Assessing scrub typhus and rickettsioses transmission risks in the Chiang Rai province of northern Thailand

Piyada Linsuwanon*, Nutthanun Auysawasdi, Sirima Wongwairot, Surachai Leepitakrat, Wuttikon Rodkhamtook, Elizabeth Wanja, Taweesak Monkanna, Matthew Wegner, Silas Davidson, Yong Poovorawan, Betty Poole-Smith, Chawin Limsuwon, Patrick McCardle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Scrub typhus is an important disease in the Asia-Pacific countries with increasing relevance for public health worldwide. Entomological risk assessment for scrub typhus and rickettsial disease in Phu Chi Fah village-Chiang Rai was performed to determine areas at greatest risk for disease transmission in order to increase awareness of diseases to travelers and healthcare workers. Methods: From 2016 to 2018, rodents and chiggers were collected from 7 sites covering residential, grassland, and forest areas to determine the prevalence of pathogen of interest. The correlation between land type and vector-host-pathogen interaction system was investigated. Result: High prevalence of O. tsutsugamushi-infected and Rickettsia-infected chiggers was observed especially in areas with grassland and forest ecotones. Chigger and rodent species composition were negatively associated with the level of human disturbance. Increased density of rodents was responsible for a higher abundance of chigger population and increased prevalence of O. tsutsugmaushi infection in chigger in the following year. Conclusion: Communities in the study areas have an increased exposure risk to scrub typhus and potentially spotted fever group rickettsiosis. Travellers to this endemic area should pay more attention pathogen risks so as to avoid vector and disease exposure. Seasonal rodenticidal activity may help migitate the risk of pathogen transmission.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102086
JournalTravel Medicine and Infectious Disease
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Chigger-borne disease
  • Rickettsiosis
  • Scrub typhus
  • Species composition. chigger abundance
  • Spotted fever rickettsiosis
  • Thailand


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