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Objectives: To develop a method to enable the large-scale antimicrobial susceptibility screening of Orientia tsutsugamushi clinical isolates, using one timepoint and one concentration of antibiotics to considerably speed up the time to result. Methods: Growth, harvesting, multiplicity of infection (moi) and the day to determine the MICs were optimized using five O. tsutsugamushi reference strains [susceptible (Karp, Kato and Gilliam) and putatively resistant (AFC-3 and AFSC-4)], one clinical isolate (UT76) and one rodent isolate (TA763). Subsequently, the MICs of azithromycin, chloramphenicol and doxycycline for these strains and 51 clinical isolates including AFSC-7 were determined. An optimal concentration was calculated using the epidemiological cut-off value. Results: The conditions for O. tsutsugamushi infection, growth and harvesting were determined to be an moi of 100:1 and trypsinization with the peak growth on day 10. The resulting MICs were in line with previously published susceptibility data for all reference strains, except for Karp and AFSC-4, which showed azithromycin MICs of 0.0156 and 0.0313 mg/L, compared with 0.0078 and 0.0156 mg/L, respectively, in previous reports. The MIC of doxycycline for AFC-3 was 0.125 mg/L compared with >4 mg/L in earlier reports. The final single screening concentrations were identified as: azithromycin, 0.125 mg/L; chloramphenicol, 8 mg/L; and doxycycline, 1 mg/L. Conclusions: This simplified procedure facilitates the simultaneous screening of 48 isolates for actively monitoring potential resistance of this important fever pathogen, with an 8-fold throughput improvement over early methods. The data do not support the existence of doxycycline- and chloramphenicol-resistant scrub typhus.

Original publication




Journal article


J Antimicrob Chemother

Publication Date





74 - 81