Pre-donation screening declarations and hemoglobin (Hb) testing are measures used to determine the quality of donated blood. The copper sulphate (CuSo4) method used to screen for blood abnormalities can give inaccurate results if strict quality control is not applied. Blood donors who are carriers of thalassemia and those with mild iron deficiency anemia (IDA) are usually asymptomatic and frequently missed at blood donation. The aim of this study was to evaluate the red blood cell (RBC) indices related disorders among blood donors who were deemed qualified to donate blood after screening with CuSo4 method. One hundred fifty-eight volunteer blood donors at the Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), who had passed the CuSo4 screening method, were recruited for this study. Their bloods specimens were examined with a complete blood count. Subjects with a low mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH) level were examined further by checking a serum ferritin level, Hb quantification, and molecular analysis to examine for common RBC disorders. Fourteen point six percent of subjects had a low Hb level, two (1.3%) had IDA and four (2.5%) had thalassemia or some other hemoglobinopathy. Using a MCH level < 27 pg as a cut-off point, 58 subjects (36.7%) had suspected IDA, thalassemia or some other hemoglobinopathy. Eight point nine percent of subjects with a normal Hb level had thalassemia, and 3.8% had IDA. Malaysia has a high prevalence of thalassemia and other hemoglobinopathies. Pre-donation accurate screening is crucial to protect the quality of blood transfusion products. Public education regarding RBC disorders especially among blood donors is important.
Ovitrap surveillance was conducted in 2012 and 2006 in Malay and Aboriginal Villages on Carey Island. In each village, standard ovitraps were placed indoors and outdoors at randomly selected houses/locations. All L3 larvae recovered were identified up to species level. Results demonstrated that only larvae of Aedes albopictus were found in all the positive ovitraps placed indoors and outdoors. In 2012, a high ovitrap index (OI) of 66.7% indoor and 84.0% outdoor in the Malay Village; and 62.5% indoor and 88.0% outdoor in Aboriginal Village with an apparent absence of Aedes aegypti. In 2006, a 100% OI was recorded in all ovitraps set indoors and outdoors in both villages.
Dientamoeba fragilis is a trichomonad parasite that can infect the gastrointestinal tract of humans causing gastrointestinal disease. Little is known about its epidemiology. We evaluated the prevalence of D. fragilis by conducting a cross sectional study of an Orang Asli population in rural Malaysia. We examined stool samples from 150 participants for D. fragilis using Wheatley's trichrome stain and collected demographic data from each participant using a structured questionnaire. Five participants (3.3%) had D. fragilis in their stool; four of these were aged < 15 years; 3 were male and 2 were female. All participants with positive stool sample for D. fragilis were symptomatic; 3 had diarrhea and 2 had other gastrointestinal symptoms. D. fragilis is present in the study population. Further studies are needed to determine the virulence, pathogenicity and mode of transmission of D. fragilis in the study population.
Clinical manifestations of giardiasis vary from asymptomatic infection to chronic diarrhea. A total of 611 stool samples from Aboriginal participants residing in Jelebu, Gerik and Temerloh States, Malaysia, ages 2 to 74 years were screened for Giardia intestinalis using microscopic examination and sequence analysis of a fragment of nested-PCR amplified triosephosphate isomerase (tpi) gene. Demographic data was collected through a structured questionnaire. tpi was successfully amplified from 98/110 samples microscopically positive for G. intestinalis, with 62 and 36 belonging to assemblage A and B, respectively. There is a significant correlation between assemblage A and symptomatic infection only in participants of < 15 years of age. In the other age group, host factors may have more effects on the presence of clinical signs and symptoms than G. intestinalis assemblage types.
Annual influenza vaccination is the most important preventive strategy against influenza illness in healthcare workers (HCWs), who could acquire influenza from and transmit influenza to patients and other HCWs. Despite the well established benefits and strong recommendations for influenza vaccination for all HCWs, influenza vaccination uptake at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre (UKMMC) for the past 3 years has been low and is decreasing. We aimed to determine the factors associated with influenza vaccination uptake among HCWs at UKMMC. We conducted a cross sectional study via questionnaire among 211 randomly selected HCWs, consisting of 106 HCWs who were vaccinated in 2011 and 105 HCWs who were not vaccinated in 2010 or 2011. We had a 100% response rate. Influenza vaccination uptake was significantly associated with age and previous vaccination history, with older HCWs being more likely to be vaccinated (adjusted OR = 12.494; 95% CI:6.278-24.863; p < 0.001) and HCWs with previous vaccination history being more likely to be vaccinated (adjusted OR = 1.038; 95% CI:1.001-1.077; p = 0.045). Influenza vaccination uptake was not associated with gender (p = 0.926) or job category (p = 0.220). Publicity at the workplace was the main source of information about the vaccine (51.2% of respondents), followed by colleagues (29.9%). Despite the low uptake, 85.3% of respondents believed influenza vaccination was important for disease prevention. The most common reason given for vaccination was protection against influenza infection (73.6%). The most common reason for not having the vaccine was time constraints (56.2%). An evidenced-based strategy needs to be developed to improve vaccine uptake or having mandatory vaccination.
Surveillance of mosquitoes and their distribution in association with rainfall, relative humidity, and temperature were conducted in selected suburban and forested areas, namely, Sungai Penchala (Kuala Lumpur) and Taman Alam (Selangor) for 12 months. Armigeres kesseli was the most abundant species in Sungai Penchala while Aedes butleri was the most dominant species in Taman Alam. A positive correlation between mosquito distribution and rainfall was observed in selected mosquito species in Sungai Penchala (Armigeres kesseli, r = 0.75; Armigeres subalbatus, r = 0.62; and Aedes albopictus, r = 0.65) and Taman Alam (Armigeres sp, r = 0.59; Ae. butleri, r = 0.85; and Ae. albopictus, r = 0.62). However, no significant cor- relation was found either between selected mosquito species in both study areas and relative humidity or temperature. Results obtained suggested that vector control programs to be conducted based on temporal distribution of vectors in order to achieve beneficial outcomes with effective costing.
During 2009 to 2010, a total of 408 blood samples collected from malaria patients in Ranong (149) and Yala (259) Provinces, Thailand were investigated for Plasmodium spp using microscopic examination. There are no statistical differences in the prevalence of P. falciparum and P. vivax in samples collected from Ranong and Yala (46% vs 52%, and 54% vs 45%, respectively). Single nucleotide polymorphism of codon 86 in pfmdr1 (encoding P. falciparum multidrug resistance protein 1) was investigated among 75 samples of P. falciparum and 2 samples of P. knowlesi. A pfmdr1 N86Y mutation was detected in 1 out of 29 samples and 45 out of 46 samples obtained from Ranong and Yala Provinces, respectively. It is interesting that pfmdr1 was detected in two P. knowlesi DNA samples obtained previously from Ranong Province which was 99% homologous to pfmdr1 obtained from falciparum parasites in the same area but the mutation was not observed. The difference in multidrug resistance protein in Plasmodium obtained from those two border areas of Thailand will be of use in monitoring drug resistance in these border regions of the country.
Illness and injury have a significant impact on employees, their families and employers. The consequences faced by an injured worker could lead to disability, which could then lead to inability to work. This study examined the patterns of the Return to Work (RTW) using data from The Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) of Malaysia RTW database from 2010 to 2013. Factors of successful return to work, employees' salary upon returning to formal employment were also investigated. Gender, age, year of injury, industry, and job hierarchy were found to be significant predictors of employees' salary upon returning to work. Although there are other costs involved on the part of employers and employees, themselves, in the long term the financial returns that can be brought back by injured workers who have successfully returned to work combined with the qualitative benefits substantially outweighs the costs of RTW program.
Food-borne illness caused by Salmonella enterica remains a public health problem and results in economic loss worldwide. With the up-coming establish- ment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) allowing unrestricted move- ment of labor and goods, there is a higher risk of pathogen transmission among the AEC countries. This study characterized and investigated the spatial and temporal associations of S. enterica strains isolated in AEC countries during 1940- 2012 compared with those isolated in northern-Thailand during 2011-2013. Of the 173 S. enterica strains examined, 68 sequence types (STs) and 32 clonal complexes (CCs) were identified by multi loci sequence typing. Twenty-one strains belonged to four sequence types new to AEC countries, and they constituted only two CCs. A number of strains originated from various countries with multiple hosts, were highlighted. There was evidence of strains circulating in the AEC region well over a decade. Such information will be important in formulating biosecurity measures, as well as in educating regarding the risk of disease transmission in AEC.
Abstract. This paper examines the effectiveness of media in public awareness of the HIV/AIDS issue among the public in an area in central Selangor, comprising Kuala Lumpur and its surroundings and suburbs in Malaysia. Cross-sectional survey questionnaires were distributed to 384 respondents about accessing the public awareness of modes of HIV transmission, perceptions and attitudes towards people living with HIV/AIDS, as well as people's understanding about government policies to curb HIV/AIDS. Health care practitioners and newspapers were the preferred sources of information seeking on HIV/AIDS among the public. Most of the respondents were aware of the modes of HIV transmission. However, they were some respondents who still have misconceptions about the modes of transmission. Most of the respondents were not aware about the government's significant policies to address HIV/AIDS in the region. Overall, the respondents had certain knowledge about HIV transmission modes and moderate positive perceptions and attitudes towards people living with HIV/AIDS. Future studies should be conducted to examine about who sets the agenda in the media, and apart from gatekeepers, who are the real decision makers in deciding what is important to inform the public.
Pregnancy among unmarried women may have negative social and health implications in Malaysia. The number of pregnancies among unmarried women has increased in Malaysia, but the socio-demographic profile of these women is unclear. This study aims to evaluate the characteristics of unmarried pregnant women and the factors associated with unmarried pregnancies among young women in Malaysia. We conducted a cross sectional study at six hospitals and six women's shelters in Peninsular Malaysia during 2011-2012. Unmarried pregnant women were compared with married pregnant women. Participants were interviewed using a structured questionnaire asking for socio-demographic data, family background, risky sexual behavior, social support and pregnancy details. A total of 484 women (239 unmarried and 245 married) were included in the study. Most unmarried subjects were adolescents, from urban areas, from a low socioeconomic group, and lived with parents prior to pregnancy. Age (OR=0.67; 95% CI: 0.61-0.74), studying status (OR=17.33; 95% CI: 2.65-113.19), alcohol use (OR=40.46; 95% CI: 2.51-652.38) exposure to pornographic material (OR=13.48; 95% CI: 3.24-56.01), contraceptive use (OR=0.20; 95% CI: 0.08-0.51), and social support (OR=0.90; 95% CI: 0.86-0.94) were all associated with unmarried pregnancy. These factors need to be considered when.designing an intervention program.
We conducted a cross sectional study of cardiovascular risk factors among healthcare workers at four government hospitals in Kelantan, Malaysia. We randomly selected 330 subjects fulfilling the following study criteria: those who had been working for at least one year at that health facility, Malaysians citizens and those with some form of direct contact with patients. We conducted an interview, obtained physical measurements, a fasting blood sugar and fasting lipid profiles among 308 subjects. The mean age of the subjects was 43.5 years, 82% were female; 30.8%, 14.3%, 10.4%, 1.3% and 1.6% of the subjects had dyslipidemia, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, a history of stroke and a history of ischemic heart disease, respectively. Forty-two percent of subjects had at least one medical condition. The mean body mass index (BMI) was 27.0 kg/M2 (SD=4.8) and 24.3% had a BMI > or =30 kg/M2. The mean systolic and diastolic blood pressures were 121.5 mmHg (SD=14.0) and 76.5 mmHg (SD=9.7), respectively and the mean waist-hip ratio was 0.84 (SD=0.1). The mean fasting blood sugar, total cholesterol, triglyceride, high density lipoprotein and low density lipoprotein were 5.8 mmol/l (SD=2.4), 5.5 mmol/l (SD=1.0), 1.4 mmol/l (SD=0.9), 1.5 mmol/l (SD=0.3) and 3.5 mmol/l (SD=0.9), respectively. Our study population had a smaller proportion of hypertension than that of the general Malaysian population. They had higher fasting total cholesterol, slightly lower fasting blood sugar, with a large proportion of them, obese and had diabetes. Immediate intervention is needed to reduce the traditional cardiovascular risk factors in this population. Keywords: cardiovascular risk factors, health care workers, Malaysia
Numerous studies have reported the prevalence of toxoplasmosis among Malaysians and various domestic animals; but there is paucity of information on its prevalence among rodents which could potentially contribute to the transmission of Toxoplasma gondii in both domestic and sylvatic fauna. Five hundred twenty-six rodents were captured from six locations in Malaysia and identified to species. Serum samples were collected from these rodents and tested for T.gondii antibodies using an immunofluorescent antibody test (IFAT). T.gondii antibodies were found in 5.9% (31/526) of the tested samples. Most of the positive antibodies were from commensal rats: Rattus exulans (9/64, 14.0%), Rattus argentiventer (2/8, 25%), Rattus rattus diardii (10/166, 6.0%) and Rattus tiomanicus (6/215, 2.7%). Only two of the forest rats were positive: Maxomys rajah (1/9, 11.1%) and Rattus bowersi (1/12, 8.3%). Eighteen point one percent of ground squirrels (Tupaia glis) tested (2/11) were positive for antibodies. The highest antibodies titer (1:1024) was found in Rattus exulans followed by T.glis (1:256). Sabak Bernam, Selangor had the highest prevalence (10.8%) followed by Baling, Kedah (5.0%) and Bagan Terap, Selangor (4.0%). None of the serum samples of rodents collected from Gua Musang, Kelantan; Jasin, Malacca; or Labis, Johor were positive. Our study reports for the first time the serologic prevalence of T.gondii antibodies among rodents in Peninsular Malaysia. Further studies are needed to confirm T.gondii infection among wild rodents, such as a bioassay, to assess their potential role in transmission of the parasite.
Antibiotic resistance is a major problem globally. Awareness of the impact and significance of antibiotic resistance is a first step in hindering its progression. We conducted this survey to evaluate knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding antibiotic use in Malaysia. A total of 373 respondents were surveyed, 219 (58.1%) were female and 312 (83%) were Malay ethnicity. Eighty-four point two percent (314) had used antibiotics more than once (> 1) during the previous year. We found respondents who were less likely to take antibiotics (≤ 1) during the previous year were more likely to agree that antibiotic resistance was a serious public health issue compared to those that took antibiotic more than once during the previous year (p < 0.0001). A significantly greater number of patients (67.2%) who took antibiotics more than once during the previous year did not complete the full course than those who took antibiotics no more than once (55.9%) during the previous year (p < 0.01). We found the frequency of antibiotic use was related to knowledge about antibiotics among the study population. It is essential to develop educational interventions to correct the misuse and misunderstanding of antibiotics.
Study site: general public in Kuantan (Pahang) and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is common among patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and all-cause mortality. The objective of this study was to investigate the association between the components of MetS and the prevalence of CVD among patients with T2DM. We studied 313 patients aged > or = 30 years diagnosed with T2DM at two tertiary care hospitals. Patients were recruited by systematic random sampling. Clinical data was obtained using an interviewer-administered structured questionnaire and from a review of their medical records. MetS was diagnosed using NCEP ATP III, WHO, IDF and the new Harmonized definitions. Specific MetS components such as BMI, waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, hypertension, HDL-C and triglyceride levels were evaluated to determine if they had an association with CVD. Thirty-six point one percent of the subjects had CVD. The mean age of the subjects was 55.7 +/- 9.2 years and the mean duration of having diabetes was 10.1 +/- 8.1 years. The overall prevalences of MetS (> or = 3 of 5 components) (95% CI) were 96.1% (94.0-98.3), 95.8% (93.6-98.1), 84.8% (80.8-88.9) and 97.7% (96.1-99.4) using NCEP ATP III, WHO, IDF and Harmonized definitions, respectively. Patients with MetS had a higher prevalence of CVD using NCEP ATP III (98.2% vs 93.5%), WHO (98.2% vs 93.0%), IDF (87.6% vs 82.0%) and Harmonized criteria (98.2% vs 96.0%). The greater the number of MetS components, the greater the chance of having CVD using three definitions for diagnosing MetS: WHO, IDF and Harmonized (p < 0.05). MetS and the combination of the individual components of MetS were significantly associated with CVD among type 2 diabetic patients in Malaysia. Aggressive treatment of MetS components is required to reduce cardiovascular risk in T2DM.
Partial gene sequences of phenylalanyl-tRNA synthase alpha subunit (pheS) and RNA polymerase alpha subunit (rpoA) were evaluated for species delineation and detection of recombination among enterococci populations recovered from a bathing beach impacted by low tide river flow. At inter-species level, a maximum similarity of 86.5% and 94.8% was observed among the enterococci pheS and rpoA sequence, respectively. A superimposed plot of delimited pairwise similarity values obtained for 266 pair-wise observations revealed that while there was a harmony between species identity obtained from both genes, pheS was more discriminatory than rpoA. The difference was more pronounced for inter-species comparison. A number of putative recombination events between indigenous and non-indigenous strains was detected based on a library of aligned sequences. Virulence genes cyl, esp, gelE and asa were detected in 7, 22, 100 and 63%, respectively among river isolates but at lower proportion of 0, 20, 67 and 42%, respectively among beach water isolates. Random amplified polymorphic DNA profiling presented evidence suggesting low tide river as a source of fecal enterococci entering the recreation beach water. Multilocus sequence typing analysis of a number of Enterococcus faecalis isolates presented four sequence types, ST59, 117, 181 and 474. The presence of genetically diverse fecal enterococci with associated virulence traits and a background of recombination events in surface recreational water could present a potential public health risk.
Burkholderia pseudomallei, the causative agent of melioidosis is an important cause of morbidity and mortality particularly among diabetics. We evaluated 228 isolates of B. pseudomallei for antimicrobial sensitivity during 2005-2010 using the disc diffusion technique, of which 144 were obtained from blood culture. More than 90% of the strains were susceptible to cefoperazone, ceftazidime, chloramphenicol and imipenem. Eighty-two percent of the isolates were susceptible to tetracycline and amoxicillin/clavulanate. The susceptibilities to ciprofloxacin was 78% and to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxezole was 47%. The susceptibilities to aminoglycoside antibiotics were low (21% to gentamicin and 6% to amikacin). The susceptibilities were similar between isolates from females and males, bacteremic and abacteremic cases, diabetics and non-diabetics, pneumonia and non-pneumonia cases and between those who died and those who survived. Our findings show antibiotic susceptibility patterns are not a major factor in determining outcomes of B. pseudomallei infection. Monitoring the drug susceptibilities among B. pseudomallei isolates needs to be conducted regularly to guide empiric therapy for melioidosis, as it causes high mortality, especially among diabetic cases.