Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New research confirms potential deadly nature of emerging monkey malaria species in humans

11.09.2009
Researchers in Malaysia have identified key laboratory and clinical features of an emerging new form of malaria infection.

Researchers in Malaysia have identified key laboratory and clinical features of an emerging new form of malaria infection. The research, funded by the Wellcome Trust, confirms the potentially deadly nature of the disease.

Malaria kills more than a million people each year. It is caused by malaria parasites, which are injected into the bloodstream by infected mosquitoes. Of the four species of malaria that commonly cause disease in humans, Plasmodium falciparum, found most commonly in Africa, is the most deadly. P. malariae, found in tropical and sub-tropical regions across the globe, has symptoms that are usually less serious.

Recently, researchers at the University Malaysia Sarawak, led by Professors Balbir Singh and Janet Cox-Singh, showed that P. knowlesi, a malaria parasite previously thought to mainly infect only monkeys - in particular long-tailed and pig-tailed macaques found in the rainforests of South-east Asia - was widespread amongst humans in Malaysia. Subsequent reports in neighbouring South-east Asian countries have led to the recognition of P. knowlesi as the fifth cause of malaria in humans.

Now, in a study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, Professors Singh and Cox-Singh, together with colleagues from University Malaysia Sarawak, Kapit Hospital and the University of Western Australia, have published the first detailed prospective study of the clinical and laboratory features of human P. knowlesi infections.

"P. knowlesi malaria can easily be confused with P. malariae since these two parasites look similar by microscopy, but the latter causes a benign form of malaria," says Professor Singh. "In fact, because the P. knowlesi parasites reproduce every twenty-four hours in the blood, the disease can be potentially fatal, so early diagnosis and appropriate treatment is essential. Understanding the most common features of the disease will be important in helping make this diagnosis and in planning appropriate clinical management."

The researchers initially recruited over 150 patients admitted to Kapit Hospital in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo, between July 2006 and January 2008, who had tested positive with a blood film slide for Plasmodium species. Using molecular detection methods, P. knowlesi was found to be by far the most common infection amongst these patients, accounting for over two-thirds of all cases.

As with other types of malaria in humans, P. knowlesi infections resulted in a wide spectrum of disease. Most cases of infection were uncomplicated and easily treated with chloroquine and primaquine, two commonly used anti-malarial drugs. However, around one in ten patients had developed complications and two died. Complications included breathing difficulties and kidney problems (including kidney failure in a small number of cases), which are also common in severe P. falciparum cases. Although the researchers saw a case fatality rate of just under 2 per cent, which makes P. knowlesi malaria as deadly as P. falciparum malaria, they stress that an accurate fatality rate is hard to determine given the relatively small number of cases studied so far.

All of the P. knowlesi patients - including those with uncomplicated malaria - had a low blood platelet count. In other human forms of malaria, this would only be expected in less than eight out of ten cases. In addition, the P. knowlesi platelet counts tended to be significantly lower than for other malarias. However, even though blood platelets are essential for blood clotting, no cases of excessive bleeding or problems with clotting were identified. The researchers believe the low blood platelet count could be used as a potential feature for diagnosis of P. knowlesi infections.

Recently, there have been cases of European travellers to Malaysia and an American traveller to the Philippines being admitted into hospital with knowlesi malaria following their return home.

"The increase in tourism in South-east Asia may mean that more cases are detected in the future, including in Western countries," says Professor Singh. "Clinicians assessing a patient who has visited an area with known or possible P. knowlesi transmission should be aware of the diagnosis, clinical manifestations, and rapid and potentially serious course of P. knowlesi malaria."

Reference
Daneshvar C, et al. Clinical and laboratory features of human Plasmodium knowlesi infections. Clin Infect Dis. 2009;49(6):852-60.
Contact
Craig Brierley
Senior Media Officer
Wellcome Trust
T +44 (0)20 7611 7329
E c.brierley@wellcome.ac.uk
Notes for editors
The Wellcome Trust is the largest charity in the UK. It funds innovative biomedical research, in the UK and internationally, spending over £600 million each year to support the brightest scientists with the best ideas. The Wellcome Trust supports public debate about biomedical research and its impact on health and wellbeing.

Resni Mona | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.wellcome.ac.uk
http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/News/Media-office/Press-releases/2009/WTX056446.htm
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT

nachricht Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>