There were a spate of recent complaints of insect bites and the entomological specimens received from various sources were identified to be those of cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) and rat flea (Xenopsylla cheopis), the tropical bed-bug (Cimex hemipterus) and the dog louse (Heterodoxus spiniger). Only the fleas and the bed-bug are known to attack humans.
Forensic entomological specimens received by the Unit of Medical Entomology, IMR., from hospitals and the police in Malaysia in the last 3 decades (1972 - 2002) are reviewed. A total of 448 specimens were received. From these, 538 identifications were made with the following results: Eighteen species of cyclorrphaga flies were identified consisting of Chrysomya megacephala (Fabricius) 215 cases (47.99%), Ch. rufifacies (Masquart) 132 (29.46%), Ch. villeneuvi Patton 10 (2.23%), Ch. nigripes Aubertin 7 (1.56%), Ch. bezziana Villeneuve 4 (0.89%), Ch. pinguis (Walker) 1 (0.22%), Chrysomya sp. 47 (10.49%), Sarcophaga sp. 28 (6.25%), Lucilia sp. 21 (4.69%), Hermetia sp. 15 (3.35%), He. illucens (Linnaeus) 1 (0.22%), Hemipyrellia ligurriens (Wiedemann) 3 (0.67%), Hemipyrellia sp. 2 (0.45%), Ophyra spinigera 1 (0.22%), Ophyra sp. 6 (1.34%), Calliphora sp. 24 (5.36%), Synthesiomyia nudiseta (Wulp) 1 (0.22%) and Eristalis sp. 1 (0.22%). Other non - fly insect specimens are Pthirus pubis (Linnaeus) (Pubic louse) 2 (0.45%) and Coleoptera (Beetles) 1 (0.22%). Ch. megacephala and Ch. rufifacies were the commonest species found in cadavers from different ecological habitats. Sy. nudiseta is an uncommon species, thus far found only on cadavers from indoors. Sy. nudiseta is reported for the second time in Peninsular Malaysia. A total of 329 cases (73.44%) had a single fly infestation, 109 cases (24.33%) had double fly infestation and 10 cases (2.23%) had triple fly infestation. Five cases (1.12%) had eggs and 3 cases (0.67%) had larval stages that were not identifiable. No arthropods were retrieved from cadavers in 8 cases (1.79%). In conclusion, although large number of fly species were found on human cadavers, the predominant species are still those of Chrysomya.
Growing patterns of pediculocidal drug resistance towards head louse laid the foundation for research in exploring novel anti-lice agents from medicinal plants. In the present study, various extracts of Pongamia pinnata leaves were tested against the head louse Pediculus humanus capitis. A filter paper diffusion method was conducted for determining the potential pediculocidal and ovicidal activity of chloroform, petroleum ether, methanol, and water extracts of P. pinnata leaves. The findings revealed that petroleum ether extracts possess excellent anti-lice activity with values ranging between 50.3% and 100% where as chloroform and methanol extracts showed moderate pediculocidal effects. The chloroform and methanol extracts were also successful in inhibiting nymph emergence and the petroleum ether extract was the most effective with a complete inhibition of emergence. Water extract was devoid of both pediculocidal and ovicidal activities. All the results were well comparable with benzoyl benzoate (25% w/v). These results showed the prospect of using P. pinnata leave extracts against P. humanus capitis in difficult situations of emergence of resistance to synthetic anti-lice agents.
Domestic dogs, Canis lupus, have been one of the longest companions of humans and have introduced their own menagerie of parasites and pathogens into this relationship. Here, we investigate the parasitic load of 212 domestic dogs with fleas (Siphonaptera) chewing lice (Phthiraptera), and ticks (Acarina) along a gradient from rural areas with near-natural forest cover to suburban areas in Northern Borneo (Sabah, Malaysia). We used a spatially-explicit hierarchical Bayesian model that allowed us to impute missing data and to consider spatial structure in modelling dog infestation probability and parasite density. We collected a total of 1,968 fleas of two species, Ctenocephalides orientis and Ctenocephalides felis felis, from 195 dogs (prevalence, 92 %). Flea density was higher on dogs residing in houses made of bamboo or corrugated metal (increase of 40 % from the average) compared to timber or stone/compound houses. Host-dependent and landscape-level environmental variables and spatial structure only had a weak explanatory power. We found adults of the invasive chewing louse Heterodoxus spiniger on 42 dogs (20 %). The effect of housing conditions was opposite to those for fleas; lice were only found on dogs residing in stone or timber houses. We found ticks of the species Rhipicephalus sanguineus as well as Haemaphysalis bispinosa gp., Haemaphysalis cornigera, Haemaphysalis koenigsbergi, and Haemaphysalis semermis on 36 dogs (17 %). The most common tick species was R. sanguineus, recorded from 23 dogs. Tick infestations were highest on dogs using both plantation and forest areas (282 % increase in overall tick density of dogs using all habitat types). The infestation probability of dogs with lice and ticks decreased with elevation, most infestations occurred below 800 m above sea level. However, the density of lice and ticks revealed no spatial structure; infestation probability of dogs with these two groups revealed considerable autocorrelation. Our study shows that environmental conditions on the house level appeared to be more influential on flea and lice density whereas tick density was also influenced by habitat use. Infestation of dogs with Haemaphysalis ticks identified an important link between dogs and forest wildlife for potential pathogen transmission.
Trapping of small mammals was conducted at 5 study sites in Kuala Selangor Nature Park (KSNP) from 20-24 June 2005. A total of 11 animals comprising 2 species of rodents, Maxomys whiteheadi and Rattus exulans were caught from 3 sites, i.e from an area of mixed secondary forest and mangrove swamp; an area of mangrove swamp, and from an area of lalang fringing mangrove swamp. From these animals, the following 7 species of ectoparasites were found: Laelaps echidninus, Laelaps nuttalli, Ascoschoengastia indica, Leptotrombidium deliense, Hoplopleura pectinata, Hoplopleura pacifica and Polyplax spinulosa. One of the ectoparasites found, L. deliense is a known vector of scrub typhus and thus may pose potential health risks to visitors to KSNP.
Vector-borne infections are persistent public health threats worldwide. In recent years, a number of mosquito-borne viruses have emerged or re-emerged to cause major disease outbreaks. Other vector-borne pathogens, however, remain understudied and much neglected especially in the developing regions of the world including Southeast Asia. In this study, the brown dog tick Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu lato, cat louse Felicola subrostratus, and cat fleas Ctenocephalides felis and Ctenocephalides orientis collected from free-ranging cats and dogs in Malaysia were molecularly screened for the presence of Bartonella and Rickettsia bacteria, and Dipylidium tapeworm. Our results showed the presence of Bartonella clarridgeiea, Bartonella henselae (lineage Marseille and lineage Houston-1), and Rickettsia sp. in C. felis. We also detected Rickettsia asembonensis in C. orientis and R. sanguineus s.l. Additionally, this study provides the first documentation on a potentially new species of Dipylidium infecting F. subrostratus and C. felis. Our results highlight the role of ectoparasites from free-ranging animals including cats and dogs, in harboring multiple transmissible pathogens.
Rickettsioses and bartonelloses are arthropod-borne diseases of mammals with widespread geographical distributions. Yet their occurrence in specific regions, their association with different vectors and hosts and the infection rate of arthropod-vectors with these agents remain poorly studied in South-east Asia. We conducted entomological field surveys in the Lao PDR (Laos) and Borneo, Malaysia by surveying fleas, ticks, and lice from domestic dogs and collected additional samples from domestic cows and pigs in Laos. Rickettsia felis was detected by real-time PCR with similar overall flea infection rate in Laos (76.6%, 69/90) and Borneo (74.4%, 268/360). Both of the encountered flea vectors Ctenocephalides orientis and Ctenocephalides felis felis were infected with R. felis. The degrees of similarity of partial gltA and ompA genes with recognized species indicate the rickettsia detected in two Boophilus spp. ticks collected from a cow in Laos may be a new species. Isolation and further characterization will be necessary to specify it as a new species. Bartonella clarridgeiae was detected in 3/90 (3.3%) and 2/360 (0.6%) of examined fleas from Laos and Borneo, respectively. Two fleas collected in Laos and one flea collected in Borneo were co-infected with both R. felis and B. clarridgeiae. Further investigations are needed in order to isolate these agents and to determine their epidemiology and aetiological role in unknown fever in patients from these areas.
A total of 204 rodents comprising 14 host species from four different habitats were examined. Nine rodent species were trapped from the forest and another five species were trapped from the coastal, rice field and urban habitats. Rattus rattus diardii (67%) was the predominant rodent species examined. Fifty six (47.3%) rodents and shrews were found to be infested with at least one of the 20 species of ectoparasite recovered. Mites belonging to the family Trombiculidae were the predominant ectoparasite species recovered. Ticks belonging to the family Ixodidae were recovered mainly from the forest dwelling rodents. Polyplax spinulosa and Hoplopleura pacifica were the common lice species found infesting the urban rodents. Xenopsylla cheopis was the only flea species recovered. The following ecto-parasites have been incriminated as important vectors or as mechanical carriers for the transmission of zoonotic diseases: Ixodes granulatus, Dermacentor sp. Haemaphysalis sp., Amblyomma sp. Ascoschoengastia indica, Leptotrombidium deliense, Ornithonyssus bacoti, Laelaps nuttalli, H. pacifica, P. spinulosa and Xenopsylla cheopis. Urban and forest rodents were significantly higher in ecto-parasitic infestation, compared to rats from the other two habitats. However, there was no significant statistical association between male and female rodents infested with ectoparasites.