METHODS: In 2013, a total of 1744 dried blood spots (DBS) were obtained from residents of 8 longhouses who appeared healthy. Subsequently, 251 venous blood samples were collected from residents of 2 localities in 2014 based on the highest number of submicroscopic cases from prior findings. Thin and thick blood films were prepared from blood obtained from all participants in this study. Microscopic examination were carried out on all samples and a nested and nested multiplex PCR were performed on samples collected in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
RESULTS: No malaria parasites were detected in all the Giemsa-stained blood films. However, of the 1744 samples, 29 (1.7%) were positive for Plasmodium vivax by PCR. Additionally, of the 251 samples, the most prevalent mono-infection detected by PCR was Plasmodium falciparum 50 (20%), followed by P. vivax 39 (16%), P. knowlesi 9 (4%), and mixed infections 20 (8%).
CONCLUSIONS: This research findings conclude evidence of Plasmodium by PCR, among samples previously undetectable by routine blood film microscopic examination, in local ethnic minority who are clinically healthy. SMM in Belaga district is attributed not only to P. vivax, but also to P. falciparum and P. knowlesi. In complementing efforts of programme managers, there is a need to increase surveillance for SMM nationwide to estimate the degree of SMM that warrant measures to block new transmission of malaria.
METHODS: In a systematic study of the presentation and course of patients with acute P. knowlesi infection, clinical and laboratory data were collected from previously untreated, nonpregnant adults admitted to the hospital with polymerase chain reaction-confirmed acute malaria at Kapit Hospital (Sarawak, Malaysia) from July 2006 through February 2008.
RESULTS: Of 152 patients recruited, 107 (70%) had P. knowlesi infection, 24 (16%) had Plasmodium falciparum infection, and 21 (14%) had Plasmodium vivax. Patients with P. knowlesi infection presented with a nonspecific febrile illness, had a baseline median parasitemia value at hospital admission of 1387 parasites/microL (interquartile range, 6-222,570 parasites/microL), and all were thrombocytopenic at hospital admission or on the following day. Most (93.5%) of the patients with P. knowlesi infection had uncomplicated malaria that responded to chloroquine and primaquine treatment. Based on World Health Organization criteria for falciparum malaria, 7 patients with P. knowlesi infection (6.5%) had severe infections at hospital admission. The most frequent complication was respiratory distress, which was present at hospital admission in 4 patients and developed after admission in an additional 3 patients. P. knowlesi parasitemia at hospital admission was an independent determinant of respiratory distress, as were serum creatinine level, serum bilirubin, and platelet count at admission (p < .002 for each). Two patients with knowlesi malaria died, representing a case fatality rate of 1.8% (95% confidence interval, 0.2%-6.6%).
CONCLUSIONS: Knowlesi malaria causes a wide spectrum of disease. Most cases are uncomplicated and respond promptly to treatment, but approximately 1 in 10 patients develop potentially fatal complications.
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