Since dengue was first documented in Malaysia in 1902 and made notifiable in 1973, the disease pattern has changed from major outbreaks every four years to one of increasing trend yearly. The largest outbreak was seen in 1996 with 14,255 dengue cases reported and 32 deaths. The case fatality rate varied from a high of 10.43% in 1985 when dengue type 3 was the predominant type to a low of 1.29% when dengue type 1 predominated. Severe disease patterns have been observed with dengue 2 and 3 serotypes in the country. The clinical spectrum has also been changing and multisystem involvement with more severe manifestations are being seen. Liver involvement has been documented since 1987. Fulminant hepatitis with encephalopathy can resemble Reye's syndrome. Dengue type 3 has been isolated from liver biopsy specimens. Neurological manifestations can very from irritability, convulsions, coma to peripheral neuritis. The isolation of dengue viruses from cerebrospinal fluids recently strongly suggests that dengue viruses can be neurovirulent. Adult respiratory distress syndrome was seen in three children admitted with shock. Deaths were more frequent in children in the early period but since 1982, over 50% of deaths have occurred in patients over the age of 15 years.
The occurrence of post-operative wound infection was studied respectively over an eight month period in the University Hospital, Kuala Lumpur. One hundred and seventy four (3.4%) surgical wounds out of 5129 operations became infected. The clean wound infection rate was 2.9%, rising to 5.4% and 12.2% for clean-contaminated and contaminated surgical wounds respectively. Of the wound infections, 80.8% occurred within the first two weeks post-operatively. Bacteriological studies revealed that the commonest bacterial isolates were Staphylococcus aureus (36.1%), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (15.4%) and Klebsiella species (10.1%).
Morphotaxonomy based on phenotypic traits of immature hard ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) is a skill challenge and has prompted many inexperienced acarologists to adopt DNA-based methods for identifying and discriminating the species. The aim of this study is therefore to utilize COI gene for verifying the morphological status of Haemaphysalis ticks in Peninsular Malaysia. A total of 19 on-host ticks collected from four localities were first identified using specific illustrated taxonomic keys that lead to the genus of Haemaphysalis. Genotypic traits of tick species were then verified molecularly based on cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) gene using polymerase chain reaction and direct sequencing. Clustering analysis was carried out by constructing a phylogenetic tree to determine the genetic variation and diversity of local Haemaphysalis ticks. Based on external morphological characterizations, all immature ticks were successfully identified down to the genus level only. Molecular analysis of the genotypic using COI gene revealed 16 individuals (84%) as Haemaphysalis hystricis, and three individuals as H. humerosa with sequence homology of 97-99 and 86-87%, respectively. Haemaphysalis hystricis were clustered in their respective monophyletic group in the phylogeny trees with a bootstrap of 100%. Furthermore, a low intraspecific variation (<0.3%) was observed among Malaysian H. hystricis but high interspecific value (>15%) recorded. This study morphologically and molecularly confirms the presence of H. hystricis in Malaysia and the findings will add value to the existing knowledge in identification of ticks in this country.
The history and epidemiology of human leptospirosis in Malaysia from 1925 to 2012 are described. Previous studies have demonstrated that leptospirosis is an endemic disease in Malaysia occurring in both urban and rural locations. The number of cases has risen dramatically since the Ministry of Health Malaysia highlighted leptospirosis as a notifiable disease in 2010, with reported cases increasing from 248 cases in 2004 to 3604 in 2012. The incidence of infection among the population suggests that occupation, sex, age, ethnic background, water recreational activities, and sporting events are risk factors. A robust surveillance system is now in place to monitor temporal and spatial changes in the incidence and prevalence of infection and to identify risk areas and disease behavior. Despite extensive studies over the past decade, there is a still a need to describe local serovars in host carriers and the human population, with the view to develop an effective vaccine against leptospirosis.
The aim of this paper was to review the literature on suicide ideation and intent in Malaysia. PsyINFO, PubMed, Medline databases from 1845 to 2012 and detailed manual search of local official reports from Ministry of Health, Malaysian Psychiatric Association and unpublished dissertations from 3 local universities providing postgraduate psychiatric training, were included in the current review. A total of 13 studies on suicide ideation and intent in Malaysia were found and reviewed. The review showed that research on suicide ideation and intent in Malaysia was fragmented and limited, at best. Approximately 50% of existing research on suicide ideation and intent simply focused on sociodemographic data. Fifty-four percent of the data were obtained from hospitals. No study has been conducted on treatment and interventions for suicide ideation and intent. None of the studies used validated suicide scales. The impact of culture was rarely considered. It was clear from the review that for researchers, clinicians and public health policy makers to gain a better understanding of suicide behavior especially suicide ideation and intent in Malaysia, more systematic and empirically stringent methodologies and research frameworks need to be used.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Malaysian women. Nonetheless, in Malaysia there is a marked geographical difference in the incidence of breast cancer with advanced stage of presentation. The breast clinic in Kuala Lumpur Hospital diagnosed approximately 150 to 200 new cases of breast cancer a year. This number, however, represents only 12.0% to 15.0% of all breast disease seen annually in Kuala Lumpur Hospital. Between 1998 and 2001, of a total of 774 cases of newly diagnosed breast cancer in Kuala Lumpur Hospital, only 5.0% (40/774) were impalpable breast cancers. The peak age group for the three major ethnic distributions (Malay, Chinese, and Indian) ranged from 40 to 49 years. The mean tumor size at presentation was 5.4 cm (range: 1-20 cm), and the advanced stage of breast cancer is observed to be highest among the Malay ethnic group. Although it appears that the incidence of breast cancer in Malaysia is lower than in the developed countries, the difference may be attributable to the difficulty in getting accurate statistics and to underreporting of cases. Nonetheless, from the available data, it is clear that breast cancer continues to be the most common cancer among Malaysian women. The strongly negative social-cultural perception of the disease, made worse by the geographical isolation of many rural areas, accounts for the delayed diagnosis and the often advanced stage of disease at presentation. A prospective population-based study is called for to verify the demographic patterns of breast cancer, particular in Malaysia and other developing countries. The findings of such a study may have implications for future breast screening programs and for facilitating the understanding of differing risks of breast cancer among women around the world.
A survey was carried out to determine the prevalence of bronchial asthma and their contributing risk factors among Orang Asli subgroups living in Malaysia using IUATLD questionnaire and spirometry without being discriminatory towards age or gender. Of the 1171 distributed questionnaires, 716 (61.1%) comprising of 62.7% Semai Pahang, 51.3% Temiar, 74.2% Mah Meri, 65.6% Semai Perak, 53.6% Temuan, 53.8% Semelai, 61.1% Jakun and 67.4% Orang Kuala subgroups completed their questionnaire and were included in the data analysis. Participants comprised 549 (76.7%) children and 167 (23.3%) adults, age between 1 to 83 years old, 304 (42.5%) males and 412 (57.5%) females. The overall prevalence of bronchial asthma was 1.4% of which 1.5% was children, 1.3% adults, 1.0% male and 1.7% female, respectively. Of the 8 subgroups surveyed, 5 out of 10 confirmed asthma cases were Semai Pahang, followed by 3 cases among Mah Meri, and one case each among Temuan and Semai Perak subgroups, respectively. This study also demonstrated that the prevalence of self-reported and confirmed bronchial asthma tend to be higher among those who had close contact with pets, smoking individuals and among those who had a family history of asthma.
A literature review of 16 papers on occupational injury research in Malaysia published during a 13-year period from 2000-2013 was carried out. The objective of this review and article selection was based on relevance to the research theme and mention of areas for future research. Most of the publications have focused on descriptive epidemiology, management practices, worker's knowledge, attitude, training, and rehabilitation services. The transportation, agriculture and construction sectors were found to be the most hazardous sectors and would benefit the most from Occupational Safety & Health (OSH) research and interventions. There is a strong need to develop a national injury surveillance system and also a mechanism to ensure adherence to the Occupational Safety & Health Act(OSHA) 1994. Detailed description and identification of risk factors for occupational injury in the environment, including machinery and equipment used was generally lacking. Future research on occupational injury should focus on surveillance to determine the magnitude of occupational injuries, determination of risk factors, identifying costeffective interventions (such as enforcement of OSHA regulations), and assessment of rehabilitation services. Relevant government agencies, universities, corporate sector and occupational safety organizations need to play a proactive role in identifying priority areas and research capacity building. Funding for occupational injury should be commensurate with the magnitude of the problem.
Two hundred and seventy one original published materials related to tobacco use were found in a search through a database dedicated to indexing all original data relevant to Medicine and Health in Malaysia from 1996 - 2015. A total of 147 papers were selected and reviewed on the basis of their relevance and implications for future research. Findings were summarised, categorised and presented according to epidemiology, behaviour, clinical features and management of smoking. Most studies are cross-sectional with small sample sizes. Studies on smoking initiation and prevalence showed mixed findings with many small scale studies within the sub-groups. The majority of the studies were related to factors that contribute to initiation in adolescents. Nonetheless, there are limited studies on intervention strategies to curb smoking among this group. There is a lack of clinical studies to analyse tobacco use and major health problems in Malaysia. In addition, studies on the best treatment modalities on the use of pharmacotherapy and behavioural counselling have also remained unexplored. Reasons why smokers do not seek clinic help to quit smoking need further exploration. A finding on the extent of effort carried out by healthcare providers in assisting smokers to make quit attempts is not known. Studies on economic and government initiatives on policies and tobacco use focus mainly on the effects of cigarette bans, increased cigarettes taxes and the influence of the tobacco industry. Recommendations are given for the government to increase efforts in implementing smoke-free legislation, early and tailored interventions. Clinical studies in this area are lacking, as are opportunities to research on ways to reduce smoking initiation age and the most effective quit smoking strategies.
The zoonotic malaria species Plasmodium knowlesi has become the main cause of human malaria in Malaysian Borneo. Deforestation and associated environmental and population changes have been hypothesized as main drivers of this apparent emergence. We gathered village-level data for P. knowlesi incidence for the districts of Kudat and Kota Marudu in Sabah state, Malaysia, for 2008-2012. We adjusted malaria records from routine reporting systems to reflect the diagnostic uncertainty of microscopy for P. knowlesi. We also developed negative binomial spatial autoregressive models to assess potential associations between P. knowlesi incidence and environmental variables derived from satellite-based remote-sensing data. Marked spatial heterogeneity in P. knowlesi incidence was observed, and village-level numbers of P. knowlesi cases were positively associated with forest cover and historical forest loss in surrounding areas. These results suggest the likelihood that deforestation and associated environmental changes are key drivers in P. knowlesi transmission in these areas.
The predictors of severe disease or death were determined for 85 melioidosis patients in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Most of the patients were male, > 40 years old, and diabetic. Severe disease or death occurred in 28 (32.9%) cases. Lower lymphocyte counts and positive blood cultures were significant independent predictors of severe disease, but age, presentations with pneumonia, inappropriate empirical antibiotics, or flagellin types of the infecting isolates were not. Knowledge of local predictors of severe disease is useful for clinical management.