these sequences form a cluster with most of the other known Sarcocystis species for which the snake is a definitive host. We believe these two patients were likely to have symptomatic acute muscular sarcocystosis after S. nesbitti infection that may have originated from snakes.
Dengue virus (DENV) is considered to be the most important arthropod-borne viral disease and causes more than 100 million human infections annually. To further characterize primary DENV infection in vivo, rhesus macaques were infected with DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3, or DENV-4 and clinical parameters, as well as specificity and longevity of serologic responses, were assessed. Overt clinical symptoms were not present after infection. However, abnormalities in blood biochemical parameters consistent with heart, kidney, and liver damage were observed, and changes in plasma fibrinogen, D-dimers, and protein C indicated systemic activation of the blood coagulation pathway. Significant homotypic and heterotypic serum immunoglobulins were present in all animals, and IgG persisted for at least 390 days. Serum neutralizing antibody responses were highly serotype specific by day 120. However, some heterotypic neutralizing activity was noted in infected animals. Identification of serotype-specific host responses may help elucidate mechanisms that mediate severe DENV disease after reinfection.
We have modified an existing semi-nested multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) by adding one Plasmodium knowlesi-specific nested PCR, and validated the latter against laboratory and clinical samples. This new method has the advantage of being relatively affordable in low resource settings while identifying the five human Plasmodium species with a three-step PCR.
Toxoplasmosis in humans and other animals is caused by the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii. During the process of host cell invasion and parasitophorous vacuole formation by the tachyzoites, the parasite secretes Rhoptry protein 8 (ROP8), an apical secretory organelle. Thus, ROP8 is an important protein for the pathogenesis of T. gondii. The ROP8 DNA was constructed into a pVAX-1 vaccine vector and used for immunizing BALB/c mice. Immunized mice developed immune response characterized by significant antibody responses, antigen-specific proliferation of spleen cells, and production of high levels of IFN-γ (816 ± 26.3 pg/mL). Challenge experiments showed significant levels of increase in the survival period (29 days compared with 9 days in control) in ROP8 DNA vaccinated mice after a lethal challenge with T. gondii. Results presented in this study suggest that ROP8 DNA is a promising and potential vaccine candidate against toxoplasmosis.
Plasmodium knowlesi is now known as the fifth Plasmodium species that can cause human malaria. The Plasmodium merozoite surface protein (MSP) has been reported to be potential target for vaccination and diagnosis of malaria. MSP-1(33) has been shown to be immunogenic and its T cell epitopes could mediate cellular immune protection. However, limited studies have focused on P. knowlesi MSP-133. In this study, an approximately 28-kDa recombinant P. knowlesi MSP-1(33) (pkMSP-1(33)) was expressed by using an Escherichia coli system. The purified pkMSP-1(33) reacted with serum samples of patients infected with P. knowlesi (31 of 31, 100%) and non-P. knowlesi malaria (27 of 28, 96.43%) by Western blotting. The pkMSP-1(33) also reacted with P. knowlesi (25 of 31, 80.65%) and non-P. knowlesi malaria sera (20 of 28, 71.43%) in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Most of the non-malarial infection (49 of 52 in by Western blotting and 46 of 52 in the ELISA) and healthy donor serum samples (65 of 65 by Western blotting and ELISA) did not react with recombinant pkMSP-1(33).
Dengue represents a substantial burden in many tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. We estimated the economic burden of dengue illness in Malaysia. Information about economic burden is needed for setting health policy priorities, but accurate estimation is difficult because of incomplete data. We overcame this limitation by merging multiple data sources to refine our estimates, including an extensive literature review, discussion with experts, review of data from health and surveillance systems, and implementation of a Delphi process. Because Malaysia has a passive surveillance system, the number of dengue cases is under-reported. Using an adjusted estimate of total dengue cases, we estimated an economic burden of dengue illness of US$56 million (Malaysian Ringgit MYR196 million) per year, which is approximately US$2.03 (Malaysian Ringgit 7.14) per capita. The overall economic burden of dengue would be even higher if we included costs associated with dengue prevention and control, dengue surveillance, and long-term sequelae of dengue.
Plasma leakage in severe dengue has been postulated to be associated with skewed cytokine immune responses. In this study, the association of cytokines with vascular permeability in dengue patients was investigated. Human serum samples collected from 48 persons (13 with dengue fever, 29 with dengue hemorrhagic fever, and 6 healthy) were subjected to cytokines analysis by using Luminex Multiplex Technology. Selected serum samples from patients with dengue hemorrhagic fever sera and recombinant human cytokines were then tested for roles on inducing vascular permeability by treatment of human umbilical vein endothelial cells. Confocal immunofluorescence staining indicated morphologic alteration of human umbilical vein endothelial cells treated with serum samples from patients with dengue hemorrhagic fever compared with serum samples from healthy persons. The findings suggest that cytokines produced during dengue hemorrhagic infections could induce alterations in the vascular endothelium, which may play a fundamental role in the pathophysiology of dengue.
Species identification of human hookworm infections among eight communities in rural areas of Peninsular Malaysia was determined during 2009-2011. Fecal samples were examined by microscopy and subsequently, the internal transcribed spacer 2 and 28S ribosomal RNA region of Necator americanus and Ancylostoma spp. were sequenced. Overall, 9.1% (58 of 634) were identified positive by microscopy for hookworm infection, and 47 (81.0%) of 58 were successfully amplified and sequenced. Sequence comparison found that N. americanus (87.2%) was the most predominant hookworm identified, followed by Ancylostoma ceylanicum (23.4%). No A. duodenale infection was detected in this study. Detection of A. ceylanicum in humans highlighted the zoonotic transmission among humans living near dogs. Thus, implementation of effective control measures for hookworm infections in future should seriously consider this zoonotic implication.