Non-invasive surveillance for Plasmodium in reservoir macaque speciesAuthor : Josephine E. Siregar, Christina L. Faust, Lydia S. Murdiyarso, Lis Rosmanah, Uus Saepuloh , Andrew P. Dobson and Diah Iskandriati
Background: Primates are important reservoirs for human diseases, but their infection status and disease dynamics are difficult to track in the wild. Within the last decade, a macaque malaria, Plasmodium knowlesi, has caused disease in hundreds of humans in Southeast Asia. In order to track cases and understand zoonotic risk, it is imperative to be able to quantify infection status in reservoir macaque species. In this study, protocols for the collection of non-invasive samples and isolation of malaria parasites from naturally infected macaques are optimized.
Methods: Paired faecal and blood samples from 60 Macaca fascicularis and four Macaca nemestrina were collected. All animals came from Sumatra or Java and were housed in semi-captive breeding colonies around West Java. DNA was extracted from samples using a modified protocol. Nested polymerase chain reactions (PCR) were run to detect Plasmodium using primers targeting mitochondrial DNA. Sensitivity of screening faecal samples for Plasmodium was compared to other studies using Kruskal Wallis tests and logistic regression models.
Results: The best primer set was 96.7 % (95 % confidence intervals (CI): 83.3–99.4 %) sensitive for detecting Plasmodium in faecal samples of naturally infected macaques (n = 30). This is the first study to produce definitive estimates of Plasmodium Sensitivity and specificity in faecal samples from naturally infected hosts. The Sensitivity was significantly higher than some other studies involving wild primates.
Conclusions: Faecal samples can be used for detection of malaria infection in field surveys of macaques, even when there are no parasites visible in thin blood smears. Repeating samples from individuals will improve inferences of the epidemiology of malaria in wild primates.
Keywords: Malaria, Macaca fascicularis, Macaca nemestrina, Non-invasive sampling, Zoonotic surveillance