Scrub Typhus – Scientific Neglect, Ever-Widening Impact.
N Engl J Med. Sep. 8, 2016 V.375 N.10 P.:913-5.
1From the Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston.
Scrub typhus, a systemic, life-threatening disease with an enormous incidence in Asia and the islands of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, remains remarkably neglected. Discovery of this vectorborne infectious disease on Chiloé Island in Chile (see report by Weitzel et al., pages 954–61) and its detection in Africa highlight the fact that we have heretofore paid too little attention to it and developed too little relevant expertise.1 The Allied armies were caught flat-footed during World War II when 18,000 of their troops became ill with scrub typhus in the Pacific theater, and the disease remained a major cause of severe, undifferentiated febrile illness in U.S. military forces in Vietnam. Currently, there is a tremendous widespread reemergence of scrub typhus in locations such as India, Micronesia, and the Maldives, where it had been forgotten, and its incidence is growing in locations such as South Korea and China north of the Yangtze River, where it was previously unknown…..