Detection of Plasmodium knowlesi DNA in the urine and faeces of a Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata) over the course of an experimentally induced infection
This is the first case of Plasmodium knowlesi infection in a Japanese traveller returning from Malaysia. In September 2012, a previously healthy 35-year-old Japanese man presented to National Center for Global Health and Medicine in Tokyo with a two-day history of daily fever, mild headaches and mild arthralgia. Malaria parasites were found in the Giemsa-stained thin blood smear, which showed band forms similar to Plasmodium malariae. Although a nested PCR showed the amplification of the primer of Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium knowlesi, he was finally diagnosed with P. knowlesi mono-infection by DNA sequencing. He was treated with mefloquine, and recovered without any complications. DNA sequencing of the PCR products is indispensable to confirm P. knowlesi infection, however there is limited access to DNA sequencing procedures in endemic areas. The extent of P. knowlesi transmission in Asia has not been clearly defined. There is limited availability of diagnostic tests and routine surveillance system for reporting an accurate diagnosis in the Asian endemic regions. Thus, reporting accurately diagnosed cases of P. knowlesi infection in travellers would be important for assessing the true nature of this emerging human infection.