A total of 753 serum samples from 6 institutions in 3 countries (Malaysia, Indonesia and India) were used to evaluate an immunochromatographic rapid dipstick test, Brugia Rapid, for diagnosis of Brugia malayi infection. The samples comprised sera from 207 microfilaria-positive individuals and 546 individuals from filaria non-endemic areas. The latter consisted of 70 individuals with soil-transmitted helminth infections, 68 with other helminth infections, 238 with protozoan infections, 12 with bacterial and viral infections and 158 healthy individuals. The dipstick is prepared with a goat anti-mouse antibody control line and a B. malayi recombinant-antigen test line. First, the dipstick is dipped into a well containing diluted patient serum, thus allowing specific anti-filarial antibody in the serum to react with the recombinant antigen. Then the dipstick is placed into an adjacent well containing reconstituted anti-human IgG4-gold. After 10 min, development of 2 red-purplish lines denotes a positive result and one line indicates a negative reaction. The overall results of the evaluation showed 97% sensitivity, 99% specificity, 97% positive predictive value and 99% negative predictive value. Brugia Rapid is thus a promising diagnostic tool for detection of B. malayi infection, and would be especially useful for the brugian filariasis elimination programme.
The Helicobacter pylori infection rate was determined in 124 consecutive patients with duodenal ulcers (DU), gastric ulcers (GU), duodenal erosions or gastric erosions diagnosed by endoscopy at a single institution in north-eastern peninsular Malaysia in 1996-97. Biopsies of the gastric antrum and body were subjected to the urease test, Gram staining of impression smears, culture and histopathological examination. Serology was undertaken on all patients using a locally validated commercial kit. Infection was defined as a positive result in at least one test. The infection rates were 20% (10/50), 21.2% (7/33), 16.7% (1/6) and 17.1% (6/35) in DU, GU, duodenal erosion and gastric erosion patients, respectively. The infection rate among Malays [7.0%, (6/86)] was lower than in non-Malays [47.4% (18/38)] (P < 0.001). There was a higher infection rate among males, who constituted 62.1% (77/124) of the sample. Seventy-eight patients (62.9%) were receiving non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and 33 patients (26.6%) were neither receiving NSAIDs nor were infected with H. pylori. The H. pylori infection rate among peptic ulcer patients in this predominantly Malay rural population appears to be the lowest reported in the world thus far. Empirical H. pylori eradication therapy in peptic ulcer patients is clearly not indicated in this community. The possible reasons for the low prevalence of H. pylori infection are discussed.
An IgG4 ELISA based on a novel recombinant antigen was evaluated for detection of Brugia malayi infection, using 2487 sera from various institutions: 2031 samples from Universiti Sains Malaysia, 276 blinded sera from 2 other institutions in Malaysia, 140 blinded sera from India and 40 blinded sera from Thailand. These sera were from various groups of individuals, i.e., microfilaraemics, chronic patients, endemic normals, non-endemic normals and individuals with other parasitic and bacterial infections. Based on a cut-off optical density reading of 0.300, the IgG4 ELISA demonstrated specificity rates of 95.6-100%, sensitivity rates of 96-100%, positive predictive values of 75-100% and negative predictive values of 98.9-100%. These evaluation studies demonstrated the high specificity and sensitivity of this test for the detection of active B. malayi infection. Thus, the IgG4 ELISA would be very useful as a tool in diagnosis and in elimination programmes for brugian filariasis.
A serosurvey was conducted in 1995-97 among 1596 febrile patients from 8 health centres in Malaysia for antibodies against Orientia tsutsugamushi (OT), Rickettsia typhi (RT) and TT118 spotted fever group rickettsiae (SFGR) by using an indirect immunoperoxidase assay. A total of 51.4% patients had antibody against at least 1 of those rickettsiae. Antibody to SFGR was most prevalent (42.5%), followed by RT (28.1%) and OT (24.9%). The seroprevalences of antibodies to SFGR, RT or OT alone were 12.4, 3.6 and 4.3%, respectively. Antibodies against more than 1 species of rickettsiae were presence in 31.1% of the patients, suggesting the possibility of co-infection, previous exposures or serological cross-reactivities. Seroprevalence of the various rickettsiae varied according to locality, with SFGR antibodies being the most prevalent in most areas. There was no significant association of prevalence of rickettsial antibody with gender. The seroprevalence of OT, SFGR and RT increased with patient age but an increase of antibody titre with age was not significant. Those working in the agricultural sectors had significantly higher seroprevalence of OT, SFGR and RT than those not related with agricultural activities. Scrub typhus remains a public health problem with an estimated annual attack rate of 18.5%. Tick typhus and murine typhus as shown in this serosurvey appear much more widespread than scrub typhus in this country.
Forty-nine isolates of Burkholderia pseudomallei from sporadic cases of melioidosis in Malaysia over the past 18 years were examined by BamHI ribotyping and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) of XbaI digests of total deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Twenty-four patients had septicaemic melioidosis with a mortality of 70%; mortality in the non-septicaemic disease was 16%. Five ribotype patterns were identified, 2 of which accounted for 90% of all isolates. PFGE revealed a number of different strains within these ribotypes, but some pairs of isolates from unrelated cases gave closely similar DNA profiles. These results are in agreement with Australian studies which showed a high prevalence of a few ribotypes of B. pseudomallei which are further divisible by genotyping, in areas where melioidosis is endemic.
Surveys were conducted of adult and immature mosquitoes in an area undergoing oil palm development in north Sarawak. Point prevalence data from 2 sites were collected annually, coinciding with annual phases of forest clearing, burning/cultivation, and maintenance. Major habitat perturbation during the forest/clearing transition shifted the major mosquito faunal equilibrium in terms of species composition, relative density and occurrence. Analyses of variance showed that the mean numbers of 4 species of Anopheles decreased significantly after forest clearing. Relative densities of immature stages decreased after forest clearing, but A. letifer and Culex tritaeniorhynchus remained relatively unchanged after the second year. Comparisons with the pre-development forest stage showed that the reductions in person-biting rates, adult survival and combined entomological inoculation rates (EIR) of A. donaldi and A. letifer decreased the risk of malaria transmission by 90% over the 4 years period. Concomitant reductions in EIR and annual malaria incidence were also correlated. This study highlighted the 'law of unintended consequences', since 2 contrasting effects were observed: reduction of malaria vectors but concomitant increase of dengue vectors.
Intestinal permeability of 246 early primary schoolchildren at 2 schools (106 of whom were infected with intestinal helminths) was assessed by using the lactulose/mannitol differential absorption test. The ratio of the urinary recoveries of lactulose and mannitol was determined after oral administration of a standard solution of the 2 sugars. Assessment of intestinal permeability was repeated on 100 infected children after treatment and on a cohort of 68 uninfected children. Infected and uninfected groups were compared with respect to baseline lactulose/mannitol ratio (L/M1) and change in lactulose/mannitol ratio between assessments (delta L/M). The correlations between baseline intensity of infection and L/M1, and between fall in intensity and delta L/M, were evaluated. Based on a crude index of socioeconomic status, each child was assigned to one of 3 socioeconomic groups; all but 3 children belonged to either groups 2 or 3. Trichuris trichiura and Ascaris lumbricoides were the 2 predominant infections; the hookworm infection rate was relatively low. The results suggested that helminthiasis exerted only a marginal effect on intestinal permeability, the impact of which in children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds was negligible in comparison with the cumulative effects of other factors.
A modified nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method for detection of Plasmodium falciparum, P. vivax and P. malariae was combined with a simple blood collection and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) extraction method and evaluated in Malaysia. Finger-prick blood samples from 46 hospital patients and 120 individuals living in malaria endemic areas were spotted on filter papers and dried. The simple Chelex method was used to prepare DNA templates for the nested PCR assay. Higher malaria prevalence rates for both clinical (78.2%) and field samples (30.8%) were obtained with the nested PCR method than by microscopy (76.1% and 27.5%, respectively). Nested PCR was more sensitive than microscopy in detecting mixed P. falciparum and P. vivax infections, detected 5 more malaria samples than microscopy on the first round of microscopical examination, and detected malaria in 3 microscopically negative samples. Nested PCR failed to detect parasite DNA in 2 microscopically positive samples, an overall sensitivity of 97.4% compared to microscopy. The nested PCR method, when coupled with simple dried blood spot sampling, is a useful tool for collecting accurate malaria epidemiological data, particularly in remote regions of the world.
To determine whether glucose turnover is increased in acute falciparum malaria compared to enteric fever in children, steady-state 6,6-D2-glucose turnover was measured in 9 Malaysian children with uncomplicated malaria (6 males and 3 females; median age 10 years, body weight 22 kg) and in 12 with uncomplicated enteric fever (8 males and 4 females; median age 10 years, body weight 24 kg) in acute illness, after quinine (5 malaria patients) and in convalescence. Baseline plasma glucose concentrations in malaria and enteric fever were similar (all values are medians [ranges in brackets]) 5.6 [3.2-11.3] vs. 5.5 [4.2-8.0] mmol/L), as were serum insulin levels (5.6 [0.4-26.5] vs. 6.8 [1.1-22.5] milliunits/L; P > 0.4). Glucose turnover in the malaria patients was higher than in patients with enteric fever (6.27 [2.71-6.87] vs. 5.20 [4.50-6.08] mg/kg.min; P = 0.02) and in convalescence (4.74 [3.35-6.79] mg/kg.min; P = 0.05 vs. acute malaria study), and fell after quinine together with a rise in serum insulin (P = 0.03). Basal plasma lactate concentrations were higher in enteric fever than in malaria (3.4 [1.8-6.4] vs. 0.8 [0.3-3.8] mmol/L; P < 0.0001) and correlated inversely with glucose turnover in this group (rs = -0.60; n = 12; P = 0.02). These data suggest that glucose turnover is 20% greater in malaria than in enteric fever. This might reflect increased non-insulin-mediated glucose uptake in falciparum malaria and/or impaired gluconeogenesis in enteric fever, and may have implications for metabolic complications and their clinical management in both infections.
A polymerase chain reaction assay based on the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (PCR-ELISA) has been developed to detect Brugia malayi infection in an area of low endemicity in Malaysia. Blood samples from 239 subjects were tested: 192 amicrofilaraemic individuals, 14 microfilaraemic persons and 3 chronic elephantiasis cases from endemic areas and 30 city-dwellers (non-endemic controls). PCR products were examined by ELISA and Southern hybridization. In the PCR-ELISA, digoxigenin-labelled PCR products were hybridized to a biotin-labelled probe. This was followed by incubation in streptavidin-coated microtitre wells and detection using anti-digoxigenin-peroxidase and ABTS [2,2'-azinobis(3-ethylbenzthiazoline-6-sulphonic acid)]. All microfilaraemic samples were positive by PCR-ELISA and Southern hybridization and all samples from non-endemic subjects and chronic elephantiasis patients were negative. The PCR-ELISA detected 12 times as many B. malayi infections as did thick blood film examination. Nineteen of the 194 samples from the endemic area gave positive results by both PCR-ELISA and Southern hybridization, and an additional 5 samples were positive by PCR-ELISA only. The PCR-ELISA was specific and sensitive, detected more infections, and was more reproducible than Southern hybridization.
Stool examination of 249 early primary schoolchildren at 2 schools in north-eastern peninsular Malaysia revealed that 73 were infected with Ascaris lumbricoides, 103 with Trichuris trichiura, and 18 with hookworms. Infected children were treated with a single dose of 400 mg of albendazole. The school attendance records during a 60 d period before treatment and 2 consecutive 60 d periods after treatment were examined. The absenteeism rate did not improve more among infected children after treatment than it did among the uninfected control children. The correlation between worm intensity and the number of lost school-days was poor. There was no evidence that intestinal helminthiasis caused school absenteeism among this group of children.
Uncomplicated falciparum malaria patients were randomly assigned to receive either 25 mg/kg chloroquine (CHL) over 3 d or a statim dose of 25 mg/kg sulfadoxine (SDX) plus 1.25 mg/kg pyrimethamine (PYR). Patients were followed up for 28 d and the parasite response graded according to World Health Organization criteria. Overall resistance to CHL was 63.3% and 47.4% to SDX/PYR. RI, RII and RIII rates were 9.1%, 42.4% and 12.1% for CHL and 10.5%, 21.1% and 15.8% for SDX/PYR, respectively. Degree and rates of resistance to CHL were significantly correlated with pre-treatment parasite density, but not those to SDX/PYR. Plasma CHL and SDX/PYR levels were within the reported ranges and were not significantly different in patients with sensitive and resistant responses.
Fifty cases of septicaemic melioidosis were reviewed. There was a preponderance of disease among males (male:female ratio 3.2:1) and those aged over 30 years. The presenting clinical features were very varied and not pathognomonic, ranging from fever, cough and septicaemia to fulminant septicaemia and shock. Pulmonary involvement was recorded in 58% of the patients. Skin and soft tissue sepsis was seen in 24%, but many had signs and symptoms of multiorgan involvement. Associated underlying illness was identified in 76% of patients, diabetes mellitus being the commonest (38%), while 34% had more than one predisposing factor. The mortality of 65% in our series is a reflection of the less than satisfactory status of the diagnosis and therapy of septicaemic melioidosis. Only 24% of our patients received appropriate empirical antibiotic therapy. A high index of suspicion of melioidosis in endemic areas and the use of appropriate empirical antimicrobial therapy would be a step towards reducing the high mortality rate.
The prevalence of human skeletal muscle sarcocystosis in Malaysia was determined by serial examination of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded sections of tongue tissues obtained from consecutive, routine autopsies of subjects aged 12 years or more. Of 100 tongues examined, 21% were found to contain Sarcocystis; 66 cysts were found. The number of cysts per case varied from 1 to 13. In one case, 5 cysts were found in a single tissue section. The age range of positive cases was from 16 to 57 years (mean 37.7 years). Prevalence did not differ with regard to race, sex or occupation. The prevalence of human muscular sarcocystosis in our study was higher than that reported elsewhere. Preferential localization of Sarcocystis in tongue or head and neck and/or genuinely high prevalence in south-east Asia are possible explanations for this observation.