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Plasmodium knowlesi in travellers, update 2014


Müller, Mattia; Schlagenhauf, Patricia (2014). Plasmodium knowlesi in travellers, update 2014. International Journal of Infectious Diseases, 22:55-64.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Since the initial discovery of Plasmodium knowlesi in Malaysia, cases have been reported from several neighbouring countries. Tourism has also resulted in an increasing number of cases diagnosed in Europe, America, and Oceania. In this review we focus on the risk of the travel-associated acquisition of P. knowlesi malaria.
METHODS: A search of the literature in PubMed was carried out to identify articles and literature on the distribution of P. knowlesi infections in Southeast Asia and details of its acquisition and importation by travellers to other continents. The cut-off date for the search was December 1, 2013. Search words used were: "Plasmodium knowlesi", "Plasmodium knowlesi infections", "Plasmodium knowlesi travellers", "Plasmodium knowlesi prevalence", "Plasmodium knowlesi host", "Plasmodium knowlesi vector" "Plasmodium knowlesi RDT", and "Plasmodium knowlesi Malaysia". Traveller numbers to Malaysia were obtained from the Tourism Malaysia website.
RESULTS: A total of 103 articles were found. Using a selection of these and others identified from the reference lists of the papers, we based our review on a total of 66 articles.
RESULTS: P. knowlesi malaria appears to be the most common malaria species in Malaysian Borneo and is also widely distributed on the Malaysian mainland. Furthermore, locally transmitted cases of P. knowlesi malaria have been reported in Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Myanmar, Indonesian Borneo, and Cambodia. Two cases have been reported from non-endemic countries in Asia (Japan and Taiwan) in people with a history of travel to Malaysia and the Philippines. Twelve cases were imported to their home countries by travellers from other continents: two from the USA, two from the Netherlands, two from Germany, and one each from Spain, France, Sweden, Finland, Australia, and New Zealand. In most cases, the infection was associated with a trip to or near forested areas. The symptoms were fever (n=12), headache (n=6), chills (n=6), nausea (n=4), myalgia (n=3), back pain (n=3), abdominal problems (n=1), anorexia (n=2), fatigue (n=2), malaise (n=1), arthralgia (n=1), sore throat (n=1) vomiting (n=2), and jaundice (n=1). All patients were treated successfully with currently available antimalaria treatments. The identification of the pathogen by microscopy can be problematic due to the morphological similarity of P. knowlesi to Plasmodium malariae.
CONCLUSION: P. knowlesi appears to be a threat not only to the local population in Malaysia, but also to the estimated 25 million annual tourists and occupational travellers to Malaysia, especially those who visit rural, forested areas of the country. The P. knowlesi risk is not limited to Malaysia, and travellers from Southeast Asia presenting with possible malaria should be considered for a diagnostic work-up that includes P. knowlesi.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Since the initial discovery of Plasmodium knowlesi in Malaysia, cases have been reported from several neighbouring countries. Tourism has also resulted in an increasing number of cases diagnosed in Europe, America, and Oceania. In this review we focus on the risk of the travel-associated acquisition of P. knowlesi malaria.
METHODS: A search of the literature in PubMed was carried out to identify articles and literature on the distribution of P. knowlesi infections in Southeast Asia and details of its acquisition and importation by travellers to other continents. The cut-off date for the search was December 1, 2013. Search words used were: "Plasmodium knowlesi", "Plasmodium knowlesi infections", "Plasmodium knowlesi travellers", "Plasmodium knowlesi prevalence", "Plasmodium knowlesi host", "Plasmodium knowlesi vector" "Plasmodium knowlesi RDT", and "Plasmodium knowlesi Malaysia". Traveller numbers to Malaysia were obtained from the Tourism Malaysia website.
RESULTS: A total of 103 articles were found. Using a selection of these and others identified from the reference lists of the papers, we based our review on a total of 66 articles.
RESULTS: P. knowlesi malaria appears to be the most common malaria species in Malaysian Borneo and is also widely distributed on the Malaysian mainland. Furthermore, locally transmitted cases of P. knowlesi malaria have been reported in Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Myanmar, Indonesian Borneo, and Cambodia. Two cases have been reported from non-endemic countries in Asia (Japan and Taiwan) in people with a history of travel to Malaysia and the Philippines. Twelve cases were imported to their home countries by travellers from other continents: two from the USA, two from the Netherlands, two from Germany, and one each from Spain, France, Sweden, Finland, Australia, and New Zealand. In most cases, the infection was associated with a trip to or near forested areas. The symptoms were fever (n=12), headache (n=6), chills (n=6), nausea (n=4), myalgia (n=3), back pain (n=3), abdominal problems (n=1), anorexia (n=2), fatigue (n=2), malaise (n=1), arthralgia (n=1), sore throat (n=1) vomiting (n=2), and jaundice (n=1). All patients were treated successfully with currently available antimalaria treatments. The identification of the pathogen by microscopy can be problematic due to the morphological similarity of P. knowlesi to Plasmodium malariae.
CONCLUSION: P. knowlesi appears to be a threat not only to the local population in Malaysia, but also to the estimated 25 million annual tourists and occupational travellers to Malaysia, especially those who visit rural, forested areas of the country. The P. knowlesi risk is not limited to Malaysia, and travellers from Southeast Asia presenting with possible malaria should be considered for a diagnostic work-up that includes P. knowlesi.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute (EBPI)
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:May 2014
Deposited On:13 Feb 2015 11:49
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 10:56
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1201-9712
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijid.2013.12.016
PubMed ID:24631521

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