Acanthamoeba, one of free-living amoebae (FLA), remains a high risk of direct contact with this protozoan parasite which is ubiquitous in nature and man-made environment. This pathogenic FLA can cause sight-threatening amoebic keratitis (AK) and fatal granulomatous amoebic encephalitis (GAE) though these cases may not commonly be reported in our clinical settings. Acanthamoeba has been detected from different environmental sources namely; soil, water, hot-spring, swimming pool, air-conditioner, or contact lens storage cases. The identification of Acanthamoeba is based on morphological appearance and molecular techniques using PCR and DNA sequencing for clinico-epidemiological purposes. Recent treatments have long been ineffective against Acanthamoeba cyst, novel anti-Acanthamoeba agents have therefore been extensively investigated. There are efforts to utilize synthetic chemicals, lead compounds from medicinal plant extracts, and animal products to combat Acanthamoeba infection. Applied nanotechnology, an advanced technology, has shown to enhance the anti-Acanthamoeba activity in the encapsulated nanoparticles leading to new therapeutic options. This review attempts to provide an overview of the available data and studies on the occurrence of pathogenic Acanthamoeba among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members with the aim of identifying some potential contributing factors such as distribution, demographic profile of the patients, possible source of the parasite, mode of transmission and treatment. Further, this review attempts to provide future direction for prevention and control of the Acanthamoeba infection.
Human infections due to the monkey malaria parasite Plasmodium knowlesi is increasingly being reported from most Southeast Asian countries specifically Malaysia. The parasite causes severe and fatal malaria thus there is a need for urgent measures for its control. In this study, the level of polymorphisms, haplotypes and natural selection of full-length pkmsp8 in 37 clinical samples from Malaysian Borneo along with 6 lab-adapted strains were investigated. Low levels of polymorphism were observed across the full-length gene, the double epidermal growth factor (EGF) domains were mostly conserved, and non-synonymous substitutions were absent. Evidence of strong negative selection pressure in the non-EGF regions were found indicating functional constrains acting at different domains. Phylogenetic haplotype network analysis identified shared haplotypes and indicated geographical clustering of samples originating from Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo. This is the first study to genetically characterize the full-length msp8 gene from clinical isolates of P. knowlesi from Malaysia; however, further functional characterization would be useful for future rational vaccine design.
Artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) resistance is widespread throughout the Greater Mekong Subregion. This raises concern over the antimalarial treatment in Thailand since it shares borders with Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar where high ACT failure rates were reported. It is crucial to have information about the spread of ACT resistance for efficient planning and treatment. This study was to identify the molecular markers for antimalarial drug resistance: Pfkelch13 and Pfmdr1 mutations from 5 provinces of southern Thailand, from 2012 to 2017, of which 2 provinces on the Thai- Myanmar border (Chumphon and Ranong), one on Thai-Malaysia border (Yala) and 2 from non-border provinces (Phang Nga and Surat Thani). The results showed that C580Y mutation of Pfkelch13 was found mainly in the province on the Thai-Myanmar border. No mutations in the PfKelch13 gene were found in Surat Thani and Yala. The Pfmdr1 gene isolated from the Thai-Malaysia border was a different pattern from those found in other areas (100% N86Y) whereas wild type strain was present in Phang Nga. Our study indicated that the molecular markers of artemisinin resistance were spread in the provinces bordering along the Thai-Myanmar, and the pattern of Pfmdr1 mutations from the areas along the international border of Thailand differed from those of the non-border provinces. The information of the molecular markers from this study highlighted the recent spread of artemisinin resistant parasites from the endemic area, and the data will be useful for optimizing antimalarial treatment based on regional differences.
In this study we take a closer look at the diseases that afflicted Japanese police officers who were stationed in a remote mountainous region of Taiwan from 1921 to 1944. Samples were taken from the latrine at the Huabanuo police outpost, and analyzed for the eggs of intestinal parasites, using microscopy and ELISA. The eggs of Eurytrema sp., (possibly E. pancreaticum), whipworm and roundworm were shown to be present. True infection with Eurytrema would indicate that the policemen ate uncooked grasshoppers and crickets infected with the parasite. However, false parasitism might also occur if the policemen ate the uncooked intestines of infected cattle, and the Eurytrema eggs passed through the human intestines. These findings provide an insight into the diet and health of the Japanese colonists in Taiwan nearly a century ago.
The present study was conducted to investigate the clinical outcomes of Entamoeba histolytica infection in symptomatic and asymptomatic Orang Asli (aborigine) communities in Malaysia. Examination was performed on 500 stool samples obtained from Orang Asli communities in 3 different states using formalin-ether concentration, trichrome staining, and single-round PCR techniques. Out of 500 stool samples, single infection of E. histolytica, Entamoeba dispar, and Entamoeba moshkovskii was identified in 3.2%, 13.4%, and 1%, respectively. In addition, 10 samples had mixed infections with E. histolytica and E. dispar. Six samples containing E. dispar were also positive for E. moshkovskii, and only 2 samples had E. histolytica in association with E. dispar and E. moshkovskii. Seventeen E. histolytica-positive samples were from symptomatic subjects, whereas the remaining 11 samples came from asymptomatic subjects. These findings suggest a predominant distribution of pathogenic potential of E. histolytica strains in this community. Therefore, further studies on genotyping of E. histolytica is required, to find out association between E. histolytica genotype and the outcome of the infection.
Cat flea bite in humans results in extremely pruritic skin lesions. It has been reported to occur among those living in domiciliary accommodation. However, nosocomial infestation with cat flea has not been reported. We hereby report a case of nosocomial infestation of cat flea in a hospital facility. Identification of the parasite, its appropriate eradication, and adequate medical management of the patients resulted in a satisfactory outcome.
Sarcocystis sp. infection was investigated in 20 necropsied captive wild mammals and 20 birds in 2 petting zoos in Malaysia. The gross post-mortem lesions in mammals showed marbling of the liver with uniform congestion of the intestine, and for birds, there was atrophy of the sternal muscles with hemorrhage and edema of the lungs in 2 birds. Naked eye examination was used for detection of macroscopic sarcocysts, and muscle squash for microscopic type. Only microscopically visible cysts were detected in 8 animals and species identification was not possible. Histological examination of the sections of infected skeletal muscles showed more than 5 sarcocysts in each specimen. No leukocytic infiltration was seen in affected organs. The shape of the cysts was elongated or circular, and the mean size reached 254 x 24.5 µm and the thickness of the wall up to 2.5 µm. Two stages were recognized in the cysts, the peripheral metrocytes and large numbers of crescent shaped merozoites. Out of 40 animals examined, 3 mammals and 5 birds were positive (20%). The infection rate was 15% and 25% in mammals and birds, respectively. Regarding the organs, the infection rate was 50% in the skeletal muscles followed by tongue and heart (37.5%), diaphragm (25%), and esophagus (12.5%). Further ultrastructural studies are required to identify the species of Sarcocystis that infect captive wild animals and their possible role in zoonosis.
Growing patterns of pediculocidal drug resistance towards head louse laid the foundation for research in exploring novel anti-lice agents from medicinal plants. In the present study, various extracts of Pongamia pinnata leaves were tested against the head louse Pediculus humanus capitis. A filter paper diffusion method was conducted for determining the potential pediculocidal and ovicidal activity of chloroform, petroleum ether, methanol, and water extracts of P. pinnata leaves. The findings revealed that petroleum ether extracts possess excellent anti-lice activity with values ranging between 50.3% and 100% where as chloroform and methanol extracts showed moderate pediculocidal effects. The chloroform and methanol extracts were also successful in inhibiting nymph emergence and the petroleum ether extract was the most effective with a complete inhibition of emergence. Water extract was devoid of both pediculocidal and ovicidal activities. All the results were well comparable with benzoyl benzoate (25% w/v). These results showed the prospect of using P. pinnata leave extracts against P. humanus capitis in difficult situations of emergence of resistance to synthetic anti-lice agents.
Malaysian, African and Thai Plasmodium falciparum isolates were cultured in vitro by the Trager and Jensen method (1976; 1977) and were later cloned by the limiting dilution method (Rosario, 1981). Forty-eight clones were obtained and were characterized by electrophoretic variations of GDH (NADP-dependent glutamate dehydrogenase)(EC. 188.8.131.52). It was found that they were pure clones because they possessed either GDH-1 or GDH-2 unlike their parent isolates which exhibited both GDH-1 and GDH-2.
The aim of this cross sectional case control study was to examine the serofrequency and serointensity of Toxoplasma gondii (Tg) IgG, IgM, and DNA among patients with schizophrenia. A total of 101 patients with schizophrenia and 55 healthy controls from Sungai Buloh Hospital, Selangor, Malaysia and University Malaya Medical Center (UMMC) were included in this study. The diagnosis of schizophrenia was made based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV). The presence of Tg infection was examined using both indirect (ELISA) and direct (quantitative real-time PCR) detection methods by measuring Tg IgG and IgM and DNA, respectively. The serofrequency of Tg IgG antibodies (51.5%, 52/101) and DNA (32.67%, 33/101) among patients with schizophrenia was significantly higher than IgG (18.2%, 10/55) and DNA (3.64%, 2/55) of the controls (IgG, P=0.000, OD=4.8, CI=2.2-10.5; DNA, P=0.000, OD=12.9, CI=2.17-10.51). However, the Tg IgM antibody between patients with schizophrenia and controls was not significant (P>0.005). There was no significant difference (P>0.005) in both serointensity of Tg IgG and DNA between patients with schizophrenia and controls. These findings have further demonstrated the strong association between the active Tg infection and schizophrenia.
Toxoplasmosis is an opportunistic infection caused by the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii. T. gondii is widespread globally and causes severe diseases in individuals with impaired immune defences as well as congenitally infected infants. The high prevalence rate in some parts of the world such as South America and Africa, coupled with the current drug treatments that trigger hypersensitivity reactions, makes the development of immunotherapeutics intervention a highly important research priority. Immunotherapeutics strategies could either be a vaccine which would confer a pre-emptive immunity to infection, or passive immunization in cases of disease recrudescence or recurrent clinical diseases. As the severity of clinical manifestations is often greater in developing nations, the development of well-tolerated and safe immunotherapeutics becomes not only a scientific pursuit, but a humanitarian enterprise. In the last few years, much progress has been made in vaccine research with new antigens, novel adjuvants, and innovative vaccine delivery such as nanoparticles and antigen encapsulations. A literature search over the past 5 years showed that most experimental studies were focused on DNA vaccination at 52%, followed by protein vaccination which formed 36% of the studies, live attenuated vaccinations at 9%, and heterologous vaccination at 3%; while there were few on passive immunization. Recent progress in studies on vaccination, passive immunization, as well as insights gained from these immunotherapeutics is highlighted in this review.
Sarcocystosis was diagnosed worldwide by serodiagnostic tests utilising the whole parasite, for which the protozoa were maintained in vitro are more costly. In this study, antigenicity of Sarcocystis falcatula recombinant protein (rSfSAG4) was investigated towards the local communities of Pangkor and Tioman Islands and its seroprevalence was surveyed in these islands. A total of 348 human sera were tested using rSfSAG4 by Western blot and ELISA. High prevalence of sarcocystosis was observed in Tioman Island (80.6%) than in Pangkor Island (50.0%) by Western blot. In ELISA, the seroprevalence observed in Tioman Island was 45.9%, whereas in Pangkor Island 63.0%. In other parasitic infections, the prevalence was 34.0% by Western blot and 46.0% by ELISA. In healthy control group, 7% by Western blot and 8% by ELISA showed positivity to rSfSAG4. It is suggested SfSAG4 is a candidate antigen to measure seroprevalence of sarcocystosis.
Cryptosporidium, a protozoan parasite, can cause cryptosporidiosis which is a gastrointestinal disease that can infect humans and livestock. Cattle are the most common livestock that can be infected with this protozoan. This study was carried out to determine the prevalence of Cryptosporidium infection in cattle in Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia and to find out the association between the occurrence of infection and 3 different ages of cattle (calves less than 1 year, yearling, and adult cattle). The samples were processed by using formol-ether concentration technique and stained by modified Ziehl Neelsen. The results showed that 15.9% (24/151) of cattle were positive for Cryptosporidium oocysts. The occurrence of Cryptosporidium in calves less than 1 year was the highest with the percentage of 20.0% (11/55) followed by yearling and adult cattle, with the percentage occurrence of 15.6 % (7/45) and 11.8% (6/51), respectively. There was no significant association between the occurrence and age of cattle and presence of diarrhea. Good management practices and proper hygiene management must be taken in order to reduce the infection. It is highly important to control the infection since infected cattle may serve as potential reservoirs of the infection to other animals and humans, especially animal handlers.
Anisakis spp. (Nematoda: Anisakidae) parasitize a wide range of marine animals, mammals serving as the definitive host and different fish species as intermediate or paratenic hosts. In this study, 18 fish species were investigated for Anisakis infection. Katsuwonus pelamis, Euthynnus affinis, Caranx sp., and Auxis thazard were infected with high prevalence of Anisakis type I, while Cephalopholis cyanostigma and Rastrelliger kanagurta revealed low prevalence. The mean intensity of Anisakis larvae in K. pelamis and A. thazard was 49.7 and 5.6, respectively. A total of 73 Anisakis type I larvae collected from K. pelamis and A. thazard were all identified as Anisakis typica by PCR-RFLP analysis. Five specimens of Anisakis from K. pelamis and 15 specimens from A. thazard were sequenced using ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 region and 6 specimens from A. thazard and 4 specimens from K. pelamis were sequenced in mtDNA cox2 region. Alignments of the samples in the ITS region showed 2 patterns of nucleotides. The first pattern (genotype) of Anisakis from A. thazard had 100% similarity with adult A. typica from dolphins from USA, whereas the second genotype from A. thazard and K. pelamis had 4 base pairs different in ITS1 region with adult A. typica from USA. In the mtDNA cox2 regions, Anisakis type I specimens from A. thazard and K. pelamis showed similarity range from 94% to 99% with A. typica AB517571/DQ116427. The difference of 4 bp nucleotides in ITS1 regions and divergence into 2 subgroups in mtDNA cox2 indicating the existence of A. typica sibling species in the Makassar Strait.
We evaluated the activity of methanolic extracts of Melaleuca cajuputi flowers against the filarial worm Brugia pahangi and its bacterial endosymbiont Wolbachia. Anti-Wolbachia activity was measured in worms and in Aedes albopictus Aa23 cells by PCR, electron microscopy, and other biological assays. In particular, microfilarial release, worm motility, and viability were determined. M. cajuputi flower extracts were found to significantly reduce Wolbachia endosymbionts in Aa23 cells, Wolbachia surface protein, and microfilarial release, as well as the viability and motility of adult worms. Anti-Wolbachia activity was further confirmed by observation of degraded and phagocytized Wolbachia in worms treated with the flower extracts. The data provided in vitro and in vivo evidence that M. cajuputi flower extracts inhibit Wolbachia, an activity that may be exploited as an alternative strategy to treat human lymphatic filariasis.
Epidemiological study on strongyloidiasis in humans is currently lacking in Malaysia. Thus, a cross-sectional study was carried out to determine the prevalence of Strongyloides stercoralis infection among the inhabitants of longhouse indigenous communities in Sarawak. A single stool and blood sample were collected from each participant and subjected to microscopy, serological and molecular techniques. Five species of intestinal parasites were identified by stool microscopy. None of the stool samples were positive for S. stercoralis. However, 11% of 236 serum samples were seropositive for strongyloidiasis. Further confirmation using molecular technique on stool samples of the seropositive individuals successfully amplified 5 samples, suggesting current active infections. The prevalence was significantly higher in adult males and tended to increase with age. S. stercoralis should no longer be neglected in any intestinal parasitic survey. Combination of more than 1 diagnostic technique is necessary to increase the likelihood of estimating the 'true' prevalence of S. stercoralis.