Three cases of muscular sarcocystosis from West Malaysia are reported. The morphological features of the parasites from these three cases are similar to the eight cases previously reported from this country. A review of this total of eleven cases of muscular sarcocystosis showed that they were all incidental findings, where man acted as intermediate hosts of as yet unknown Sarcocystis spp. These cases of muscular sarcocystosis were probably zoonotic in origin and associated with close contact with definitive hosts (both domestic and wild animals) thus permitting the contamination of food and drink with sporocysts shed by these definitive hosts. These infections were probably acquired locally as most of the subjects were born in Malaysia and none had ever left the country to stay elsewhere. Eight of the eleven cases reported were associated with malignancies, especially of the tongue and nasopharynx.
Anthropometric and parasitological data from cross-sectional studies of two groups of primary school children (Group I of Indian origin, 325 boys and 259 girls, age = 7 years; Group II of Malay origin, 284 boys and 335 girls, age = 7-9 years) from two different ecological settings in Peninsular Malaysia were examined for epidemiological evidence of an association between hookworm infection and protein-energy malnutrition. In both ecological groups, significant weight, height and haemoglobin deficits were observed in children with hookworm infection after adjustment for covariables including Ascaris and Trichuris infection intensities and other child and family characteristics. The deficits were related to the intensity of infection based on egg counts. These findings suggest that hookworm may be an important determinant of chronic protein-energy malnutrition, as well as anaemia, in areas where diets are generally inadequate in protein, energy, and iron. Well-controlled intervention studies are needed to confirm these observations.
An epidemiological survey of filariasis and malaria in Banggi Island and Upper Kinabatangan, Sabah, revealed microfilarial rates of 7.2% and 8.6% respectively and malaria prevalence of 9.7% and 16.9% respectively. Wuchereria bancrofti was a rural nocturnally periodic type with a periodicity index of 137.2 and average peak hour at 01.32 hrs; 9.2% of microfilaremic carriers as compared to 2.4% amicrofilaremic subjects had clinical filariasis. The Plasmodium falciparum: P. vivax: P. malariae ratios were 1:1:0.17 and 1.4:1:0.12 for Banggi and Upper Kinabatangan respectively. Anopheles flavirostris was incriminated as a new malaria vector in Banggi where the well-known primary malaria vector is An. balabacensis. The latter was also found for the first time to be a vector of rural W. bancrofti in Upper Kinabatangan. Experimental feeding also showed that L3 larvae of W. bancrofti were recovered at low rates from An. balabacensis. Aedes togoi appeared to be a suitable laboratory vector for W. bancrofti.
The present paper reviews the health problems of rural agricultural workers in Malaysia. As is common with most developing countries, the agricultural sector forms the pillar of the national economy in Malaysia, the major products being rubber, palm oil, rice and timber. Most of the agricultural workers, who form the largest occupational group in the country, live in the rural areas under poor socioeconomic and environmental conditions. Their general health problems include large families, substandard housing, overcrowding, lack of piped water supply and sanitary excreta disposal, malnutrition and prevalent diseases such as cholera, typhoid, dysentery and parasitic infections. The specific occupational health problems include infectious diseases, agricultural accidents, pesticide poisonings, physical hazards, keratitis nummularis and snake-bites. The organization of agricultural health services in developing countries is also discussed.
A survey of 4.112 primary school children living in and around Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, revealed that 12.9% of the children were infested with Pediculus humanus capitis. Indians (28.3%) and Malays (18.9%) have a higher prevalence than Chinese (4.6%). The higher prevalence among Indians and Malays correlates well with their lower socio-economic status in the community; long hair also contributes to the higher rates of pediculosis among them. The prevalence rate was found to be related to socio-economic status, length of hair, family size, age, crowding and personal hygiene. Treatment with 0.2% and 0.5% malathion in coconut oil gave cure rates of 93% and 100%. Treatment with gammexane and actellic at 0.5% concentration gave a cure rate of 100% against adults and nymphs of Pediculus humanus capitis.
A report is presented of seven patients with acute septicaemic melioidosis seen at the University Hospital, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, during 1976-1979. All had associated disorders which rendered them more susceptible to infection. As prognosis depends on early diagnosis it is important that this disease be considered in the differential diagnosis of a septicaemic illness in such patients from endemic areas. The treatment of choice is a combination of tetracyclines and chloramphenicol, initially used in massive doses, and continued for at least six month to prevent relapses.
Filarial infections in 447 cats and 68 dogs from six endemic areas of human filariasis in Peninsular Malaysia were studied as part of the study on the zoonotic transmission of subperiodic Brugia malayi infection. 20.6% of cats and 57.4% of dogs had filarial infections. Cats were infected with subperiodic B. malayi, B. pahangi, Dirofilaria repens and D. immitis. Dogs were infected with B. pahangi and D. immitis. 6.9% of the cats had subperiodic B. malayi infection. The zoonotic implications of these infections and their impact on the filariasis control programme in Peninsular Malaysia were discussed.
The first case report of Yersinia enterocolitica infection in Malaysia is presented. The patient was a 34-year-old Indian woman who had a four day history of fever, abdominal pain and cough and loose stools for 2 days. She was diagnosed and treated as a case, initially of bacillary dysentery, and then of urban typhus. She responded to tetracycline therapy. Bacteriological examination eventually resulted in the isolation and identification of Yersinia enterocolitica, serotype 0:3. This case indicates the presence of the infection in Malaysia although the incidence is probably very low. This appears to be the situation in 'warm' countries.
Hereditary haemolytic anaemias have been found to be a significant cause of haemolytic disease in West Malaysia. This paper reports a micromapping study of 916 healthy Malay males from June to August 1983 to determine the distribution of the relevant thalassaemia genes in West Malaysia. Beta thalassaemia trait was found in 2.18%, HbE 3.49% and alpha thal2 (alpha+) trait in 26%. Of the sixteen transfusion dependant Malay thalassaemic patients at the Paediatric Unit, National University of Malaysia, eight patients had HbE beta thalassaemia and the rest are beta thalassaemia major; these patients who are transfusion dependant receive inadequate treatment. Prevention is the only resort.
Serum levels were determined in urban Chinese, Malays and Indians and in the forest-residing Orang Asli of age group 11 to 50. There was no difference in the IgM levels in the Chinese, Indians and Malays, but the serum IgG was elevated (p less than 0.05) in the Malays and the serum IgA level (p less than 0.01) in the Indians, when compared to the other two races. In contrast to the three other races there was a significant elevation of all three immunoglobulins in the Orang Asli. The mean immunoglobulin levels of the urban Malaysians are comparable to those reported for Caucasians residing in temperate countries. However, in the Orang Asli, the immunoglobulin levels were higher than observed for populations of the temperate regions but are comparable to the levels reported for several other populations of the tropical regions. Females had higher IgM levels than males in the Chinese, Indian and Malays but in the Orang Asli there was no sex difference in the immunoglobulin levels.
In Malysia, the proportion of children fully immunized againest diphtheria is generally low (20%). On the other hand, the Schick conversion rate rises with age and reaches 90% by 11 years of age. It is noted that asymptomatic carriers are an important epidemiological factor in diphtheria and that carrier rates for school children are high (prevalence of 7.5% while the rate of coloization with C. diphtheriae over a period of one year was 30%). Although immunization protects against clinical diphtheria, it does not prevent the carrier state. Thus, for the control of diphtheria, one should aim for 100% compliance. Some suggestions as to how higher levels of immunity may be achieved are described.
During a routine medical examination of 5280 government employees (2736 males, 2544 females; age range 17 to 66 years; 3386 Chinese, 1252 Malays, 508 Indians and 134 other ethnic groups) diabetes was found in 31 (0.59%). The prevalence was higher in males (0.95%) than in females (0.20%). The highest prevalence was in the age-group 50 to 59 years (5.4%); at ages 30 to 66 years, the overall prevalence was 2.18%. The prevalence of diabetes is higher in Indians (2.76%) than in Chinese (0.30%) and Malays (0.48%); the difference is statistically significant, as it also is in the age-group 30 to 66 years (Indians 6.36%, Malays 1.39%, Chinese 0.9%). Of the 31 cases, only four were previously known and only nine were overwieght. The possible reasons for the higher prevalence of diabetes in Indians are discussed.
One hundred and thirty-two newly diagnosed Asian diabetic patients (39 Malay, 30 Chinese and 63 Indians) have been studied in Kuala Lumpur. The highest proportion of diabetic patients were Indian and the lowest were Chinese. Vascular complications were equally common in Asian diabetic patients as in Europeans; coronary heart disease was relatively more common in Indians and cerebral vascular disease in Chinese. Twenty percent of all Asian diabetic patients requiring admission to hospital also had coronary heart disease, 9% had cerebral vascular disease and 8% had gangrene or ulceration of the feet. In Kuala Lumpur, diabetes is a very important risk factor for coronary heart disease: 17% of all patients admitted to the General Hospital with coronary heart disease were already diabetic.
A survey of the freshwater snails, Pila scutata and Bellamyia ingallsiana, as food consumed by the local population was carried out in Peninsular Malaysia. Of these two species the first is preferred; the sizes favoured are between 25--40 mm. Pila snails were found to be consumed by the three communities, viz. Malay, Chinese and Indian, in different ways. The various methods of preparing the snails for consumption are described. P. scutata is an intermediate host of the rat-lung worm, Angiostrongylus malaysiensis. As this worm presumably is the causative agent of human eosinophilic meningoencephalitis, the eating habits of the three races in consuming the snail in relation to the epidemiology of the disease was also discussed.
Four cases of Hb S were seen between Jan. 1976 and June 1976; three of them were newly discovered while the fourth was previously diagnosed. Out of the four cases, two were Malays and the other Indians. The family members of one Malay case were investigated. Six members had Hb S and three had Hb CoSp. Association of Hb CoSp and Hb S was seen in two of the members. Clinically they were healthy.