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Int J Infect Dis. 2013 Nov;17(11):e981-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2013.05.017. Epub 2013 Jul 26.

Scrub typhus in South India: clinical and laboratory manifestations, genetic variability, and outcome.

Author information

1
Medicine Unit I and Infectious Diseases, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India. Electronic address: georgemvarghese@hotmail.com.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

This study sought to document the clinical and laboratory manifestations, genetic variability, and outcomes of scrub typhus, an often severe infection caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi, in South India.

METHODS:

Patients admitted to a large teaching hospital with IgM ELISA-confirmed scrub typhus were evaluated. Clinical examination with a thorough search for an eschar, laboratory testing, chest X-ray, and outcome were documented and analyzed. Additionally, a 410-bp region of the 56-kDa type-specific antigen gene of O. tsutsugamushi was sequenced and compared with isolates from other regions of Asia.

RESULTS:

Most of the 154 patients evaluated presented with fever and non-specific symptoms. An eschar was found in 86 (55%) patients. Mild hepatic involvement was seen in most, with other organ involvement including respiratory, cardiovascular, and renal. Multi-organ dysfunction was noted in 59 (38.3%), and the fatality rate was 7.8%. Hypotension requiring vasoactive agents was found to be an independent predictor of mortality (p<0.001). The phylogeny of 26 samples showed 17 (65%) clustering with the Kato-like group and eight (31%) with the Karp-like group.

CONCLUSIONS:

The presentation of scrub typhus can be variable, often non-specific, but with potentially severe multi-organ dysfunction. Prompt recognition is key to specific treatment and good outcomes. Further study of the circulating strains is essential for the development of a successful vaccine and sensitive point-of-care testing.

KEYWORDS:

Clinical manifestations; Genetic variability; Orientia tsutsugamushi; Outcome; Scrub typhus

PMID:
23891643
DOI:
10.1016/j.ijid.2013.05.017
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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