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J Bacteriol Virol. 2009 Dec;39(4):317-327. Korean. Original Article.
Moon BC , Jeong JH , Choi YJ , Kim JE , Seo HJ , Shin EH , Song BG , Lee HI , Lee SH , Park KH , Jang WJ .
Institute of Environmental Resource Research of Jeju Special Self-Governing Province, Jeju, Korea.
Department of Microbiology, College of Medicine, Konkuk University, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Medical Entomology, Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Seoul, Korea.
Division of Biosafety Evaluation and Control, Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Seoul, Korea.

This study investigated the presence of nucleic acids of various Rickettsial agents in ticks collected in Jeju Island, Korea from June 2007 to August 2008, through the nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequencing analysis of partial citrate synthase (gltA), Rickettsial outer membrane protein B (ompB), and 17-kDa genes. Examination of the 1,584 ticks showed that the subspecies distribution of Haemaphysalis longicornis was 99.81% (n=1,581) and H. flava was 0.19% (n=3). A total 224 out of 250 pools from one to 15 ticks were found to be positive in ompB-PCR assay (minimal infection rate 141 ticks/1,000 tested). From the positive samples, 26 were analyzed by gltA- and 17-kDa-PCR assays. The nucleotide sequences of the ompB- and gltA-PCR products showed a high degree of similarity with those of the Rickettsia japonica (98.7~99.2% and 98.7~99.3%, n=25) and R. monacensis (99% and 99.7%, n=1). However, analysis of the nucleotide sequences of the 17-kDa-PCR amplicons showed that the sequences of the 25 PCR amplicons were more close to R. marmionii (99.4~100%) than R. japonica (98.6~99.1%). These findings suggest that various rickettsial diseases could be transmitted via the bite of tick vectors in Jeju Island, Korea.

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