Scrub Typhus: The Geographic Distribution of Phenotypic and Genotypic Variants of Orientia tsutsugamushi
ABSTRACT Orientia tsutsugamushi is the etiological agent of scrub typhus, an acute, mite-borne, febrile illness that occurs in the Asia-Pacific region. Historically, strain characterization used serological analysis and revealed dramatic antigenic diversity. Eyeing a recommendation of potential vaccine candidates for broad protection, we review geographic diversity and serological and DNA prevalences. DNA analysis together with immunological analysis suggest that the prototype Karp strain and closely related strains are the most common throughout the region of endemicity. According to serological analysis, approximately 50% of isolates are seroreactive to Karp antisera, and approximately one-quarter of isolates are seroreactive to antisera against the prototype Gilliam strain. Molecular methods reveal greater diversity. By molecular methods, strains phylogenetically similar to Karp make up approximately 40% of all genotyped isolates, followed by the JG genotype group (Japan strains serotypically similar to the Gilliam strain but genetically non-Gilliam; 18% of all genotyped isolates). Three other genotype groups (Kato-related, Kawasaki-like, and TA763-like) each represent approximately 10% of genotyped isolates. Strains genetically similar to the Gilliam strain make up only 5% of isolates. Strains from these groups should be included in any potential vaccine.
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ABSTRACT: We developed an intradermal (ID) challenge cynomolgus macaque (Macaca fascicularis) model of scrub typhus, the leading cause of treatable undifferentiated febrile illness in tropical Asia, caused by the obligate intracellular bacterium, Orientia tsutsugamushi. A well-characterized animal model is required for the development of clinically relevant diagnostic assays and evaluation of therapeutic agents and candidate vaccines. We investigated scrub typhus disease pathophysiology and evaluated two O. tsutsugamushi 47-kDa, Ag-based candidate vaccines, a DNA plasmid vaccine (pKarp47), and a virus-vectored vaccine (Kp47/47-Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus replicon particle) for safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy against homologous ID challenge with O. tsutsugamushi Karp. Control cynomolgus macaques developed fever, classic eschars, lymphadenopathy, bacteremia, altered liver function, increased WBC counts, pathogen-specific Ab (IgM and IgG), and cell-mediated immune responses. Vaccinated macaques receiving the DNA plasmid pKarp47 vaccine had significantly increased O. tsutsugamushi-specific, IFN-γ-producing PBMCs (p = 0.04), reduced eschar frequency and bacteremia duration (p ≤ 0.01), delayed bacteremia onset (p < 0.05), reduced circulating bacterial biomass (p = 0.01), and greater reduction of liver transaminase levels (p < 0.03) than controls. This study demonstrates a vaccine-induced immune response capable of conferring sterile immunity against high-dose homologous ID challenge of O. tsutsugamushi in a nonhuman primate model, and it provides insight into cell-mediated immune control of O. tsutsugamushi and dissemination dynamics, highlights the importance of bacteremia indices for evaluation of both natural and vaccine-induced immune responses, and importantly, to our knowledge, has determined the first phenotypic correlates of immune protection in scrub typhus. We conclude that this model is suitable for detailed investigations into vaccine-induced immune responses and correlates of immunity for scrub typhus. Copyright © 2015 The Authors.
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ABSTRACT: There has been a rapid increase in the number of scrub typhus cases in Guangdong Province, China. For this reason, an epidemiologic study was conducted to understand the characteristics of scrub typhus epidemics in Guangdong. From 2006 to 2013, the incidence of human cases increased from 0.4321 to 3.5917 per 100,000 with a bimodal peak in human cases typically occurring between May and November. To detect the prevalence of Orientia tsutsugamushi among suspected human cases and rodents, we performed ELISA tests of IgM/IgG and nested PCR tests on 59 whole blood samples from the suspected cases and 112 spleen samples from the rodents. Suspected cases tested positive for anti-O. tsutsugamushi IgM and IgG 66.1% (39/59) and 50.8% (30/59) of the time, respectively. Additionally, 20.3% (12/59) of blood samples and 13.4% (15/112) of spleen samples were positive for PCR. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that there were four definable clusters among the 27 nucleotide sequences of the 56-kDa antigen genes: 44.4% Karp (12/27), 25.9% Kato (7/27), 22.2% Gilliam (6/27) and 7.4% TA763 (2/27). We concluded many suspected cases may result in diagnostic errors; therefore, it is necessary to perform laboratory tests on suspected cases in hospitals. The high infection rate of O. tsutsugamushi among the limited rodents tested suggested that further rodent sampling throughout the province is necessary to further define high-risk areas. Furthermore, the multiple co-circulating genotypes of O. tsutsugamushi play a key role in the pervasiveness of scrub typhus in the Guangdong area.PLoS ONE 02/2015; 10(2):e0113968. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0113968 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Scrub typhus is endemic and re-emerging in eastern and southern Asia. Illness varies from mild and self-limiting to fatal. Only few studies were published about its effect in maternal and neonatal outcome. A retrospective analysis was done in six prenatal and two postnatal women with scrub typhus. Details about clinical presentation, investigations, treatment given, response to treatment and pregnancy outcome were collected. The common symptoms were fever with chills, vomiting, myalgia, headache and abdominal pain. Typical features of eschar and lymphadenopathy were noted in only two cases. Two patients presented with jaundice and altered liver function test. Two patients presented with breathlessness. One patient developed oligohydramnios. Two postnatal women developed scrub typhus following blood transfusion for postpartum haemorrhage. Because of its high prevalence, scrub typhus should be included in fever investigations in endemic areas, even in the absence of eschar. Early diagnosis of cases will help in less severe organ damage and easy recovery with antibiotics. Few evidences state that scrub typhus can spread through blood transfusion. Correlation between blood transfusion and scrub typhus has to be further evaluated.12/2014; 8(12):OR01-3. DOI:10.7860/JCDR/2014/9718.5258