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Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2010 Mar;10(2):125-33. doi: 10.1089/vbz.2008.0123.

Serological surveillance of scrub typhus, murine typhus, and leptospirosis in small mammals captured at firing points 10 and 60, Gyeonggi province, Republic of Korea, 2001-2005.

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Virology Division, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, Maryland, USA.


Soldiers from the Republic of Korea and the United States conducting peacetime military operations at various training sites and multiple range complexes located near the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea are exposed to rodents and their potentially disease-carrying ectoparasites. These diseases include scrub typhus, murine typhus, and leptospirosis. Many of the training sites are rural or semi-rural, surrounded or co-located with various forms of agriculture, and are infested with rodents and insectivores (as well as their ectoparasites), which are commonly found in association with unmanaged tall grasses, scrub, and crawling vegetation habitats. For 5 years, rodents and insectivores were collected seasonally (spring, summer, fall, and winter) at firing points 10 and 60 near the demilitarized zone and serologically tested for the presence of scrub typhus, murine typhus, and leptospirosis antibodies. Of the nine species of small mammals collected, Apodemus agrarius, the common striped field mouse and known reservoir of scrub typhus, was the most frequently collected (90.6%). Only four of the nine species captured, A. agrarius (60.9%), Micromys minutus (100%), Mus musculus (55.6%), and Rattus norvegicus (46.7%), were positive for scrub typhus. Of all the small mammals captured, only A. agrarius was positive for murine typhus (0.3%) and leptospirosis (1.3%). Seasonal and annual prevalence rates based on weight and sex are presented.

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