METHODS/FINDINGS: Faecal samples were examined by formalin-ether sedimentation and trichrome staining techniques. Of 500 individuals, 8.7% (13/150) of Proto-Malay, 29.5% (41/139) of Negrito, and 18.5% (39/211) of Senoi were positive for E. histolytica/E. dispar/E. moshkovskii, respectively. The prevalence of this infection showed an age-dependency relationship, with higher rates observed among those aged less than 15 years in all ethnic groups studied. Multivariate analysis confirmed that not washing hands after playing with soils or gardening and presence of other family members infected with E. histolytica/E. dispar/E. moshkovskii were significant risk factors of infection among all ethnic groups. However, eating with hands, the consumption of raw vegetables, and close contact with domestic animals were identified as significant risk factors in Senoi.
CONCLUSIONS: Essentially, the findings highlighted that E. histolytica/E. dispar/E. moshkovskii parasites are still prevalent in Malaysia. Further studies using molecular approaches to distinguish the morphologically identical species of pathogenic, E. histolytica from the non-pathogenic, E. dispar and E. moshkovskii are needed. The establishment of such data will be beneficial for the public health authorities in the planning and implementation of specific prevention and control strategies of this infection in different Orang Asli ethnic groups in Malaysia.
METHODS: In a community-based study, faecal samples were collected from 605 participants and examined by wet mount, formalin-ether sedimentation, trichrome staining and nested multiplex PCR techniques. Demographic, socio-economic and environmental information was collected using a pre-tested questionnaire.
RESULTS: Overall, 324 (53.6%) of the samples were positive for Entamoeba cysts and/or trophozoites by microscopic examination. Molecular analysis revealed that 20.2%, 15.7% and 18.2% of the samples were positive for E. histolytica, E. dispar and E. moshkovskii, respectively. Multivariate analysis showed different sets of species-specific risk factors among these communities. Educational level was identified as the significant risk factor for E. histolytica; age and gender were the significant risk factors for E. moshkovskii; and sources of drinking water and consumption of unwashed vegetables were the significant risk factors for E. dispar. Moreover, living in coastal/foothill areas and presence of other infected family members were risk factors for both E. histolytica and E. moshkovskii infections.
CONCLUSION: The study reveals that Entamoeba spp. infection is highly prevalent among rural communities in Yemen, with E. histolytica, E. dispar and E. moshkovskii differentiated for the first time. Identifying and treating infected family members, providing health education pertinent to good personal and food hygiene practices and providing clean drinking water should be considered in developing a strategy to control intestinal parasitic infections in these communities, particularly in the coastal/foothill areas of the country.