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1.  Species Diversity and Seasonal Distribution of Culicoides spp. (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) in Jeju-do, Republic of Korea 
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.
PMCID: PMC4566504  PMID: 26323852
Culicoides lungchiensis; Culicoides tainanus; biting midge; Korea
2.  Seasonal Abundance of Deer and Horse Flies (Diptera: Tabanidae) in the Northern Part of Gyeonggi-do, Republic of 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.
PMCID: PMC4510686  PMID: 26174824
Horse fly; deer fly; seasonal abundance; Tabanidae; mosquito magnet trap; Korea
3.  Hantaan Virus Surveillance Targeting Small Mammals at Nightmare Range, a High Elevation Military Training Area, Gyeonggi Province, Republic of Korea 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0118483.
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.
PMCID: PMC4398386  PMID: 25874643
4.  Intestinal Nematodes from Small Mammals Captured near the Demilitarized Zone, Gyeonggi Province, Republic of Korea 
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.
PMCID: PMC4384801  PMID: 25748722
Nippostrongylus brasiliensis; Heligmosomoides polygyrus; Syphacia obvelata; Heterakis spumosa; Protospirura muris; Capillaria spp.; Trichuris muris; Rictularia affinis; nematode; rodent; insectivore
5.  Post Hoc Analysis of the PATRICIA Randomized Trial of the Efficacy of Human Papillomavirus Type 16 (HPV-16)/HPV-18 AS04-Adjuvanted Vaccine against Incident and Persistent Infection with Nonvaccine Oncogenic HPV Types Using an Alternative Multiplex Type-Specific PCR Assay for HPV DNA 
The efficacy of the human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV-16)/HPV-18 AS04-adjuvanted vaccine against cervical infections with HPV in the Papilloma Trial against Cancer in Young Adults (PATRICIA) was evaluated using a combination of the broad-spectrum L1-based SPF10 PCR-DNA enzyme immunoassay (DEIA)/line probe assay (LiPA25) system with type-specific PCRs for HPV-16 and -18. Broad-spectrum PCR assays may underestimate the presence of HPV genotypes present at relatively low concentrations in multiple infections, due to competition between genotypes. Therefore, samples were retrospectively reanalyzed using a testing algorithm incorporating the SPF10 PCR-DEIA/LiPA25 plus a novel E6-based multiplex type-specific PCR and reverse hybridization assay (MPTS12 RHA), which permits detection of a panel of nine oncogenic HPV genotypes (types 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 45, 52, 58, and 59). For the vaccine against HPV types 16 and 18, there was no major impact on estimates of vaccine efficacy (VE) for incident or 6-month or 12-month persistent infections when the MPTS12 RHA was included in the testing algorithm versus estimates with the protocol-specified algorithm. However, the alternative testing algorithm showed greater sensitivity than the protocol-specified algorithm for detection of some nonvaccine oncogenic HPV types. More cases were gained in the control group than in the vaccine group, leading to higher point estimates of VE for 6-month and 12-month persistent infections for the nonvaccine oncogenic types included in the MPTS12 RHA assay (types 31, 33, 35, 45, 52, 58, and 59). This post hoc analysis indicates that the per-protocol testing algorithm used in PATRICIA underestimated the VE against some nonvaccine oncogenic HPV types and that the choice of the HPV DNA testing methodology is important for the evaluation of VE in clinical trials. (This study has been registered at under registration no. NCT00122681.)
PMCID: PMC4308870  PMID: 25540273
6.  Clinical and Molecular Epidemiological Features of Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome in Korea over a 10-year Period 
Laboratory diagnosis of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS), an infectious disease caused by rodent-borne hantaviruses in Asia and Europe, depends primarily on serological methods. Since the advent of such serodiagnostic tests, few reports are available about the clinical and molecular epidemiological features of HFRS.
To investigate the epidemioclinical features of HFRS treated at a tertiary-care teaching hospital in Seoul over a 10-year period.
Study design
Medical records of HFRS patients, visited to a tertiary-care teaching hospital during February 2002 to February 2012, were reviewed. Sera from patients were tested for Hantaan virus (HTNV) and Seoul virus (SEOV) RNA using RT-PCR.
Among 35 HFRS patients (mean age was 44.2 ± 14.7 years), 29 were male (82.9%). Acute renal failure developed in 27 patients (77.1%), and 12 patients (34.3%) were admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). Conjunctival injection (OR 10.32, 95% CI 1.09–97.77, P = .04) and initial serum albumin less than 3 g/dL (OR 22.83, 95% CI 1.45–359.93, P = .03) were risk factors for ICU admission. Of 35 acute-phase sera, 11 (31.4%) were positive for HTNV RNA. None were positive for SEOV RNA.
HFRS was characterized by the clinical triad of fever, renal insufficiency and gastrointestinal symptoms. Conjunctival injection and serum albumin level were related to severity. Large scaled multi-center study is needed to enhance an insight to epidemioclinical characteristics of HFRS in Korea.
PMCID: PMC4153883  PMID: 23871164
Hantaan virus; Hantavirus; Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome; Korea
7.  Ticks Collected from Wild and Domestic Animals and Natural Habitats in the Republic of Korea 
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.
PMCID: PMC4096639  PMID: 25031468
Haemaphysalis longicornis; Haemaphysalis flava; Haemaphysalis formosensis; animal; abundance; tick index
8.  Muju Virus, Harbored by Myodes regulus in Korea, Might Represent a Genetic Variant of Puumala Virus, the Prototype Arvicolid Rodent-Borne Hantavirus 
Viruses  2014;6(4):1701-1714.
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.
PMCID: PMC4014717  PMID: 24736214
hantavirus; Myodes regulus; Muju virus; phylogeny
9.  Larval Chigger Mites Collected from Small Mammals in 3 Provinces, Korea 
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.
PMCID: PMC4028465  PMID: 24850971
Apodemus agrarius; Leptotrombidium pallidum; Leptotrombidium scutellare; chigger mite; chigger index
10.  Whole-Genome Sequence of Muju Virus, an Arvicolid Rodent-Borne Hantavirus 
Genome Announcements  2014;2(1):e00099-14.
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.
PMCID: PMC3937608  PMID: 24578272
11.  Seasonal Abundance of Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) Collected by Mosquito Magnet® in Northern Gyeonggi-do (Province), Korea 
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.
PMCID: PMC3948995  PMID: 24623883
Culicoides nipponensis; Culicoides erairai; Culicoides punctatus; biting midge; Korea
12.  Plasmodium-Specific Molecular Assays Produce Uninterpretable Results and Non-Plasmodium spp. Sequences in Field-Collected Anopheles Vectors 
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 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.
PMCID: PMC3854888  PMID: 24189365
13.  Seasonal Distribution of Ticks in Four Habitats near the Demilitarized Zone, Gyeonggi-do (Province), Republic of Korea 
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.
PMCID: PMC3712106  PMID: 23864743
Haemaphysalis; Ixodes; tick; seasonal distribution; habitats; Korea
14.  Determinants of Anopheles Seasonal Distribution Patterns Across a Forest to Periurban Gradient near Iquitos, Peru 
As part of a field ecology study of arbovirus and malaria activity in the Amazon Basin, Loreto Department, Peru, we collected mosquitoes landing on humans at a forest site and inside and outside of residences and military barracks at periurban, rural, and village sites. We collected 11 Anopheles spp. from these four sites. An. darlingi, the principal malaria vector in the region, accounted for 98.7% of all Anopheles spp. collected at Puerto Almendra. Peaks in landing activity occurred during the December and April collection periods. However, the percent of sporozoite-positive Anopheles spp. was highest 1–2 months later, when landing activity decreased to approximately 10% of the peak activity periods. At all sites, peak landing activity occurred about 2 hours after sunset. These data provide a better understanding of the taxonomy, population density, and seasonal and habitat distribution of potential malaria vectors within the Amazon Basin region.
PMCID: PMC3284362  PMID: 22403317
15.  Molecular Detection and Genotyping of Japanese Encephalitis Virus in Mosquitoes during a 2010 Outbreak in the Republic of Korea 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e55165.
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.
PMCID: PMC3563655  PMID: 23390520
16.  Ecological Niche Modeling to Estimate the Distribution of Japanese Encephalitis Virus in Asia 
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.
Methods/Principal Findings
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.
Author Summary
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.
PMCID: PMC3378598  PMID: 22724030
17.  Seasonal Abundance of Biting Midges, Culicoides spp. (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae), Collected at Cowsheds in the Southern Part of the Republic of Korea 
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.
PMCID: PMC3375450  PMID: 22711923
Culicoides punctatus; Culicoides arakawae; biting midge; seasonal abundance
18.  Emergence of Japanese encephalitis virus genotype V in the Republic of Korea 
Virology Journal  2011;8:449.
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.
PMCID: PMC3196923  PMID: 21943222
Japanese encephalitis virus; genotype I; genotype V; Culex tritaeniorhynchus; Culex bitaeniorhynchus; Muar
19.  Mosquito Species Composition and Plasmodium vivax Infection Rates on Baengnyeong-do (Island), Republic of Korea 
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.
PMCID: PMC3210853  PMID: 22072836
Anopheles lesteri; Anopheles kleini; Anopheles sinensis; Plasmodium vivax; malaria; sporozoite; Baengnyeong-do (Island)
20.  Ticks Collected from Selected Mammalian Hosts Surveyed in the Republic of Korea During 2008-2009 
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%).
PMCID: PMC3210857  PMID: 22072840
Haemaphysalis longicornis; Haemaphysalis flava; Ixodes nipponensis; mammal; host; distribution
21.  Emergence of New Alleles of the MSP-3α Gene in Plasmodium vivax Isolates from Korea 
Nucleotide sequence analysis of the Plasmodium vivax PvMSP-3α gene was conducted on blood from 143 malaria patients admitted to Korea University Medical Center from 1996 to 2007 in the Republic of Korea (ROK). From 1996 to 2002, the PvMSP-3α alleles were of two types, SKOR-67 (2.53 kb) and SKOR-69 (1.78 kb), which differed in length and amino acid sequence. Two new variants with similar size to SKOR-67 were first observed in 2002 and in 2006–2007 accounted for nearly 50% (25/51) of the sampled isolates. The new variants had the same amino acid sequence as SKOR-69 in the N-terminal region, but in Blocks I and II and in the C-terminal region, they were similar to previously reported isolates from Thailand, Papua New Guinea, India, Brazil, and Ecuador strains.
PMCID: PMC2844544  PMID: 20348492
22.  The AFHSC-Division of GEIS Operations Predictive Surveillance Program: a multidisciplinary approach for the early detection and response to disease outbreaks 
BMC Public Health  2011;11(Suppl 2):S10.
The Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center, Division of Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System Operations (AFHSC-GEIS) initiated a coordinated, multidisciplinary program to link data sets and information derived from eco-climatic remote sensing activities, ecologic niche modeling, arthropod vector, animal disease-host/reservoir, and human disease surveillance for febrile illnesses, into a predictive surveillance program that generates advisories and alerts on emerging infectious disease outbreaks. The program’s ultimate goal is pro-active public health practice through pre-event preparedness, prevention and control, and response decision-making and prioritization. This multidisciplinary program is rooted in over 10 years experience in predictive surveillance for Rift Valley fever outbreaks in Eastern Africa. The AFHSC-GEIS Rift Valley fever project is based on the identification and use of disease-emergence critical detection points as reliable signals for increased outbreak risk. The AFHSC-GEIS predictive surveillance program has formalized the Rift Valley fever project into a structured template for extending predictive surveillance capability to other Department of Defense (DoD)-priority vector- and water-borne, and zoonotic diseases and geographic areas. These include leishmaniasis, malaria, and Crimea-Congo and other viral hemorrhagic fevers in Central Asia and Africa, dengue fever in Asia and the Americas, Japanese encephalitis (JE) and chikungunya fever in Asia, and rickettsial and other tick-borne infections in the U.S., Africa and Asia.
PMCID: PMC3092411  PMID: 21388561
23.  Malaria and other vector-borne infection surveillance in the U.S. Department of Defense Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center-Global Emerging Infections Surveillance program: review of 2009 accomplishments 
BMC Public Health  2011;11(Suppl 2):S9.
Vector-borne infections (VBI) are defined as infectious diseases transmitted by the bite or mechanical transfer of arthropod vectors. They constitute a significant proportion of the global infectious disease burden. United States (U.S.) Department of Defense (DoD) personnel are especially vulnerable to VBIs due to occupational contact with arthropod vectors, immunological naiveté to previously unencountered pathogens, and limited diagnostic and treatment options available in the austere and unstable environments sometimes associated with military operations. In addition to the risk uniquely encountered by military populations, other factors have driven the worldwide emergence of VBIs. Unprecedented levels of global travel, tourism and trade, and blurred lines of demarcation between zoonotic VBI reservoirs and human populations increase vector exposure. Urban growth in previously undeveloped regions and perturbations in global weather patterns also contribute to the rise of VBIs. The Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center-Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System (AFHSC-GEIS) and its partners at DoD overseas laboratories form a network to better characterize the nature, emergence and growth of VBIs globally. In 2009 the network tested 19,730 specimens from 25 sites for Plasmodium species and malaria drug resistance phenotypes and nearly another 10,000 samples to determine the etiologies of non-Plasmodium species VBIs from regions spanning from Oceania to Africa, South America, and northeast, south and Southeast Asia. This review describes recent VBI-related epidemiological studies conducted by AFHSC-GEIS partner laboratories within the OCONUS DoD laboratory network emphasizing their impact on human populations.
PMCID: PMC3092419  PMID: 21388569
24.  Genetic diversity of Imjin virus in the Ussuri white-toothed shrew (Crocidura lasiura) in the Republic of Korea, 2004-2010 
Virology Journal  2011;8:56.
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.
PMCID: PMC3046926  PMID: 21303516
25.  Prevalence of tick-borne encephalitis virus in ticks from southern Korea 
Journal of Veterinary Science  2010;11(3):197-203.
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.
PMCID: PMC2924480  PMID: 20706026
Haemaphysalis flava; Haemaphysalis longicornis; Korea; tick; tick-borne encephalitis virus

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