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Concept: Kelantan


BACKGROUND: In the first part of this study, we investigated the prevalence and associated key factors of soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections among Orang Asli children in rural Malaysia; an alarming high prevalence and five key factors significantly associated with infections were reported. Part 2 of this study aims to evaluate the knowledge, attitude and practices (KAP) on STH infections among Orang Asli in Peninsular Malaysia. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was carried out among 215 households from 13 villages in Lipis district, Pahang, Malaysia. Demographic and socioeconomic information of the participants and their KAP on STH were collected by using a pre-tested questionnaire. RESULTS: Overall, 61.4% of the participants had prior knowledge about intestinal helminths with a lack of knowledge on the transmission (28.8%), signs and symptoms (29.3%) as well as the prevention (16.3%). Half of the respondents considered STH as harmful, while their practices to prevent infections were still inadequate. Significant associations between the KAP and age, gender, educational and employment status, family size, and household monthly income were reported. Moreover, significantly lower prevalence of STH infections was reported among children of respondents who wear shoes/slippers when outside the house (72.8%; 95% CI= 62.6, 80.5 vs 87.0%; 95% CI= 81.4, 91.1), wash their hands before eating (32.4%; 95% CI= 24.3, 42.2 vs 51.4%; 95% CI= 44.7, 60.1), and wash their hands after defecation (47.8%; 95% CI= 35.7, 57.1 vs 69.2%; 95% CI= 63.7, 78.7) as compared to their counterparts. Multiple logistic regression analysis indicated that the educational level of the respondents was the most important factor significantly associated with the KAP on STH among this population. CONCLUSION: This study reveals inadequate knowledge, attitude and practices on STH infections among Orang Asli in rural Malaysia. Hence, there is a great need for a proper health education programme and community mobilisation to enhance prevention and instil better knowledge on STH transmission and prevention. This is crucial for an effective and sustainable STH control programme to save the lives and future of the most vulnerable children in rural Malaysia.

Concepts: Hookworm, Parasitic worm, Pahang, Orang Asli, Kelantan, Logistic regression, Regression analysis, Intestinal parasite


The flagellate protozoan parasite, Giardia intestinalis, is widely distributed throughout the world with a high prevalence in developing countries in the tropics and subtropics, including Malaysia. Approximately 200 million people are infected with the parasite globally, with 500,000 new cases reported annually. This cross-sectional study was conducted among three tribes of Orang Asli communities in Selangor, Perak and Pahang states of Malaysia. The main objective was to determine the prevalence of and risk factors for giardiasis. Stool samples were collected from 500 individuals aged between 2 and 74years (males=219, females=281). The samples were examined with formalin-ether sedimentation and trichrome staining techniques. Socioeconomic data were collected through a pre-tested questionnaire. The overall prevalence of giardiasis was 20.0% with the highest prevalence in the Proto-Malays (33.3%) followed by Negritos (20.1%) and Senois (10.4%). The positive cases showed a decrease with increasing age and most of the positive cases were observed in individuals less than 24years old. Males had significantly higher prevalence than females (χ(2)=5.283, P=0.022). Logistic regression analysis of the overall population studied and the Senoi tribe confirmed that being a child aged less than 15years, being male, the consumption of raw vegetables and the presence of other family members infected with G. intestinalis were the main risk factors for giardiasis. The presence of other family members infected with G. intestinalis was the only risk factor highlighted in the Proto-Malay and Negrito tribes. Diarrhoea was significantly associated with giardiasis. However, the cause and effect relationship has yet to be determined. Thus, screening family members and treating the infected individuals are the main strategies that should be adopted by the public health authority in combating this infection in Orang Asli communities as well as health education regarding good personal and food hygiene practises.

Concepts: Protozoa, Kelantan, Senoi, Negrito, Giardia lamblia, Pahang, Epidemiology, Orang Asli


The taxonomy of poorly known Mesagraecia Ingrisch, 1998 is reviewed. A new species of Mesagraecia spine-headed katydid (Conocephalinae: Agraeciini) is described from Bukit Larut, Perak, Peninsular Malaysia: Mesagraecia larutensis sp. n. A key to species is also presented.

Concepts: Federated Malay States, Kelantan, Ipoh, Selangor, Peninsular Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia, Perak


Copy number variations (CNVs) are genomic structural variations that result from the deletion or duplication of large genomic segments. The characterization of CNVs is largely underrepresented, particularly those of indigenous populations, such as the Orang Asli in Peninsular Malaysia. In the present study, we first characterized the genome-wide CNVs of four major native populations from Peninsular Malaysia, including the Malays and three Orang Asli populations; namely, Proto-Malay, Senoi, and Negrito (collectively called PM). We subsequently assessed the distribution of CNVs across the four populations. The resulting global CNV map revealed 3102 CNVs, with an average of more than 100 CNVs per individual. We identified genes harboring CNVs that are highly differentiated between PM and global populations, indicating that these genes are predominantly enriched in immune responses and defense functions, including APOBEC3A_B, beta-defensin genes, and CCL3L1, followed by other biological functions, such as drug and toxin metabolism and responses to radiation, suggesting some attributions between CNV variations and adaptations of the PM groups to the local environmental conditions of tropical rainforests.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Kelantan, Senoi, Genetics, Orang Asli, Copy number variation, Malaysia


Japanese encephalitis (JE) is vector-borne zoonotic disease which causes encephalitis in humans and horses. Clinical signs for Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) infection are not clearly evident in the majority of affected animals. In Malaysia, information on the prevalence of JEV infection has not been established. Thus, a cross-sectional study was conducted during two periods, December 2015 to January 2016 and March to August in 2016, to determine the prevalence and risk factors in JEV infections among animals and birds in Peninsular Malaysia. Serum samples were harvested from the 416 samples which were collected from the dogs, cats, water birds, village chicken, jungle fowls, long-tailed macaques, domestic pigs, and cattle in the states of Selangor, Perak, Perlis, Kelantan, and Pahang. The serum samples were screened for JEV antibodies by commercial IgG ELISA kits. A questionnaire was also distributed to obtain information on the animals, birds, and the environmental factors of sampling areas. The results showed that dogs had the highest seropositive rate of 80% (95% CI: ± 11.69) followed by pigs at 44.4% (95% CI: ± 1.715), cattle at 32.2% (95% CI: ± 1.058), birds at 28.9% (95% CI: ± 5.757), cats at 15.6% (95% CI: ± 7.38), and monkeys at 14.3% (95% CI: ± 1.882). The study also showed that JEV seropositivity was high in young animals and in areas where mosquito vectors and migrating birds were prevalent.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Kelantan, Menteri Besar, Bird, Peninsular Malaysia, Malaysia, Selangor, Perak


The original version of this article contains an error. The Author Abd Rashid Nur Haslindawaty has been added as to the above author group as third author. The original article was corrected.

Concepts: Kuala Lumpur, Demographics of Malaysia, Pahang, Senoi, Malaysia, Orang Asli, Constitution of Malaysia, Kelantan


Peninsular Malaysia is populated by the Malays, Chinese, Indians, and Orang Asli. We have analyzed 17 Y-STRs loci for 243 randomly unrelated individuals, which include 153 Malays (7 Acheh, 13 Champa, 11 Rawa, 9 Kedah, 23 Minang, 15 Bugis, 43 Kelantan, 14 Jawa, and 18 Bugis) and 90 Orang Asli [54 Semang (16 Kensiu, 13 Lanoh, 25 Bateq); 30 Senoi (21 Semai, 9 Che Wong); and 6 Proto-Malay (6 Orang Kanaq)] from selected settlements in Peninsular Malaysia using the AmpFlSTR Yfiler™ kit (Applied Biosystems™). The overall haplotype diversity is 0.9966, i.e., 0.9984 for the Malays and 0.9793 for the Orang Asli. A total of 158 haplotypes (65.02%) were individually unique. The p value and pairwise Rst analysis was calculated to show the genetic structure of the samples with other world populations (from YHRD website). Based on the Y-STR data, Champa, Acheh, Kedah, Minang, and Kelantan are clustered together. Lanoh and Kensiu (Semang) are very closely related, suggesting similar paternal ancestry. Jawa Malays and Indonesian Java, plus the Bugis Malays and Australian Aborigines shared high degree of paternal lineage affinity. This study presents data for very precious relict groups, who are the earliest inhabitants of Peninsular Malaysia.

Concepts: Penang, Senoi, Peninsular Malaysia, Ethnic groups in Malaysia, Indonesia, Kelantan, Malaysia, Orang Asli


Malay, the main ethnic group in Peninsular Malaysia, is represented by various sub-ethnic groups such as Melayu Banjar, Melayu Bugis, Melayu Champa, Melayu Java, Melayu Kedah Melayu Kelantan, Melayu Minang and Melayu Patani. Using data retrieved from the MyHVP (Malaysian Human Variome Project) database, a total of 135 individuals from these sub-ethnic groups were profiled using the Affymetrix GeneChip Mapping Xba 50-K single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array to identify SNPs that were ancestry-informative markers (AIMs) for Malays of Peninsular Malaysia. Prior to selecting the AIMs, the genetic structure of Malays was explored with reference to 11 other populations obtained from the Pan-Asian SNP Consortium database using principal component analysis (PCA) and ADMIXTURE. Iterative pruning principal component analysis (ipPCA) was further used to identify sub-groups of Malays. Subsequently, we constructed an AIMs panel for Malays using the informativeness for assignment (In) of genetic markers, and the K-nearest neighbor classifier (KNN) was used to teach the classification models. A model of 250 SNPs ranked by In, correctly classified Malay individuals with an accuracy of up to 90%. The identified panel of SNPs could be utilized as a panel of AIMs to ascertain the specific ancestry of Malays, which may be useful in disease association studies, biomedical research or forensic investigation purposes.

Concepts: Bioinformatics, Kelantan, Peninsular Malaysia, Malaysian Malay, SNP array, Penang, DNA, Malaysia


Thalassaemia is a public health problem in Malaysia, with each ethnic group having their own common mutations. However, there is a lack on data on the prevalence and common mutations among the indigenous people. This cross-sectional study was performed to determine the common mutations of α- and β-thalassaemia among the subethnic groups of Senoi, the largest Orang Asli group in Peninsular Malaysia. Blood samples collected from six Senoi subethnic groups were analysed for full blood count and haemoglobin analysis (HbAn). Samples with abnormal findings were then screened for α- and β-globin gene mutations. Out of the 752 samples collected, 255 showed abnormal HbAn results, and 122 cases showing abnormal red cell indices with normal HbAn findings were subjected to molecular screening. DNA analysis revealed a mixture of α- and β-globin gene mutations with 25 concomitant cases. The types of gene abnormalities detected for α-thalassaemia were termination codon (T>C) Hb CS (α(CS) α), Cd59 (G>A) haemoglobin Adana (Hb Adana) (α(Cd59) α), initiation codon (ATG>A-G) (α(IniCd) α), two-gene deletion (-(SEA) ), and single-gene 3.7-kb deletion (-α(3.7) ). For β-thalassaemia, there were Cd26 (G>A) Hb E (β(E) ), Cd19 (A>G) Haemoglobin Malay (Hb Malay) (β(Cd19) ), and IVS 1-5 (G>C) (β(IVS 1-5) ).

Concepts: Kelantan, Orang Asli, Senoi, Indigenous peoples, Genetic code, Hemoglobin, Malaysia, DNA


Most studies of opportunistic infections focus on immunocompromised patients. However, there is a lack of information on microsporidiosis in healthy people (immunocompetent) worldwide. This study aimed to detect and identify microsporidia species in immunocompetent Orang Asli living in Pahang, Malaysia. Orang Asli is a collective term for a group of indigenous people that usually reside in the interior regions of Peninsular Malaysia. They comprise about 0.7% of the total population in Malaysia and 76% of them lived below the poverty line i.e., poor housing conditions with the lack of access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation, contaminated environment, high illiteracy rate and unhygienic practices by these people. Stool samples were collected from 209 Orang Asli and analyzed for detecting the presence of Enterocytozoon bieneusi and Encephalitozoon intestinalis by polymerase chain reaction assay targeting small subunit ribosomal RNA gene. E. bieneusi was detected in 8 individuals (3.83%). This infection was commonly found in males than females (5.2% vs. 2.7%). All infected Orang Asli were adults, with a mean age of 44years. Diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms were reported in one case (12.5%) among individuals infected with this species. These findings clearly show that exposure to E. bieneusi may actually be common than reported. The accurate detection and identification of microsporidian species by molecular technique will improve therapy, clinical manifestations and prognosis of this infection, as no antiparasitic therapy has been approved for E. bieneusi. It is hoped that these findings will allow the formulation of better health management and disease prevention advisories, and improvement in the standards of health in similar communities.

Concepts: Ribosome, Kelantan, Enterocytozoon bieneusi, Infection, DNA, RNA, Ribosomal RNA, Microsporidiosis