Volume 65, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Field rodents and chigger mites were collected at 30 locations in Korea in October and November 1997-1999 to determine the serotypes of Orientia tsutsugamushi and their geographical distribution. A nested polymerase chain reaction was performed with the spleen tissues from 546 field-striped mice (Apodemus agrarius) and 104 pools of chigger mites. The positivity rate of O. tsutsugamushi was 45.6% in A. agrarius and 39.4% in the chigger mite pools. Two serotypes, Boryong and Karp, were found in these samples; the former was predominant (78.3% in the mice and 82.9% in the chigger mite pools), with wide distribution throughout the country, including Cheju-do. The latter was confined to the middle of the Korean peninsula, with positivity rates of 15.7% in the mice and 12.2% in the chigger mite pools. The double infection of Karp and Boryong serotypes was found in 15 (6.0%) A. agrarius mice. Gilliam serotype was not detected at any of the study locations. The Boryong and Kuroki serotypes were identical in amino acid sequence of the 56-kDa protein, although they differed in virulence to BALB/c mice.


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