Epidemiology of Plasmodium knowlesi malaria in north-east Sabah, Malaysia

family clusters and wide age distribution

Bridget Barber, Timothy William, Prabakaran Dhararaj, F Anderios, Matthew Grigg, Tsin Yeo, Nicholas Anstey

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    Abstract

    Background: The simian parasite Plasmodium knowlesi is a common cause of human malaria in Malaysian Borneo, with a particularly high incidence in Kudat, Sabah. Little is known however about the epidemiology in this substantially deforested region. 

    Methods: 
    Malaria microscopy records at Kudat District Hospital were retrospectively reviewed from January 2009-November 2011. Demographics, and PCR results if available, were recorded for each positive result. Medical records were reviewed for patients suspected of representing family clusters, and families contacted for further information. Rainfall data were obtained from the Malaysian Meteorological Department. 

    Results: “Plasmodium malariae” mixed or mono-infection was diagnosed by microscopy in 517/653 (79%) patients. Of these, PCR was performed in 445 (86%) and was positive for P. knowlesi mono-infection in 339 (76%). Patients with knowlesi malaria demonstrated a wide age distribution (median 33, IQR 20–50, range 0.7-89 years) with P. knowlesi predominating in all age groups except those <5 years old, where numbers approximated those of Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. Two contemporaneous family clusters were identified: a father with two children (aged 10–11 years); and three brothers (aged one-11 years), all with PCR-confirmed knowlesi malaria. Cases of P. knowlesi demonstrated significant seasonal variation, and correlated with rainfall in the preceding three to five months. 

    Conclusions: 
    Plasmodium knowlesi is the most common cause of malaria admissions to Kudat District Hospital. The wide age distribution and presence of family clusters suggest that transmission may be occurring close to or inside people’s homes, in contrast to previous reports from densely forested areas of Sarawak. These findings have significant implications for malaria control. Prospective studies of risk factors, vectors and transmission dynamics of P. knowlesi in Sabah, including potential for human-to-human transmission, are needed. 
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number401
    Pages (from-to)1-8
    Number of pages8
    JournalMalaria Journal
    Volume11
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

    Fingerprint

    Plasmodium knowlesi
    Plasmodium malariae
    Malaysia
    Age Distribution
    Malaria
    Epidemiology
    District Hospitals
    Polymerase Chain Reaction
    Microscopy
    Borneo
    Plasmodium vivax
    Plasmodium falciparum
    Infection
    Fathers
    Medical Records
    Siblings
    Parasites
    Age Groups
    Demography
    Prospective Studies

    Cite this

    @article{ca6fab69d5d840a988ddf7ebfbc700ab,
    title = "Epidemiology of Plasmodium knowlesi malaria in north-east Sabah, Malaysia: family clusters and wide age distribution",
    abstract = "Background: The simian parasite Plasmodium knowlesi is a common cause of human malaria in Malaysian Borneo, with a particularly high incidence in Kudat, Sabah. Little is known however about the epidemiology in this substantially deforested region. Methods: Malaria microscopy records at Kudat District Hospital were retrospectively reviewed from January 2009-November 2011. Demographics, and PCR results if available, were recorded for each positive result. Medical records were reviewed for patients suspected of representing family clusters, and families contacted for further information. Rainfall data were obtained from the Malaysian Meteorological Department. Results: “Plasmodium malariae” mixed or mono-infection was diagnosed by microscopy in 517/653 (79{\%}) patients. Of these, PCR was performed in 445 (86{\%}) and was positive for P. knowlesi mono-infection in 339 (76{\%}). Patients with knowlesi malaria demonstrated a wide age distribution (median 33, IQR 20–50, range 0.7-89 years) with P. knowlesi predominating in all age groups except those <5 years old, where numbers approximated those of Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. Two contemporaneous family clusters were identified: a father with two children (aged 10–11 years); and three brothers (aged one-11 years), all with PCR-confirmed knowlesi malaria. Cases of P. knowlesi demonstrated significant seasonal variation, and correlated with rainfall in the preceding three to five months. Conclusions: Plasmodium knowlesi is the most common cause of malaria admissions to Kudat District Hospital. The wide age distribution and presence of family clusters suggest that transmission may be occurring close to or inside people’s homes, in contrast to previous reports from densely forested areas of Sarawak. These findings have significant implications for malaria control. Prospective studies of risk factors, vectors and transmission dynamics of P. knowlesi in Sabah, including potential for human-to-human transmission, are needed. ",
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    author = "Bridget Barber and Timothy William and Prabakaran Dhararaj and F Anderios and Matthew Grigg and Tsin Yeo and Nicholas Anstey",
    year = "2012",
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    Epidemiology of Plasmodium knowlesi malaria in north-east Sabah, Malaysia : family clusters and wide age distribution. / Barber, Bridget; William, Timothy; Dhararaj, Prabakaran; Anderios, F; Grigg, Matthew; Yeo, Tsin; Anstey, Nicholas.

    In: Malaria Journal, Vol. 11, 401, 2012, p. 1-8.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Epidemiology of Plasmodium knowlesi malaria in north-east Sabah, Malaysia

    T2 - family clusters and wide age distribution

    AU - Barber, Bridget

    AU - William, Timothy

    AU - Dhararaj, Prabakaran

    AU - Anderios, F

    AU - Grigg, Matthew

    AU - Yeo, Tsin

    AU - Anstey, Nicholas

    PY - 2012

    Y1 - 2012

    N2 - Background: The simian parasite Plasmodium knowlesi is a common cause of human malaria in Malaysian Borneo, with a particularly high incidence in Kudat, Sabah. Little is known however about the epidemiology in this substantially deforested region. Methods: Malaria microscopy records at Kudat District Hospital were retrospectively reviewed from January 2009-November 2011. Demographics, and PCR results if available, were recorded for each positive result. Medical records were reviewed for patients suspected of representing family clusters, and families contacted for further information. Rainfall data were obtained from the Malaysian Meteorological Department. Results: “Plasmodium malariae” mixed or mono-infection was diagnosed by microscopy in 517/653 (79%) patients. Of these, PCR was performed in 445 (86%) and was positive for P. knowlesi mono-infection in 339 (76%). Patients with knowlesi malaria demonstrated a wide age distribution (median 33, IQR 20–50, range 0.7-89 years) with P. knowlesi predominating in all age groups except those <5 years old, where numbers approximated those of Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. Two contemporaneous family clusters were identified: a father with two children (aged 10–11 years); and three brothers (aged one-11 years), all with PCR-confirmed knowlesi malaria. Cases of P. knowlesi demonstrated significant seasonal variation, and correlated with rainfall in the preceding three to five months. Conclusions: Plasmodium knowlesi is the most common cause of malaria admissions to Kudat District Hospital. The wide age distribution and presence of family clusters suggest that transmission may be occurring close to or inside people’s homes, in contrast to previous reports from densely forested areas of Sarawak. These findings have significant implications for malaria control. Prospective studies of risk factors, vectors and transmission dynamics of P. knowlesi in Sabah, including potential for human-to-human transmission, are needed. 

    AB - Background: The simian parasite Plasmodium knowlesi is a common cause of human malaria in Malaysian Borneo, with a particularly high incidence in Kudat, Sabah. Little is known however about the epidemiology in this substantially deforested region. Methods: Malaria microscopy records at Kudat District Hospital were retrospectively reviewed from January 2009-November 2011. Demographics, and PCR results if available, were recorded for each positive result. Medical records were reviewed for patients suspected of representing family clusters, and families contacted for further information. Rainfall data were obtained from the Malaysian Meteorological Department. Results: “Plasmodium malariae” mixed or mono-infection was diagnosed by microscopy in 517/653 (79%) patients. Of these, PCR was performed in 445 (86%) and was positive for P. knowlesi mono-infection in 339 (76%). Patients with knowlesi malaria demonstrated a wide age distribution (median 33, IQR 20–50, range 0.7-89 years) with P. knowlesi predominating in all age groups except those <5 years old, where numbers approximated those of Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. Two contemporaneous family clusters were identified: a father with two children (aged 10–11 years); and three brothers (aged one-11 years), all with PCR-confirmed knowlesi malaria. Cases of P. knowlesi demonstrated significant seasonal variation, and correlated with rainfall in the preceding three to five months. Conclusions: Plasmodium knowlesi is the most common cause of malaria admissions to Kudat District Hospital. The wide age distribution and presence of family clusters suggest that transmission may be occurring close to or inside people’s homes, in contrast to previous reports from densely forested areas of Sarawak. These findings have significant implications for malaria control. Prospective studies of risk factors, vectors and transmission dynamics of P. knowlesi in Sabah, including potential for human-to-human transmission, are needed. 

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