The geographical distributions and relative population densities of scrub typhus vector mites collected from small mammals were determined for 5 locations on the east coast of the Republic of Korea. Collection sites included Goseong, Gangneung, and Hoengseong in Gangwon province and Uljin and Yeongdeok in Gyeongbuk province. A total of 275 small mammals including members of Rodentia (rodents) and Soricomorpha (shrews, such as Crocidura lasiura) belonging to 4 genera and 4 species were captured in the field from 2012 to 2013. Apodemus agrarius was collected most frequently (220, 80%), followed by C. lasiura (25, 9.1%), Mus musculus (15, 5.5%), and Myodes regulus (15, 5.5%). A total of 23,436 larval chigger mites (Family Trombiculidae) belonging to 3 genera and 8 species (Leptotrombidium pallidum, Leptotrombidium scutellare, Leptotrombidium palpale, Leptotrombidium orientale, Leptotrombidium zetum, Neotrombicula tamiyai, Neotrombicula japonica, and Euschoengastica koreaensis) were collected from the small mammals. The predominant chigger species collected during the spring and fall seasons from A. agrarius were L. pallidum (57.6%), L. palpale (14.5%), and L. scutellare (7.9%). Leptotrombidium scutellare was collected only along the southeastern coast at Yeongdeok, Gyeongbuk province. The geographical distribution of scrub typhus vectors and reservoir hosts are important aspects of understanding the epidemiology of the disease as well as the potential impacts of climate change and health risks.
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Vol. 102 • No. 2