Two sets of oligonucleotide primers were used to amplify the genomic DNA of , the causative agent of scrub typhus (tsutsugamushi disease), by the polymerase chain reaction. Each set of primers amplified 538-bp and 109-bp products, representing part of a gene encoding a possible major 58-kDa immunogenic protein, from whole genomic DNA extracted from strains Karp, Kato, Gilliam, Kuroki and Kawasaki. No amplification was observed from , mouse and human genomic DNA. DNA amplification was observed from crude lysates of peripheral whole blood, tissue homogenates and paraffin-embedded skin biopsy sections obtained from patients with scrub typhus disease. Southern blot analysis demonstrated the specificity of the amplified DNA fragments following hybridisation with a DNA probe generated from strain Karp. By means of this procedure, a rapid and sensitive diagnosis of scrub typhus disease can be made during the acute stage of this infection.


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