Advanced SearchSearch Tips
Association between Scrub Typhus Outbreaks and Meteorological Factors in Jeollabuk-do Province
facebook(new window)  Pirnt(new window) E-mail(new window) Excel Download
 Title & Authors
Association between Scrub Typhus Outbreaks and Meteorological Factors in Jeollabuk-do Province
Kang, Gong-Unn; Ma, Chang-Jin; Oh, Gyung-Jae;
  PDF(new window)
Objectives: Scrub typhus is one of the most prevalent vector-borne diseases. It is caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi, which is transmitted when people are bitten by infected chigger mites. This study aims at quantifying the association between the incidence of scrub typhus and meteorological factors in Jeollabuk-do Province over the period 2001-2015. Methods: Reported cases of scrub typhus were collected from the website of the Disease Web Statistical System supported by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC). Simultaneous meteorological data, including temperature, rainfall, relative humidity, and sunshine duration were collected from the website of the National Climate Data Service System by the Korea Meteorological Administration. Correlation and regression analyses were applied to identify the association between the incidence of scrub typhus and meteorological factors. Results: The general epidemiological characteristics of scrub typhus in Jeollabuk-do Province were similar to those nationwide for sex, age, and geographical distribution. However, the annual incidence rate (i.e., cases per 100,000) of scrub typhus in Jeollabuk-do Province was approximately four times higher than all Korea`s 0.9. The number of total cases was the highest proportion at 13.3% in Jeonbuk compared to other regions in Korea. The results of correlation analysis showed that there were significant correlations between annual cases of scrub typhus and monthly data for meteorological factors such as temperature and relative humidity in late spring and summer, especially in the case of temperature in May and June. The results of regression analysis showed that determining factors in the regression equation explaining the incidence of scrub typhus reached 46.2% and 43.5% in May and June. Using the regression equation, each 1oC rise in the monthly mean temperature in May or June may lead to an increase of 38 patients with scrub typhus compared to the annual mean of incidence cases in Jeollabuk-do Province. Conclusion: The result of our novel attempts provided rational evidence that meteorological factors are associated with the occurrence of scrub typhus in Jeollabuk-do. It should therefore be necessary to observe the trends and predict patterns of scrub typhus transmission in relation to global-scale climate change. Also, action is urgently needed in all areas, especially critical regions, toward taking steps to come up with preventive measures against scrub typhus transmission.
Climate change;correlation;meteorological factors;regression equation;scrub typhus;
 Cited by
Babin SM. Weather and climate effects on disease background levels. Johns Hopkins Apl Technical Digest. 2003; 24(4): 343-348.

Gage KL, Burkot TR, Eisen RJ, Hayes EB. Climate and vectorborne diseases, Am J Prev Med. 2008; 35(5): 436-450. crossref(new window)

Jang JY, Kim SH, Cho SN, Kim SJ. Analysis of vulnerability and relevant climate elements of climate-related infectious diseases in Korea. Climate Change and Health Forum. 2009; 55.

Jones KE, Patel NG, Levy MA, Storeygard A, Balk D, Gittleman JL, et al. Global trends in emerging infectious diseases. Nature. 2008; 451(7181): 990-993. crossref(new window)

Kadosaka T, Kimura E. Electron microscopic observations of Orientia tsutsugamushi in salivary gland cells of naturally infected Leptotrombidium pallidum larvae during feeding. Microbiol Immunol. 2003; 47:727-733. crossref(new window)

Kim SH, Jang JY. Correlations between climate change-related infections disease and meteorological factors in Korea. Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health. 2010; 43(5): 436-444. crossref(new window)

Kim SH, Yoon HJ. Climate change and respiratory allergic diseases. J. Korean Med Assoc. 2011; 54(2): 161-168. crossref(new window)

Kong WS, Shin EH, Lee HI, Hwang TS, Kim HH, Lee NY, et al. Time-spatial distribution of scrub typhus and its environmental ecology. Journal of the Korean Geographical Society. 2007; 42(6): 82-95.

Korea Center for Disease Control & Prevention (KCDC). A comparative study between Korea and Japan on agriculture working behavior for prevention of incidence of the scrub typhus. 2014.02.

Korea Center for Disease Control & Prevention (KCDC). Disease web statistics system. Available: [accessed December 2015]

Korea Meterological Administration. National climate data service system. Available: NCDSS, [accessed December 2015]

Li GD, Zhang JH, Jiao GJ, Zhao ZS. Advances in impacts of climate change on infectious diseases outbreak. Acta Ecologica Sinica. 2013; 33(21): 6762-6773. crossref(new window)

Li TG, Yang ZC, Dong ZQ, Wang M. Meteorological factors and risk of scrub typhus in Guangzhou, southern China, 2006-2012. BMC Infectious Diseases. 2014; 14: 139. crossref(new window)

McMichael AJ, Woodruff RE, Hales S. Climate change and human health: present and future risks. Lancet. 2006; 367(9513): 859-869. crossref(new window)

Ministry of Environment & National Institute of Environmental Research. Korean climate change assesment 2014(NIER-GP2014-159), 2015.1.

Park JK, Park O, Kim MY, Kim KH, Kim SM, Ko JA, et al. Potential impacts of climate change on scrub typhus in high incidence area of Korea. The Report of National Institute of Health. 2005; 42: 4-20.

Park SY, Han DK. Reviews in medical geography: Spatial epidemiology of vector-borne diseases. Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health. 2012; 47(5): 677-699.

Roh JL. Characteristics and geographical distribution of chigger mites as the vector of Orientia tsutsugamushi in Korea. Public Health Weekly Report. 2012; 5(13), 234-238.

Shin HS. Malaria prevalence rate and weather factors in Korea. Health and Social Review. 2011; 31(1): 217-237.