Document Detail

Plasmodium knowlesi: from Malaysia, a novel health care threat.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22475654     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Data-Review    
Epidemic foci of Plasmodium knowlesi malaria have been identified during the past ten years in Malaysia, in particular in the States of Sarawak and Sabah (Malaysia Borneo), and in the Pahang region (peninsular Malaysia). Based on a review of the available recent international literature, the authors underline the importance of molecular biology examinations, polymerase chain reactions (PCR), performed with primers specific for P. knowlesi, since the current microscopic examination (haemoscope) may fail to distinguish P. knowlesi from Plasmodium malariae, due to the very similar appearance of the two parasites. P. knowlesi has been described as the causal agent of life-threatening and lethal forms of malaria: its clinical picture is more severe when compared with that of P. malariae, since the disease is characterized by greater parasitaemia, as opposed to that documented in the course of P. malariae disease. The most effective carrier is Anopheles leucosphyrus: this mosquito is attracted by both humans and monkeys. Among primates, the natural hosts of P. knowlesi are Macaca fascicularis and Macaca nemestina, while Saimiri scirea and Macaca mulatta, which cannot become infected in nature, may be useful in experimental models. When underlining the potentially severe evolution, we note the key role played by prompt disease recognition, which is expected to be more straightforward in patients monitored in endemic countries at high risk, but should be carefully implemented for subjects being admitted to hospital in Western countries suffering from the typical signs and symptoms of malaria, after travelling in South-East Asia where they were engaged in excursions in the tropical forest (trekking, and similar outdoor activities). In these cases, the diagnosis should be prompt, and suitable treatment should follow. According to data in the literature, in non-severe cases chloroquine proves very effective against P. knowlesi, achieving the disappearance of signs and symptoms in 96% of cases after only 24 hours after treatment start. In the light of the emerging epidemiological data, P. knowlesi should be added to Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium ovale, P. malariae, and Plasmodium falciparum, as the fifth aetiological agent of malaria. During the next few years, it will become mandatory to plan an appropriate surveillance program of the epidemiological evolution, paying also great attention to the clinical features of patients affected by P. knowlesi malaria, which are expected to worsen according to the time elapsed; some studies seem to point out greater severity according to increased parasitaemia, paralleling the increased interhuman infectious passages of the plasmodium.
S Sabbatani; S Fiorino; R Manfredi
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Le infezioni in medicina : rivista periodica di eziologia, epidemiologia, diagnostica, clinica e terapia delle patologie infettive     Volume:  20     ISSN:  1124-9390     ISO Abbreviation:  Infez Med     Publication Date:  2012 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-04-05     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9613961     Medline TA:  Infez Med     Country:  Italy    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  5-11     Citation Subset:  IM    
Infectious Diseases, University of Bologna, S. Orsola-Malpighi Hospital, Bologna; Department of Internal Medicine, Budrio General Hospital, Budrio, Italy.
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