METHODS: Phylogenetic analysis of locally acquired P. knowlesi infections, based on circumsporozoite, small subunit ribosomal ribonucleic acid (SSU rRNA), merozoite surface protein 1 and COX1 gene targets, was performed. The results were compared with the published sequences of regional isolates from Malaysia and Thailand.
RESULTS: Phylogenetic analysis of the circumsporozoite, SSU rRNA and merozoite surface protein 1 gene sequences for regional P. knowlesi isolates showed no obvious differentiation that could be attributed to their geographical origin. However, COX1 gene analysis showed that it was possible to differentiate between Singapore-acquired P. knowlesi infections and P. knowlesi infections from Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia.
CONCLUSION: The ability to differentiate between locally acquired P. knowlesi infections and imported P. knowlesi infections has important utility for the monitoring of P. knowlesi malaria control programmes in Singapore.