Biting midges belonging to the genus Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) were collected by Mosquito Magnet® and black light traps at 5 sites on Jeju-do, Republic of Korea (Korea), from May-November 2013 to determine species diversity and seasonal distribution. A total of 4,267 specimens were collected, of which 99.9% were female. The most common species was Culicoides tainanus (91.8%), followed by C. lungchiensis (7.2%) and C. punctatus (0.6%), while the remaining 4 species accounted for <0.5% of all Culicoides spp. that were collected. High numbers of C. tainanus were collected in May, followed by decreasing numbers through August, and then increasing numbers through November when surveillance was terminated. Peak numbers of C. lungchiensis were collected during September, with low numbers collected from May-August and October-November. The presence of C. lungchiensis in Korea was confirmed by morphological and molecular analyses.
Culicoides lungchiensis; Culicoides tainanus; biting midge; Korea
The seasonal abundance of horse and deer flies (family Tabanidae) was analyzed using Mosquito Magnet® traps at 5 sites located near/in the demilitarized zone, northern Gyeonggi-do, Republic of Korea from late April to early October for 4 consecutive years (2010-2013). A total of 2,999 horse and deer flies (tabanids) belonging to 5 genera and 20 species were collected. Chrysops mlokosiewiczi (90.9%) was the most frequently collected, followed by Haematopota koryoensis (4.8%) and C. suavis (1.0%). The remaining 17 species comprised only of 3.3% of all species collected. C. mlokosiewiczi demonstrated bimodal peak populations during mid-June and early August, while H. koryoensis demonstrated a unimodal peak during mid-July. Overall numbers of tabanids collected were influenced by the previous year’s winter temperatures and precipitation. Population abundance was influenced by habitat with most of tabanids collected from habitats near forested areas, followed by rice paddies, and a beef farm.
Horse fly; deer fly; seasonal abundance; Tabanidae; mosquito magnet trap; Korea
Rodent-borne disease surveillance was conducted at Nightmare Range (NM-R), near the demilitarized zone in northeast Gyeonggi Province, Republic of Korea, to identify hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) risks for a mountainous high-elevation (500 m) military training site. Monthly surveys were conducted from January 2008-December 2009. A total of 1,720 small mammals were captured belonging to the Orders Rodentia [Families, Sciuridae (1 species) and Muridae (7 species)] and Soricomorpha [Family, Soricidae (1species)]. Apodemus agrarius, the primary reservoir for Hantaan virus (HTNV), accounted for 89.9% (1,546) of all small mammals captured, followed by Myodes regulus (4.0%), Crocidura lasiura (3.9%), Micromys minutus (1.4%), Mus musculus (0.3%), Microtus fortis (0.2%), Apodemus peninsulae (0.2%), Tamias sibiricus (0.1%), and Rattus norvegicus (<0.1%). Three species were antibody-positive (Ab+) for hantaviruses: A. agrarius (8.2%), M. minutus (4.2%), and C. lasiura (1.5%). HTNV specific RNA was detected in 93/127 Ab+ A. agrarius, while Imjin virus specific RNA was detected in 1/1 Ab+ C. lasiura. Overall, hantavirus Ab+ rates for A. agrarius increased with weight (age) and were significantly higher among males (10.9%) than females (5.1%) (P<0.0001). High A. agrarius gravid rates during the fall (August-September) were associated with peak numbers of HFRS cases in Korea that followed high gravid rates. From 79 RT-PCR positive A. agrarius, 12 HTNV RNA samples were sequenced and compared phylogenetically based on a 320 nt sequence from the GC glycoprotein-encoding M segment. These results demonstrate that the HTNV isolates from NM-R are distinctly separated from HTNV isolated from the People’s Republic of China. These studies provide for improved disease risk assessments that identify military activities, rodent HTNV rates, and other factors associated with the transmission of hantaviruses during field training exercises.
A total of 1,708 small mammals (1,617 rodents and 91 soricomorphs), including Apodemus agrarius (n = 1,400), Microtus fortis (167), Crocidura lasiura (91), Mus musculus (32), Myodes (= Eothenomys) regulus (9), Micromys minutus (6), and Tscherskia (= Cricetulus) triton (3), were live-trapped at US/Republic of Korea (ROK) military training sites near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) of Paju, Pocheon, and Yeoncheon, Gyeonggi Province from December 2004 to December 2009. Small mammals were examined for their intestinal nematodes by necropsy. A total of 1,617 rodents (100%) and 91 (100%) soricomorphs were infected with at least 1 nematode species, including Nippostrongylus brasiliensis, Heligmosomoides polygyrus, Syphacia obvelata, Heterakis spumosa, Protospirura muris, Capillaria spp., Trichuris muris, Rictularia affinis, and an unidentified species. N. brasiliensis was the most common species infecting small mammals (1,060; 62.1%) followed by H. polygyrus (617; 36.1%), S. obvelata (370; 21.7%), H. spumosa (314; 18.4%), P. muris (123; 7.2%), and Capillaria spp. (59; 3.5%). Low infection rates (0.1-0.8%) were observed for T. muris, R. affinis, and an unidentified species. The number of recovered worms was highest for N. brasiliensis (21,623 worms; mean 20.4 worms/infected specimen) followed by S. obvelata (9,235; 25.0 worms), H. polygyrus (4,122; 6.7 worms), and H. spumosa (1,160; 3.7 worms). A. agrarius demonstrated the highest prevalence for N. brasiliensis (70.9%), followed by M. minutus (50.0%), T. triton (33.3%), M. fortis (28.1%), M. musculus (15.6%), C. lasiura (13.2%), and M. regulus (0%). This is the first report of nematode infections in small mammals captured near the DMZ in ROK.
Nippostrongylus brasiliensis; Heligmosomoides polygyrus; Syphacia obvelata; Heterakis spumosa; Protospirura muris; Capillaria spp.; Trichuris muris; Rictularia affinis; nematode; rodent; insectivore
Ticks were collected from 35 animals from 5 provinces and 3 metropolitan cities during 2012. Ticks also were collected by tick drag from 4 sites in Gyeonggi-do (2) and Jeollabuk-do (2) Provinces. A total of 612 ticks belonging to 6 species and 3 genera were collected from mammals and a bird (n=573) and by tick drag (n=39). Haemaphyalis longicornis (n=434) was the most commonly collected tick, followed by H. flava (158), Ixodes nipponensis (11), Amblyomma testudinarium (7), H. japonica (1), and H. formosensis (1). H. longicornis and H. flava were collected from all animal hosts examined. For animal hosts (n>1), the highest Tick Index (TI) was observed for domestic dogs (29.6), followed by Siberian roe deer (17.4), water deer (14.4), and raccoon dogs (1.3). A total of 402 H. longicornis (adults 86, 21.4%; nymphs 160, 39.8%; larvae 156, 38.9%) were collected from wild and domestic animals. A total of 158 H. flava (n=158) were collected from wild and domestic animals and 1 ring-necked pheasant, with a higher proportion of adults (103, 65.2%), while nymphs and larvae only accounted for 12.7% (20) and 22.2% (35), respectively. Only 7 A. testudinarium were collected from the wild boar (6 adults) and Eurasian badger (1 nymph), while only 5 I. nipponensis were collected from the water deer (4 adults) and a raccoon dog (1 adult). One adult female H. formosensis was first collected from vegetation by tick drag from Mara Island, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do Province.
Haemaphysalis longicornis; Haemaphysalis flava; Haemaphysalis formosensis; animal; abundance; tick index
The genome of Muju virus (MUJV), identified originally in the royal vole (Myodes regulus) in Korea, was fully sequenced to ascertain its genetic and phylogenetic relationship with Puumala virus (PUUV), harbored by the bank vole (My. glareolus), and a PUUV-like virus, named Hokkaido virus (HOKV), in the grey red-backed vole (My. rufocanus) in Japan. Whole genome sequence analysis of the 6544-nucleotide large (L), 3652-nucleotide medium (M) and 1831-nucleotide small (S) segments of MUJV, as well as the amino acid sequences of their gene products, indicated that MUJV strains from different capture sites might represent genetic variants of PUUV, the prototype arvicolid rodent-borne hantavirus in Europe. Distinct geographic-specific clustering of MUJV was found in different provinces in Korea, and phylogenetic analyses revealed that MUJV and HOKV share a common ancestry with PUUV. A better understanding of the taxonomic classification and pathogenic potential of MUJV must await its isolation in cell culture.
hantavirus; Myodes regulus; Muju virus; phylogeny
A total of 9,281 larval chigger mites were collected from small mammals captured at Hwaseong-gun, Gyeonggi-do (Province) (2,754 mites from 30 small mammals), Asan city, Chungcheongnam-do (3,358 mites from 48 mammals), and Jangseong-gun, Jeollanam-do (3,169 for 62 mammals) from April-November 2009 in the Republic of Korea (= Korea) and were identified to species. Leptotrombidium pallidum was the predominant species in Hwaseong (95.8%) and Asan (61.2%), while Leptotrombidium scutellare was the predominant species collected from Jangseong (80.1%). Overall, larval chigger mite indices decreased from April (27.3) to June (4.9), then increased in September (95.2) and to a high level in November (169.3). These data suggest that L. pallidum and L. scutellare are the primary vectors of scrub typhus throughout their range in Korea. While other species of larval chigger mites were also collected with some implications in the transmission of Orientia tsutsugamushi, they only accounted for 11.2% of all larval chigger mites collected from small mammals.
Apodemus agrarius; Leptotrombidium pallidum; Leptotrombidium scutellare; chigger mite; chigger index
The complete genome sequence of Muju virus was determined from lung tissue samples of three royal voles (Myodes regulus) captured in Gangwon province in the Republic of Korea. Since few whole genome sequences of hantaviruses are available, this sequence may help to clarify the molecular phylogeny of arvicolid rodent-borne hantaviruses.
Biting midges (Culicoides: Ceratopogonidae) were collected by Mosquito Magnet® traps at the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission (NNSC) camp and Daeseongdong village inside the demilitarized zone (DMZ) and near the military demarcation line (MDL) separating North and South Korea and at Warrior Base (US Army training site) and Tongilchon 3 km south of the DMZ in northern Gyeonggi Province, Republic of Korea (ROK), from May-October 2010-2012, to determine their seasonal distributions. A total of 18,647 Culicoides females (18,399; 98.7%) and males (248; 1.3%) comprising 16 species were collected. Overall, the most commonly collected species was Culicoides nipponensis (42.9%), followed by C. erairai (29.2%), C. punctatus (20.3%), C. arakawae (3.3%), C. pallidulus (1.8%), and C. circumscriptus (1.4%), while the remaining 10 species accounted for only 1.1% of all Culicoides spp. collected. The seasonal distribution of C. nipponensis was bimodal, with high numbers collected during May-June and again during September. C. erairai was more frequently collected during June-July, followed by sharply decreased populations from August-October. C. punctatus was collected in low numbers from May-September with high numbers collected during October. C. erairai was predominantly collected from the NNSC camp (85.1% of all C. erairai collected) located adjacent to the MDL at Panmunjeom in the northernmost part of Gyeonggi-do (Province), while other sites yielded low numbers of specimens.
Culicoides nipponensis; Culicoides erairai; Culicoides punctatus; biting midge; Korea
Vivax malaria is a significant military and civilian health threat in northern Republic of Korea (ROK). Mosquito collections were performed at two ROK army installations, Paju near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) using black light traps in 2011. The DMZ, a 4 km wide border, is the northernmost point of the ROK and separates the ROK from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). Anopheles spp. were identified by polymerase chain reaction and screened for Plasmodium vivax sporozoites. Of 4,354 female Anopheles mosquitoes identified, Anopheles kleini (61.8%) was the most frequently collected, followed by Anopheles pullus (16.0%), Anopheles belenrae (9.0%), Anopheles sinensis (7.4%), Anopheles sineroides (4.2%), and Anopheles lesteri (1.6%). Anopheles kleini, An. pullus, and An. sineroides showed the highest population densities in June, whereas population densities were highest for An. belenrae, An. lesteri, and An. sinensis in August. The maximum likelihood estimation (estimated number of positive mosquitoes/1,000) for P. vivax was highest for An. lesteri (28.9), followed by An. sineroides (23.3), An. belenrae (15.8), An. sinensis (9.6), An. pullus (5.8) and An. kleini (4.2). The seasonal maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) values were variable among Anopheles species. Anopheles belenrae, An. Pullus, and An. sineroides showed the highest seasonal MLE's in July, whereas An. lesteri and An. sinensis exhibited the highest seasonal MLEs in September and An. kleini during August. This is the first report implicating An. sineroides as a vector of P. vivax in the ROK, and extends our knowledge of the distribution and potential role in malaria transmission.
The Malaria Research and Reference Reagent Resource–recommended PLF/UNR/VIR polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to detect Plasmodium vivax in Anopheles spp. mosquitoes collected in South Korea. Samples that were amplified were sequenced and compared with known Plasmodium spp. by using the PlasmoDB.org Basic Local Alignment Search Tool/n and the National Center for Biotechnology Information Basic Local Alignment Search Tool/n tools. Results show that the primers PLF/UNR/VIR used in this PCR can produce uninterpretable results and non-specific sequences in field-collected mosquitoes. Three additional PCRs (PLU/VIV, specific for 18S small subunit ribosomal DNA; Pvr47, specific for a nuclear repeat; and GDCW/PLAS, specific for the mitochondrial marker, cytB) were then used to find a more accurate and interpretable assay. Samples that were amplified were again sequenced. The PLU/VIV and Pvr47 assays showed cross-reactivity with non-Plasmodium spp. and an arthropod fungus (Zoophthora lanceolata). The GDCW/PLAS assay amplified only Plasmodium spp. but also amplified the non-human specific parasite P. berghei from an Anopheles belenrae mosquito. Detection of P. berghei in South Korea is a new finding.
After the re-emergence of Plasmodium vivax in 1993, a total of 31,254 cases of vivax malaria were reported between 1993–2012 in the Republic of Korea (ROK). The purpose of this study was to review Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention records to investigate the transmission of malaria from 2010–2012.
Reporting of microscopy-diagnosed cases of malaria is mandatory in the ROK. In this study, all available records of malaria cases and malaria vectors collected from 2010 – 2012 in Cheorwon County, Gangwon Province and Ganghwa County, Incheon Metropolitan City, were reviewed.
Although the number of cases of malaria peaked a third time in 2010 (1,772 cases) since the re-emergence of P. vivax, the incidence decreased two-fold to 838 in 2011 and three-fold to 555 in 2012. The number of cases decreased 52.7% in 2011 compared with that in 2010 and 33.8% in 2012 compared with that in 2011. However, the number of cases increased in Incheon Metropolitan City (15.3%) and Gyeongnam Province (23.1%) in 2012 compared with 2011. Of the 3,165 cases of vivax malaria in 2010–2012, 798 (25.2%) were in ROK military personnel, 519 (16.4%) in veterans, and 1,848 (58.4%) in civilians. In total, there were 2,666 male patients and 499 female patients, and the ratio of female to male patients increased from 1:7.9 in 2011 to 1:4.1 in 2012.
A rapid decrease in the incidence of malaria was observed in most areas from 2010 to 2012, but the incidence increased again in the western part of the demilitarized zone. Therefore, more intensive surveillance is needed throughout high risk areas to identify factors responsible for increase/decrease in the incidence of malaria in the ROK.
This study describes the seasonal distribution of larvae, nymph, and adult life stages for 3 species of ixodid ticks collected by tick drag and sweep methods from various habitats in the Republic of Korea (ROK). Grasses less than 0.5 m in height, including herbaceous and crawling vegetation, and deciduous, conifer, and mixed forests with abundant leaf/needle litter were surveyed at United States (US) and ROK operated military training sites and privately owned lands near the demilitarized zone from April-October, 2004 and 2005. Haemaphysalis longicornis Neumann adults and nymphs were more frequently collected from April-August, while those of Haemaphysalis flava Neumann and Ixodes nipponensis Kitaoka and Saito were collected more frequently from April-July and again during October. H. longicornis was the most frequently collected tick in grass habitats (98.9%), while H. flava was more frequently collected in deciduous (60.2%) and conifer (57.4%) forest habitats. While more H. flava (54.1%) were collected in mixed forest habitats than H. longicornis (35.2%), the differences were not significant. I. nipponensis was more frequently collected from conifer (mean 8.8) compared to deciduous (3.2) and mixed (2.4) forests.
Haemaphysalis; Ixodes; tick; seasonal distribution; habitats; Korea
Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), a mosquito-borne zoonotic pathogen, is one of the major causes of viral encephalitis. To reduce the impact of Japanese encephalitis among children in the Republic of Korea (ROK), the government established a mandatory vaccination program in 1967. Through the efforts of this program only 0–7 (mean 2.1) cases of Japanese encephalitis were reported annually in the ROK during the period of 1984–2009. However, in 2010 there was an outbreak of 26 confirmed cases of Japanese encephalitis, including 7 deaths. This represented a >12-fold increase in the number of confirmed cases of Japanese encephalitis in the ROK as compared to the mean number reported over the last 26 years and a 3.7-fold increase over the highest annual number of cases during this same period (7 cases). Surveillance of adult mosquitoes was conducted during the 2010 outbreak of Japanese encephalitis in the ROK. A total of 6,328 culicine mosquitoes belonging to 12 species from 5 genera were collected at 6 survey sites from June through October 2010 and assayed by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for the presence of JEV. A total of 34/371 pooled samples tested positive for JEV (29/121 Culex tritaeniorhynchus, 4/64 Cx. pipiens, and 1/26 Cx. bitaeniorhynchus) as confirmed by sequencing of the pre-membrane and envelope protein coding genes. The maximum likelihood estimates of JEV positive individuals per 1,000 culicine vectors for Cx. tritaeniorhynchus, Cx. pipiens, and Cx. bitaeniorhynchus were 11.8, 5.6, and 2.8, respectively. Sequences of the JEV pre-membrane and envelope protein coding genes amplified from the culicine mosquitoes by RT-PCR were compared with those of JEV genotypes I-V. Phylogenetic analyses support the detection of a single genotype (I) among samples collected from the ROK in 2010.
Culex tritaeniorhynchus is the primary vector of Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), a leading cause of encephalitis in Asia. JEV is transmitted in an enzootic cycle involving large wading birds as the reservoirs and swine as amplifying hosts. The development of a JEV vaccine reduced the number of JE cases in regions with comprehensive childhood vaccination programs, such as in Japan and the Republic of Korea. However, the lack of vaccine programs or insufficient coverage of populations in other endemic countries leaves many people susceptible to JEV. The aim of this study was to predict the distribution of Culex tritaeniorhynchus using ecological niche modeling.
An ecological niche model was constructed using the Maxent program to map the areas with suitable environmental conditions for the Cx. tritaeniorhynchus vector. Program input consisted of environmental data (temperature, elevation, rainfall) and known locations of vector presence resulting from an extensive literature search and records from MosquitoMap. The statistically significant Maxent model of the estimated probability of Cx. tritaeniorhynchus presence showed that the mean temperatures of the wettest quarter had the greatest impact on the model. Further, the majority of human Japanese encephalitis (JE) cases were located in regions with higher estimated probability of Cx. tritaeniorhynchus presence.
Our ecological niche model of the estimated probability of Cx. tritaeniorhynchus presence provides a framework for better allocation of vector control resources, particularly in locations where JEV vaccinations are unavailable. Furthermore, this model provides estimates of vector probability that could improve vector surveillance programs and JE control efforts.
Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is transmitted predominately by the mosquito, Culex tritaeniorhynchus. The primary reservoirs of the virus are wading birds, with swine serving as amplifying hosts. Despite the development of a JEV vaccine, people remain unvaccinated in endemic countries and are susceptible to JEV infection. The distribution of the JEV vector(s) provides essential information for preventive measures. This study used an ecological niche modeling program to predict the distribution of Cx. tritaeniorhynchus based on collection records and environmental maps (climate, land cover, and elevation). The model showed that the mean temperatures of the wettest quarter had the greatest impact on the model. Of the 25 countries endemic for Japanese encephalitis (JE) endemic countries, seven possessed greater than 50% land area with an estimated high probability of Cx. tritaeniorhynchus presence. Our model provides a useful tool for JEV surveillance programs that focus on vector control strategies.
Black light traps were used to measure the seasonal and geographical distribution of Culicoides spp. (biting midges or no-see-ums) at 9 cowsheds in the southern half of the Republic of Korea (ROK) from June through October 2010. A total of 25,242 Culicoides females (24,852; 98.5%) and males (390; 1.5%) comprising of 9 species were collected. The most commonly collected species was Culicoides punctatus (73.0%) followed by C. arakawae (25.7%), while the remaining 7 species accounted for <1.0% of all Culicoides spp. collected. The mean number of Culicoides spp. collected per trap night (Trap Index [TI]) was highest for C. punctatus (409.3), followed by C. arakawae (144.2), C. tainanus (4.1), C. oxystoma (1.2), C. circumscriptus (0.7), C. homotomus (0.6), C. erairai (0.4), C. kibunensis (0.3), and C. nipponensis (0.04). Peak TIs were observed for C. punctatus (1,188.7) and C. arakawae (539.0) during July and August, respectively. C. punctatus and C. arakawae have been implicated in the transmission of arboviruses and other pathogens of veterinary importance that adversely impact on animal and bird husbandry.
Culicoides punctatus; Culicoides arakawae; biting midge; seasonal abundance
Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) genotype V reemerged in Asia (China) in 2009 after a 57-year hiatus from the continent, thereby emphasizing a need to increase regional surveillance efforts. Genotypic characterization was performed on 19 JEV-positive mosquito pools (18 pools of Culex tritaeniorhynchus and 1 pool of Cx. bitaeniorhynchus) from a total of 64 positive pools collected from geographically different locations throughout the Republic of Korea (ROK) during 2008 and 2010.
Two regions of the JEV genome were sequenced from 19 pools; the envelope gene and the nonstructural protein 5 (NS5)/3'-untranslated region (UTR). Eighteen pools of Culex tritaeniorhynchus and one pool of Cx. bitaeniorhynchus were positive for genotype I and genotype V, respectively. Sequence alignment of the complete E gene from Cx. bitaeniorhynchus showed high amino acid similarity (98.8%) to the Muar strain, characterized as the first report of genotype V, isolated from an encephalitis patient in Malaysia in 1952.
This study represents the first report of JEV genotype V in the ROK. The reemergence of genotype V in Asia (China and ROK) after more than a half-century and its discovery in Cx. bitaeniorhynchus, a mosquito species previously unknown to carry JEV in the ROK, emphasizes the need for enhanced JE surveillance to monitor the dynamics of JEV strains within the region. Future findings may have implications with regard to JEV vaccination/prevention strategies.
Japanese encephalitis virus; genotype I; genotype V; Culex tritaeniorhynchus; Culex bitaeniorhynchus; Muar
Vivax malaria is a significant military and civilian health threat in the north of the Republic of Korea (ROK). The island of Baengnyeong-do is the westernmost point of the ROK and is located close to the southwestern coast of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). Mosquitoes were collected using a black light trap on Baengnyeong-do, and Anopheles spp. were assayed by PCR, to identify the species, and screened for sporozoites of Plasmodium vivax. Of a subsample of 257 mosquitoes, Anopheles lesteri was the most frequently collected (49.8%), followed by Anopheles sinensis (22.6%), Anopheles pullus (18.7%), Anopheles kleini (7.8%), and Anopheles belenrae (1.2%). The overall sporozoite rate was 3.1%, with the highest rates observed in An. kleini (15.0%), An. sinensis (5.2%), and An. lesteri (1.6%). No sporozoite positive An. pullus or An. belenrae were observed. The results extend our knowledge of the distribution and potential role in malaria transmission of An. kleini, An. lesteri, and An. sinensis, for an area previously considered to be at a low risk for contracting vivax malaria.
Anopheles lesteri; Anopheles kleini; Anopheles sinensis; Plasmodium vivax; malaria; sporozoite; Baengnyeong-do (Island)
A tick survey was conducted to determine the relative abundance and distribution of ticks associated with selected mammals in the Republic of Korea (ROK) during 2008-2009. A total of 918 ticks were collected from 76 mammals (6 families, 9 species) captured at 6 provinces and 3 Metropolitan Cities in ROK. Haemaphysalis longicornis (54.4%) was the most frequently collected tick, followed by Haemaphysalis flava (28.5%), Ixodes nipponensis (7.6%), Ixodes pomerantzevi (4.8%), Ixodes persulcatus (4.6%), and Haemaphysalis japonica (0.1%). Adults (57.0%) and nymphs (28.7%) of Ixodes and Haemaphysalis spp. were collected most frequently from medium or large mammals in this survey, while few larvae (14.3%) were collected. Hydropotes inermis was the most frequently captured mammal (52.6%), with a 16.4 tick index and 5 of 6 species of ticks collected during this survey. H. longicornis (69.7%) was the predominant tick collected from H. inermis, followed by H. flava (22.2%), I. persulcatus (6.1%), I. nipponensis (1.8%), and H. japonica (0.2%).
Haemaphysalis longicornis; Haemaphysalis flava; Ixodes nipponensis; mammal; host; distribution
Recently, Imjin virus (MJNV), a genetically distinct hantavirus, was isolated from lung tissues of the Ussuri white-toothed shrew (Crocidura lasiura) captured near the demilitarized zone in the Republic of Korea. To clarify the genetic diversity of MJNV, partial M- and L-segment sequences were amplified from lung tissues of 12 of 37 (32.4%) anti-MJNV IgG antibody-positive Ussuri white-toothed shrews captured between 2004 and 2010. A 531-nucleotide region of the M segment (coordinates 2,255 to 2,785) revealed that the 12 MJNV strains differed by 0-12.2% and 0-2.3% at the nucleotide and amino acid levels, respectively. A similar degree of nucleotide (0.2-11.9%) and amino acid (0-3.8%) difference was found in a 632-nucleotide length of the L segment (coordinates 962 to 1,593) of nine MJNV strains. Phylogenetic analyses, based on the partial M and L segments of MJNV strains generated by the neighbor-joining and maximum likelihood methods, showed geographic-specific clustering, akin to the phylogeography of rodent-borne hantaviruses.
The prevalence of tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) in southern Korea was determined by collecting ticks using tick drags. A total of 4,077 of 6,788 ticks collected were pooled (649 pools) according to collection site, species, and developmental stage and assayed for TBEV. The TBEV protein E and NS5 gene fragments were detected using RT-nested PCR in six pools of nymphs collected from Jeju Island (2,491 ticks). The minimum field detection rates for TBEV were 0.17% and 0.14% for Haemaphysalis longicornis and Haemayphysalis flava nymphs, respectively. The 252 bp NS5 and 477 bp protein E gene amplicons were sequenced. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the NS5 and protein E genes of the Jeju strain were clustered with Western subtype (98.0% and 99.4% identity, respectively). The Western subtype of TBEV is endemic in Korea, including Jeju Island. The study of vector and zoonotic host susceptibility to TBEV is required to better understand its potential impact on public health.
Haemaphysalis flava; Haemaphysalis longicornis; Korea; tick; tick-borne encephalitis virus
Comprehensive quarterly serosurveillance on scrub typhus in small mammals collected from military training sites located near the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), northern Gyeonggi-do (Province), ROK was conducted to determine the potential rodent-borne and associated ectoparasite disease risks to military personnel. A total of 1,196 rodents and insectivores representing 8 species, Apodemus agrarius (87.3%, n = 1,044), Mus musculus (5.4%, n = 65), Crocidura lasiura (3.3%, n = 40), Microtus fortis (2.6%, n = 31), Micromys minutus (0.3%, n = 4), Tscherskia triton (0.3%, n = 4), Rattus norvegicus (0.3%, n = 4), and Myodes regulus (0.3%, n = 4) were assayed for the presence of antibodies to Orientia tsutsugamushi. O. tsutsugamushi antibodies were detected in 6 of 8 species and seroprevalence determined; A. agrarius (45.6%), M. musculus (23.1%), M. fortis (48.4%), M. minutus (50.0%), T. triton (50.0%), and R. norvegicus (25.0%). A total of 31,184 chigger mites collected from 508 rodents and insectivores were slide-mounted and 10 species belonging to 4 genera were identified. Leptotrombidium pallidum (53.4%) was the most frequently collected, followed by L. palpale (15.7%), Neotrombicula tamiyai (14.3%), L. orientale (10.7%), L. zetum (3.1%), Walchia fragilis (2.1%), and L. gemiticulum (0.8%), while the remaining 3 species, L. subintermedium, N. gardellai, and Euschoengastia koreaensis were rarely observed (prevalence < 10%). In contrast to previous surveys, higher chigger indices of the primary scrub typhus vectors, L. pallidum (165.4), L. orientale (45.0), and L. palpale (21.4), were observed during the spring season.
Apodemus agrarius; Mus musculus; Crocidura lasiura; chigger; Leptotrombidium; scrub typhus
Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), the causative agent of Japanese encephalitis (JE), is endemic to the Republic of Korea (ROK) where unvaccinated United States (U.S.) military Service members, civilians and family members are stationed. The primary vector of the JEV in the ROK is Culex tritaeniorhynchus. The ecological relationship between Culex spp. and rice fields has been studied extensively; rice fields have been shown to increase the prevalence of Cx. tritaeniorhynchus. This research was conducted to determine if the quantification of rice field land cover surrounding U.S. military installations in the ROK should be used as a parameter in a larger risk model that predicts the abundance of Cx. tritaeniorhynchus populations.
Mosquito data from the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) mosquito surveillance program were used in this project. The average number of female Cx. tritaeniorhynchus collected per trap night for the months of August and September, 2002-2008, was calculated. Rice fields were manually digitized inside 1.5 km buffer zones surrounding U.S. military installations on high-resolution satellite images, and the proportion of rice fields was calculated for each buffer zone.
Mosquito data collected from seventeen sample sites were analyzed for an association with the proportion of rice field land cover. Results demonstrated that the linear relationship between the proportion of rice fields and mosquito abundance was statistically significant (R2 = 0.62, r = .79, F = 22.72, p < 0.001).
The analysis presented shows a statistically significant linear relationship between the two parameters, proportion of rice field land cover and log10 of the average number of Cx. tritaeniorhynchus collected per trap night. The findings confirm that agricultural land cover should be included in future studies to develop JE risk prediction models for non-indigenous personnel living at military installations in the ROK.
Larval mosquito habitats of potential malaria vectors and related species of Anopheles from three provinces (Gyeonggi, Gyeongsangbuk, Chungcheongbuk Provinces) of the Republic of Korea were surveyed in 2007. This study aimed to determine the species composition, seasonal occurrence and distributions of Anopheles mosquitoes. Satellite derived normalized difference vegetation index data (NDVI) was also used to study the seasonal abundance patterns of Anopheles mosquitoes.
Mosquito larvae from various habitats were collected using a standard larval dipper or a white plastic larval tray, placed in plastic bags, and were preserved in 100% ethyl alcohol for species identification by PCR and DNA sequencing. The habitats in the monthly larval surveys included artificial containers, ground depressions, irrigation ditches, drainage ditches, ground pools, ponds, rice paddies, stream margins, inlets and pools, swamps, and uncultivated fields. All field-collected specimens were identified to species, and relationships among habitats and locations based on species composition were determined using cluster statistical analysis.
In about 10,000 specimens collected, eight species of Anopheles belonging to three groups were identified: Hyrcanus Group - Anopheles sinensis, Anopheles kleini, Anopheles belenrae, Anopheles pullus, Anopheles lesteri, Anopheles sineroides; Barbirostris Group - Anopheles koreicus; and Lindesayi Group - Anopheles lindesayi japonicus. Only An. sinensis was collected from all habitats groups, while An. kleini, An. pullus and An. sineroides were sampled from all, except artificial containers. The highest number of Anopheles larvae was found in the rice paddies (34.8%), followed by irrigation ditches (23.4%), ponds (17.0%), and stream margins, inlets and pools (12.0%). Anopheles sinensis was the dominant species, followed by An. kleini, An. pullus and An. sineroides. The monthly abundance data of the Anopheles species from three locations (Munsan, Jinbo and Hayang) were compared against NDVI and NDVI anomalies.
The species composition of Anopheles larvae varied in different habitats at various locations. Anopheles populations fluctuated with the seasonal dynamics of vegetation for 2007. Multi-year data of mosquito collections are required to provide a better characterization of the abundance of these insects from year to year, which can potentially provide predictive capability of their population density based on remotely sensed ecological measurements.
Until recently, the single known exception to the rodent-hantavirus association was Thottapalayam virus (TPMV), a long-unclassified virus isolated from the Asian house shrew (Suncus murinus). Robust gene amplification techniques have now uncovered several genetically distinct hantaviruses from shrews in widely separated geographic regions. Here, we report the characterization of a newly identified hantavirus, designated Imjin virus (MJNV), isolated from the lung tissues of Ussuri white-toothed shrews of the species Crocidura lasiura (order Soricomorpha, family Soricidae, subfamily Crocidurinae) captured near the demilitarized zone in the Republic of Korea during 2004 and 2005. Seasonal trapping revealed the highest prevalence of MJNV infection during the autumn, with evidence of infected shrews' clustering in distinct foci. Also, marked male predominance among anti-MJNV immunoglobulin G antibody-positive Ussuri shrews was found, whereas the male-to-female ratio among seronegative Ussuri shrews was near 1. Plaque reduction neutralization tests showed no cross neutralization for MJNV and rodent-borne hantaviruses but one-way cross neutralization for MJNV and TPMV. The nucleotide and deduced amino acid sequences for the different MJNV genomic segments revealed nearly the same calculated distances from hantaviruses harbored by rodents in the subfamilies Murinae, Arvicolinae, Neotominae, and Sigmodontinae. Phylogenetic analyses of full-length S, M, and L segment sequences demonstrated that MJNV shared a common ancestry with TPMV and remained in a distinct out-group, suggesting early evolutionary divergence. Studies are in progress to determine if MJNV is pathogenic for humans.