Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome: Comparison with scrub typhus and clinical diagnostic prediction

Sang Won Park, Chang Seop Lee, Jeong Han Kim, In Gyu Bae, Chisook Moon, Yee Gyung Kwak, Baek Nam Kim, Jae Hoon Lee, Seong Yeol Ryu, Hee Chang Jang, Jian Hur, Jae Bum Jun, Younghee Jung, Hyun Ha Chang, Young Keun Kim, Jeong Hwan Hwang, Yeon Sook Kim, Hye Won Jeong, Kyoung Ho Song, Wan Beom ParkEu Suk Kim, Myoung Don Oh

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) is emerging in Asian 3 countries, China, Japan and Korea, which are scrub typhus endemic areas, and its incidence is increasing. As the two infections overlap epidemiologically and clinically and the accessibility or sensitivity of diagnostic tests is limited, early clinical prediction may be useful for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Methods: Patients aged ≥16 years who were clinically suspected and laboratory-confirmed to be infected with Orientia tsutsugamushi or the SFTS virus in South Korea were enrolled. Clinical and laboratory parameters were compared. Scrub typhus was further subclassified according to the status of eschar and skin rash. An SFTS prediction scoring tool was generated based on a logistic regression analysis of SFTS compared with scrub typhus. Results: The analysis was performed on 255 patients with scrub typhus and 107 patients with SFTS. At initial presentation, subjective symptoms except for gastrointestinal symptoms, were more prominent in scrub typhus patients. In addition to the characteristic eschar and skin rash, headache was significantly more prominent in scrub typhus, while laboratory abnormalities were more prominent in SFTS. Leukopenia (white blood cell count < 4000/mm 3 ; odds ratio [OR] 30.13), thrombocytopenia (platelet count < 80,000 /mm 3 ; OR 19.73) and low C-reactive protein (< 1 mg/dL; OR 67.46) were consistent risk factors for SFTS (all P < 0.001). A prediction score was generated using these 3 variables, and a score ≥ 2 had a sensitivity of 93.1% (95% confidence interval [CI], 87.9-96.4%) and a specificity of 96.1% (95% CI, 93.8-97.6%) for SFTS. Conclusion: This prediction scoring tool may be useful for differentiating SFTS from eschar- or skin rash-negative scrub typhus. It is a simple and readily applicable tool with potential for use in primary care settings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number174
JournalBMC Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Feb 19

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by grants from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015-E24001–00,; MdO), the Seoul National University Hospital Research Fund (04–2009-610,; SWP) and the Seoul Metropolitan Government Seoul National University Boramae Medical Center (03–2018-14,; SWP). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Infectious Diseases


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