The first natural infection of Plasmodium knowlesi in humans was recorded in 1965 in peninsular Malaysia. Extensive research was then conducted and it was postulated that it was a rare incident and that simian malaria will not be easily transmitted to humans. However, at the turn of the 21st century, knowlesi malaria was prevalent throughout Southeast Asia and is life threatening. Thus, a longitudinal study was initiated to determine the vectors, their seasonal variation and preference to humans and macaques.
Lesions associated with two species of tapeworms within the digestive tract of wild-caught specimens of the bull shark, Carcharhinus leucas, and the sicklefin weasel shark, Hemigaleus microstoma, from Malaysian Borneo are described. Portions of the glandular stomach and pyloric gut with parasites were removed and fixed in 10% formalin buffered in sea water. Whole mounts, histological sections of tissues with and without worms in situ, and scanning electron microscopy images of detached worms were examined. Both species of cestodes belonged to the trypanorhynch family Tentaculariidae. Heteronybelinia estigmena was found in large numbers parasitizing the pyloric gut of C. leucas; an unidentified tentaculariid was found in relatively small numbers in both the glandular stomach and pyloric gut of H. microstoma. Both species burrowed their scoleces deeply in the mucosa and attached via hooked tentacles and unciniform microtriches of the scolex. The lesions induced by the parasites were marked in both sharks and ranged from acute necrotizing to chronic granulomatous gastroenteritis. Regenerative hyperplasia and intestinal metaplasia of gastric epithelium were also present. The severity and character of pathology was causally linked to the intensity of infection, the attachment mode of the parasites, and to the anatomophysiological relationships within the gut of the host shark.