Scrub Typhus in the Eastern Solomon Islands and Northern Vanuatu (New Hebrides)

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  • Virus Research Unit, Medical Research Council of New Zealand, Microbiology Department, University of Otago, P.O. Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand
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Rickettsia tsutsugamushi has been isolated from Rattus rattus from Vanua Lava island in Northern Vanuatu (New Hebrides) and from R. exulans and Leptotrombidium akamushi on Ndende island in the Eastern Solomon Islands. The well-known vector mite L. deliense was found on Mota Lava and Vanua Lava in Vanuatu, but no isolation was made from pools of this mite. Serology confirms that R. tsutsugamushi infects humans in the Banks group of islands in Northern Vanuatu and that infection is much more widespread in the Solomon Islands than the limited isolations indicate.

Author Notes

Present address: Wellcome Virus Laboratory, Tamavua Hospital, Suva, Fiji.