Analysis of the 56-kDa type specific antigen gene of Orientia tsutsugamushi from northern Vietnam.PLoS One 2019; 14(8):e0221588Plos
Scrub typhus has been documented since 1932 in Vietnam, however, the disease burden of scrub typhus remains poorly understood in the country. We conducted this study to describe the phylogenetic analysis of the 56-kDa type-specific antigen (TSA) gene of Orientia tsutsugamushi associated with PCR positive cases of scrub typhus. Of 116 positive samples, 65 type-specific antigen gene sequences were obtained and classified into 3 genogroups: Karp, Kato and Gilliam. The Karp genogroup was the most frequently detected phylogenetic cluster in the study with 30 samples (46%), followed by Kato and Gilliam with 20 (31%) and 15 (23%), respectively. All sequences showed 94-100% nucleotide similarity to reference sequences collected in the central part of Vietnam in 2017. Patients infected with Karp genogroup were more likely to have significant thrombocytopenia than the other genogroups. These results suggest that any scrub typhus vaccine considered for use in Vietnam should provide protection against each of these 3 genogroups.