Scrub typhus, Republic of Palau.Emerg Infect Dis. 2006 Feb; 12(2):290-5.EI
Scrub typhus, caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi, is a severe febrile illness transmitted to humans by trombiculid mites, which normally feed on rodents. The first known outbreak of scrub typhus in Palau occurred in 2001 to 2003 among residents of the remote southwest islands. To determine the extent of scrub typhus distribution in Palau, we tested serum samples from humans and rodents for antibodies to O. tsutsugamushi. Of 212 Palau residents surveyed in 2003, 101 (47.6%) had immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody titers >1:64, and 56 (26.4%) had concurrent IgG and IgM antibody titers >1:512 and 1:64, respectively. Of 635 banked serum samples collected from Palau residents in 1995, 34 (5.4%) had IgG antibody titers >1:64. Sera collected from rodents (Rattus norvegicus and R. rattus) in 2003 and 2005 were tested, and 18 (28.6%) of 63 had IgG antibody titers >1:64. These findings suggest that scrub typhus is endemic in Palau.