Surveillance of Chigger Mite Vectors for Tsutsugamushi Disease in the Hwaseong Area, Gyeonggi-do, Republic of Korea, 2015.Korean J Parasitol. 2020 Jun; 58(3):301-308.KJ
Owing to global climate change, the global resurgence of vector-borne infectious diseases and their potential to inflict widespread casualties among human populations has emerged as a pivotal burden on public health systems. Tsutsugamushi disease (scrub typhus) in the Republic of Korea is steadily increasing and was designated as a legal communicable disease in 1994. The disease is a mite-borne acute febrile disease most commonly contracted from October to December. In this study, we tried to determine the prevalence of tsutsugamushi disease transmitted by chigger mites living on rodents and investigated their target vector diversity, abundance, and distribution to enable the mapping of hotspots for this disease in 2015. A total of 5 species belonging to 4 genera (109 mites): Leptotrombidium scutellare 60.6%, L. pallidum 28.4% Neotrombicula tamiyai 9.2%, Euschoengastia koreaensis/0.9%), and Neoschoengastia asakawa 0.9% were collected using chigger mite collecting traps mimicking human skin odor and sticky chigger traps from April to November 2015. Chigger mites causing tsutsugamushi disease in wild rodents were also collected in Hwaseong for the zoonotic surveillance of the vector. A total of 77 rodents belonging to 3 genera: Apodemus agrarius (93.5%), Crocidura lasiura (5.2%), and Micromys minutus (1.3%) were collected in April, October, and November 2015. The most common mite was L. pallidum (46.9%), followed by L. scutellare (18.6%), and L. orientale (18.0%). However, any of the chigger mite pools collected from rodent hosts was tested positive for Orientia tsutsugamushi, the pathogen of tsutsugamushi disease, in this survey.