J Med Assoc Thai 2003; 86 (6):516

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Seroprevalence of Rickettsial Infection in Commensal Rodents and Shrews Trapped in the Bangkok Metropolitan Area
Siritantikorn S Mail, Sangkasuwan V , Eamsila C , Singchai C , Kantakamalakul W , Puthavathana P

VICHAI SANGKASUWAN, MD**,
CHANTRA SINGCHAI, DVM***,
PILAIPAN PUTHA VA THANA, PhD*
Murine typhus and scrub typhus are important human rickettsial diseases in Thailand. Small
mammals, including many species of rodents and shrews, serve as the reservoir host of rickettsial
diseases.
Rickettsia typhi
can be transmitted to humans by fleas causing murine typhus, while infection
with
Orientia tsutsugamushi
causing scrub typhus in humans is transmitted by chiggers. The prevalence
of rickettsial infection depends on the geographic area. The seroprevalence of antibody to
R. typhi
and
0. tsutsugamushi
was studied in commensal rodents and shrews trapped in markets in the Bangkok
Metropolitan Area (BMA).
R. typhi
and
0. tsutsugamushi
antigen prepared in the yolk sac of embryo-
nated eggs were used to determine the specific antibody in trapped animals' sera by using fluorescein
isothiocyanate (FITC)-anti rat immunoglobulins as a second antibody. Antibody
toR. typhi
was found in
25 (5%) of 500 sera tested and no antibody to
0. tsutsugamushi
was detected.
R. typhi
antibody titer
ranged from 40-1280 and was found in
Rattus norvegicus
(4.2%),
Rattus rattus
(0.4%),
Rattus exulans
(0.2%), and
Mus musculus
(0.2%) trapped in 8 of 47 markets in the BMA.
R. typhi
antibody was com-
monly found in
R. norvegicus.
The authors concluded that murine typhus is an important rickettsial
disease and
R. norvegicus
is an important reservoir species of rodents found in markets of the BMA.
Key word : Murine typhus, Scrub typhus,
Orientia tsutsugamushi, Rickettsia typhi, Rattus norve-
gicus,
Bangkok Metropolitan Area

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