This study reported the ant species that were recovered from monkey carcasses in three different ecological habitats in Malaysia. The study was conducted from 9 May - 10 October 2007, 6 May - 6 August 2008 and 26 May - 14 July 2009 in forested area (Gombak, Selangor), coastal area (Tanjong Sepat, Selangor) and highland area (Bukit Cincin, Pahang), respectively. Monkey carcass was used as a model for human decomposition in this study. A total of 4 replicates were used in each of the study sites. Ants were observed to prey on eggs, larvae, pupae and newly emerged flies. This study found that ant species could be found at all stages of decomposition, indicating that ants were not a significant indicator for faunal succession. However, different species of ants were obtained from monkey carcasses placed in different ecological habitats. Cardiocondyla sp. was only found on carcasses placed in the coastal area; while Pheidole longipes, Hypoponera sp. and Pachycondyla sp. were solely found on carcasses placed in the highland area. On the other hand, Pheidologeton diversus and Paratrechina longicornis were found in several ecological habitats. These data suggests that specific ant species can act as geographic indicators for different ecological habitats in forensic entomology cases in Malaysia.
This study was carried out in an oil palm plantation in Bandar Baharu, Kedah using monkey carcasses and focuses in documenting the decomposition and dipteran colonization sequences in 50 days. This is the first study of Diptera associated with the exploitation of carcasses conducted in the north of peninsular Malaysia during the dry and wet seasons thereat. During the process of decomposition in both seasons, five phases of decay were recognized namely fresh, bloated, active decay, advance decay and dry remain. In this decomposition study, biomass loss of carcass occurred rapidly during the fresh to active decay stage due to the colonization and feeding activity of the Diptera larvae. The duration of the fresh and bloated stages of decay were the same in wet and dry seasons but later stages of decay were markedly shorter during the wet season. Twenty one species of adult Diptera were identified colonizing carcasses in the study period. Among the flies from the family Calliphoridae, Chrysomya megacephala Fabricius and Chrysomya nigripes Aubertin were recognized as the earliest arrivals on the first day of exposure. Adult Ch. nigripes was abundant for approximately two weeks after placement of the carcasses. By comparing the percentages of adults collected during the study period, the calliphorids abundance in percentages in wet season was 50.83%, but in dry season, the abundance was only about 35.2%. In contrast, the percentage of Sphaeroceridae in wet season was only 3.33%, but in the dry season, the abundance was 20.8%. Dipteran in family Phoridae, Piophilidae, Sepsidae, Drosophilidae and Dolichopodidae colonized the carcasses for a long period of time and were categorized as long term colonizers.
The simian parasite Plasmodium knowlesi is now the commonest cause of malaria in Malaysia and can rapidly cause severe and fatal malaria. However, microscopic misdiagnosis of Plasmodium species is common, rapid antigen detection tests remain insufficiently sensitive and confirmation of P. knowlesi requires polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Thus available point-of-care diagnostic tests are inadequate. This study reports the development of a simple, sensitive, colorimetric, high-throughput loop-mediated isothermal amplification assay (HtLAMP) diagnostic test using novel primers for the detection of P. knowlesi. This assay is able to detect 0.2 parasites/μL, and compared with PCR has a sensitivity of 96% for the detection of P. knowlesi, making it a potentially field-applicable point-of-care diagnostic tool.
Five local Malaysian patients with clinical manifestations consistent with lymphatic filariasis were referred to our medical centre between 2003 and 2006. Although no microfilariae (mf) were detected in their nocturnal blood samples, all were diagnosed to have lymphatic filariasis on the basis of clinical findings and positive serology results. PCR on their blood samples revealed that two of the patients were infected with Brugia pahangi, an animal filarial worm hitherto not known to cause human disease in the natural environment. All the patients were successfully treated with anti-filarial drugs: four patients were treated with a combination of diethylcarbamazine (DEC) and albendazole, and one with doxycycline. Four of them were residents of Petaling Jaya, a residential suburbia located 10 km southwest of Kuala Lumpur city, Malaysia. The fifth patient was a frequent visitor of the suburbia. This suburbia has no history or record of B. malayi infection. The most likely vector of the worm was Armigeres subalbatus as extensive entomological surveys within the suburbia revealed only adult females of this mosquito species were infected with B. pahangi larvae. Wild monkeys caught in the suburbia were free from B. pahangi mf, but domestic cats were mf positive. This suggests that infected cats might be the source of the zoonotic infection in the suburbia.