Consistency of the key genotypes of Orientia tsutsugamushi in scrub typhus patients, rodents, and chiggers from a new endemic focus of northern China.Cell Biochem Biophys. 2013; 67(3):1461-6.CB
Scrub typhus is one of the most common infectious diseases of rural south and southeastern Asia and the western Pacific. It emerged in Shandong Province in northern China from autumn to winter of 1986. Since then, the "autumn-winter type scrub typhus" has been found in many areas of northern China. However, the principle genotypes of Orientia tsutsugamushi still remain unknown. This study was undertaken to identify the genotypes of O. tsutsugamushi obtained from scrub typhus patients, chigger mites and rodents from the focal point of the problem in Shandong Province. Forty-four isolates from patients, rodents, and chiggers, 47 blood clots from patients during the acute phase, 10 eschars from patients during the convalescence phase and 16 pools of larval chiggers were tested for the scrub typhus antigen 56-kD protein (Sta56) gene by nested PCR methodology and additional sequence analysis including DNA sequence alignment and phylogenetic analysis. Based on nested PCR, ninety-five initial PCR-positive samples produced amplicons using Kawasaki strain-specific primers, while the other two (the FXS4 and LHGM2 strains) produced amplicons using Karp strain-specific primers. The partial Sta56 gene sequence analysis indicated that the sequence homologies of 3 selected isolates (the B16, FXS2, and XDM2 strains) and 7 eschars out of the 95 samples, which were nested PCR-positive using Kawasaki strain-specific primers, were 94-98% to that of Kawasaki strain. The sequence homology of the FXS4 and LHGM2 strains to that of the Karp strain was respectively 83 and 96%. These findings implied that the key genotypes of O. tsutsugamushi in patients, rodents, and chiggers in Shandong Province were identical and similar to Kawasaki strains.