Volume 61, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


The seroprevalence of Orientia tsutsugamushi, Rickettsia typhi, and TT118 spotted fever group (SFG) rickettsiae in 300 rubber estate workers in Slim River, Malaysia was determined in December 1996 and March 1997. In December, which was the wet season, 23.3%, 3.0%, and 57.3% of the population had antibodies detected against the three rickettsiae, respectively. The highest seropositive rate of 40% was detected for single infection with SFG rickettsiae, followed by a rate of 15.3% for both O. tsutsugamushi and SFG rickettsiae among the rubber estate workers. Subjects less than 21 years old had a lower seroprevalence of SFG rickettsiae compared with the other age groups. Indians had a higher seroprevalence of O. tsutsugamushi compared with other ethnic groups. Rubber tappers had a higher seroprevalence of SFG rickettsiae compared with other occupational groups. During the dry season in March 1997, there was a significant increase in the seroprevalence of R. typhi. The seroconversion rates for IgM against O. tsutsugamushi, R. typhi, and SFG rickettsiae were 5.7%, 12.3%, and 15.1%, respectively, during the four-month period. Significant variations of antibody titers towards the three rickettsiae was noted among subjects who were bled twice. This suggests a significant and continual exposure of rubber estate workers to the three rickettsiae.


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