Epidemiological and serological study of scrub typhus among chinese military in the pescadores islands of taiwan

A. L. Bourgeois, J. G. Olson, C. M. Ho, R. C.Y. Fang, P. F.D. Van Peenen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


An outbreak of 69 cases of scrub typhus occurred among Chinese military personnel stationed in the Pescadores Islands, Taiwan Province, Republic of China between May and November 1975. A retrospective epidemiological study of this outbreak indicated that military personnel over 40 were more likely to have scrub typhus than those under 40. High risk groups included the Garrison Force (home guard), anti-aircraft gunners and infantry and armoured units stationed at Hsing-jen. The onset of symptoms in 69% occurred within one year of residence in the Pescadores. The clinical course of scrub typhus and the serological response to infection were also studied. Eschar formation, fever, headache, chills and lymph node enlargement were the predominant clinical manifestations noted. The indirect immuno- fluorescent antibody test (IFAT) demonstrated diagnostic (four-fold) rises in antibody titres to Rickettsia tsutsugamushi reference strains in 36 of 41 paired sera tested. 11 of 19 patients from whom only single sera were obtained had IFA titres presumptive of scrub typhus (≥1:160). Of 19 patients experiencing possible primary infections, 13 (68%) responded with antibodies directed against more than one reference strain of R. tsutsugamushi. These results suggest that several antigenically diverse strains of R. tsutsugamushi may be active in the Pescadores.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)338-342
Number of pages5
JournalTransactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1977
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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