Dengue fever (DF) is an urban vector-borne disease transmitted by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Both species deposit their eggs in favorable breeding sites either in natural or artificial containers. An understanding of their habitat characteristics is crucial in curbing DF outbreaks
Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is a major cause of adult mortality in Asia. Appropriate empirical treatment depends on knowledge of the pathogens commonly responsible. However, assessing the aetiological significance of identified organisms is often difficult, particularly with sputum isolates that might represent contamination with oropharyngeal flora.
The prevalence of resistance to rifampicin and fusidic acid among Malaysian strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is increasing. This study aimed to determine the mechanisms of rifampicin and fusidic acid resistance and the genetic diversity of MRSA strains from a Malaysian tertiary hospital.
Dengue has emerged as one of the major public health problems in Malaysia. The Ministry of Health, Malaysia, is committed in monitoring and controlling this disease for many years. The objective of this study is to analyze the dengue outbreak pattern on a monthly basis in Subang Jaya in terms of their spatial dissemination and hotspot identification.
Previous studies have shown that apoptosis-like features are observed in Blastocystis spp., an intestinal protozoan parasite, when exposed to the cytotoxic drug metronidazole (MTZ). This study reports that among the four subtypes of Blastocystis spp. investigated for rate of apoptosis when treated with MTZ, subtype 3 showed the highest significant increase after 72h of in vitro culture when treated with MTZ at 0.1mg/ml (79%; p<0.01) and 0.0001mg/ml (89%; p<0.001). The close correlation between viable cells and apoptotic cells for both dosages implies that the pathogenic potential of these isolates has been enhanced when treated with MTZ. This suggests that there is a mechanism in Blastocystis spp. that actually regulates the apoptotic process to produce higher number of viable cells when treated. Apoptosis may not just be programmed cell death but instead a mechanism to increase the number of viable cells to ensure survival during stressed conditions. The findings of the present study have an important contribution to influence chemotherapeutic approaches when developing drugs against the emerging Blastocystis spp. infections.
The present review aimed to synthesise available evidence on the efficacy of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP) in treating uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in people living in malaria-endemic countries by performing a meta-analysis of relevant studies. We searched relevant studies in electronic data bases up to December 2011. Published results from randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing efficacy of DP with other artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs), or non-ACTs, or placebo were selected. The primary endpoint was 28-day and 42-day treatment failure. We identified 26 RCTs. Many of the studies included in the present review were of high quality. Overall, DP, artesunate-mefloquine (MAS3) and artemether-lumefentrine (AL) were equally effective for reducing the risk of recurrent parasitaemia. The PCR confirmed efficacy of DP (99.5%) and MAS3 (97.7%) at day 28 exceeded 90%; both are efficacious. Comparable efficacy was also found for DP (95.6%) and AL (94.3%). The present review has documented that DP is comparable to other currently used ACTs such as MAS3 and AL in treating uncomplicated falciparum malaria. The better safety profile of DP and once-daily dosage improves adherence and its fixed co-formulation ensures that both drugs are taken together. Our conclusion is that DP has the potential to become a first-line antimalarial drug.
Cross neutralisation of venoms by antivenom raised against closely-related species has been well documented. The spectrum of paraspecific protection of antivenom raised against Asiatic Naja and Bungarus (krait) venoms, however, has not been fully investigated. In this study, we examined the cross neutralisation of venoms from common Southeast Asian cobras and kraits by two widely used polyvalent antivenoms produced in India: Vins Polyvalent Antivenom (VPAV) and Bharat Polyvalent Antivenom (BPAV), using both in vitro and in vivo mouse protection assays. BPAV was only moderately effective against venoms of N. kaouthia (Thailand) and N. sumatrana, and either very weakly effective or totally ineffective against the other cobra and krait venoms. VPAV, on the other hand, neutralised effectively all the Southeast Asian Naja venoms tested, as well as N. naja, B. candidus and Ophiophagus hannah venoms, but the potency ranges from effective to weakly effective. In an in vivo rodent model, VPAV also neutralised the lethality of venoms from Asiatic Naja and B. candidus. In anesthetised rat studies, both antivenoms effectively protected against the N. kaouthia venom-induced cardio-respiratory depressant and neuromuscular blocking effects. Overall, our results suggest that VPAV could be used as alternative antivenom for the treatment of elapid envenomation in Southeast Asian regions including Malaysia, Thailand and certain regions of Indonesia.
Toxoplasma gondii is a public health risk in developing countries, especially those located in the tropics. Widespread infection may inflict a substantial burden on state resources, as patients can develop severe neurological defects and ocular diseases that result in lifelong loss of economic independence. We tested sera for IgG antibody from 493 eye patients in Malaysia. Overall age-adjusted seroprevalence was estimated to be 25% (95% CI: [21%, 29%]). We found approximately equal age-adjusted seroprevalence in Chinese (31%; 95% CI: [25%, 38%]) and Malays (29%; 95% CI: [21%, 36%]), followed by Indians (19%; 95% CI: [13%, 25%]). A logistic regression of the odds for T. gondii seroprevalence against age, gender, ethnicity and the occurrence of six types of ocular diseases showed that only age and ethnicity were significant predictors. The odds for T. gondii seroprevalence were 2.7 (95% CI for OR: [1.9, 4.0]) times higher for a patient twice as old as the other, with ethnicity held constant. In Malays, we estimated the odds for T. gondii seroprevalence to be 2.9 (95% CI for OR: [1.8, 4.5]) times higher compared to non-Malays, with age held constant. Previous studies of T. gondii seroprevalence in Malaysia did not explicitly adjust for age, rendering comparisons difficult. Our study highlights the need to adopt a more rigorous epidemiological approach in monitoring T. gondii seroprevalence in Malaysia.
Chemotherapy can cause immunosuppression, which may trigger latent intestinal parasitic infections in stools to emerge. This study investigated whether intestinal parasites can emerge as opportunistic infections in breast and colorectal cancer patients (n=46 and n=15, respectively) undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Breast cancer patients were receiving a 5-fluorouracil/epirubicin/cyclophosphamide (FEC) regimen (6 chemotherapy cycles), and colorectal cancer patients were receiving either an oxaliplatin/5-fluorouracil/folinic acid (FOLFOX) regimen (12 cycles) or a 5-fluorouracil/folinic acid (Mayo) regimen (6 cycles). Patients had Blastocystis hominis and microsporidia infections that were only present during the intermediate chemotherapy cycles. Thus, cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy should be screened repeatedly for intestinal parasites, namely B. hominis and microsporidia, as they may reduce the efficacy of chemotherapy treatments.
Routine use of selective media improves diagnosis of Burkholderia pseudomallei, but resources may be limited in endemic developing countries. To maximise yield in the relatively low-prevalence setting of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, B. pseudomallei selective agar and broth were compared with routine media for 154 respiratory specimens from patients with community-acquired disease. Selective media detected three additional culture-positive specimens and one additional melioidosis patient, at a consumables cost of US$75. Burkholderia pseudomallei was not isolated from 74 diabetic foot ulcer samples. Following careful local evaluation, focused use of selective media may be cost-effective.
Studies have reported that only a small fraction of fever cases in malaria-endemic areas are actually caused by malaria. Much greater emphasis is now needed to step up attention to the appropriate management of nonmalarial acute undifferentiated febrile illness. There is an overlap at the start of clinical manifestations of different febrile illnesses which makes it difficult to adhere to the clinical guidelines. The development of rigorous guidelines based on high quality research and a consensus from the core group of content experts are needed. An innovative financing mechanism for universal access to such appropriate management should also be considered.
Anopheles donaldi Reid, a member of the A. barbirostris species group, is a vector of human filariasis and probably malaria. The discovery of some old specimens of this species, collected in Kuala Lumpur town where it no longer occurs, together with evidence from the literature about past malaria in the town, suggest that donaldi may have played a part in transmitting that malaria.
Congenital malaria from Malaysia is reported here for the first time. It occurred in a baby boy born to a 16-year-old primigravida who contracted Plasmodium falciparum infection during pregnancy. She suffered malaria during the later stages of pregnancy and at parturition. The placenta was heavily infested with various asexual stages of P. falciparum. Gametocytes were not seen. Extensive search did not show other species. Cord blood showed very light infection with young trophozoites of P. falciparum. Serological studies using IFA technique showed specific IgG and IgM antibodies to P. falciparum in maternal cord and two early neonatal sera. These serum samples showed lower levels of IgG antibodies against P. vivax and P. malariae, but there were no specific IgM antibodies against these species. The value of specific IgM antibody in the diagnosis of congenital malaria is discussed.
Serological surveillance for up to two years of 114 patients with laboratory confirmed scrub typhus showed that antibody to Rickettsia tsutsugamushi as demonstrated by the indirect fluorescent antibody test is short-lived. The mean reversion time from mean peak titre (1:499) was 48.9 weeks and the calculated annual reversion rate to a titre less than 1:50 was 61%. This can be used to estimate attack rates based on point prevalence of antibody. The relationship between antibody prevalence and attack rates observed by other workers was confirmed using this model. The possible uses of the finding and its implications in Malaysia are briefly discussed.
In 1973, 2610 sera were collected from adults living in 22 localities in four states in Peninsular Malaysia and tested by IFAT for Plasmodium falciparum antibodies. A larger number of thin films were examined. The attack phase of the Malaria Eradication Programme (MEP) in these areas was started between 1968 and 1973. The results showed that the highest prevalence rates and geometrical mean reciprocal titres (CMRT) were among adults from Kelantan where the antibody prevalence varied greatly among the adults and there was active transmission in at least three areas. The values were lowest for Kedah. The P. falciparum antibody prevalence rates were higher than the parasite rates as revealed in single thin film examinations but a number of the positive sera were reactive only at low titres. The low concentration probably indicated the residual antibody from cured cases or past infections and cross reactions to P. vivax and P. malariae infections. The strong reactions probably indicated current P. falciparum transmission as shown by positive thin films. The present study showed that the antibody profile of adults, as shown by IFAT, is of considerable value in assessing the malaria situation in a given area and that it would be useful as a malariometric tool in epidemiological studies to evaluate the progress of malaria eradication/control programmes.
In vivo chloroquine resistance surveys, which allowed for detection of late recrudescing RI resistance, were conducted in three regions of Peninsular Malaysia, which were previously not recognized as having appreciable drug resistance. Among the 485 Plasmodium falciparum infections tested resistance rates ranged locally from 20% to 67% in those with parasitaemias over 1,000 per mm3, and 5% to 59% in all parasitaemias. The region found to have the most serious resistance was western Pahang. In one study a combination of chloroquine and pyrimethamine proved no more efficacious than chloroquine alone. Most of the resistance encountered was the late recrudescing RI type. There was no apparent correlation between drug resistance and Anopheles balabacensis as this species was not found despite intensive collections in two of the three main regions. There was no evidence of resistance among the 222 P. vivax and 35 P. malariae infections also tested.
14 strains of Getah virus were isolated from a variety of mosquito species collected in Sarawak between October 1968 and February 1970. Ten strains were isolated from C. tritaeniorhynchus 7 of them at K. Tijirak. Single strains were isolated from C. gelidus, C. pseudovishnui, M. bonneae/dives and Aanopheles species. 6 of the isolates were obtained in October 1968 when Japanese encephalitis, Tembusu and Sindbis viruses were also very active. The available evidence suggest that Getah virus in Sarawak is maintained in a cycle similar to that of Japanese encephalitis virus and involves C. tritaeniorhynchus, C. gelidus and domestic pigs.