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 Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke

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: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Transport of molecular motors into cilia

28.03.2017 | Life Sciences

A novel hybrid UAV that may change the way people operate drones

28.03.2017 | Information Technology

NASA spacecraft investigate clues in radiation belts

28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>