Background: Scrub typhus is a mite-borne bacterial infection caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi
. Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) is a potential severe complication. Most reported cases of HLH associated with scrub typhus were single cases or case series with a small sample sizes. Thus, no clear consensus exists on clinical manifestations and differences between pediatric and adult cases of this condition. Methods: a systematic search of English and Japanese articles from PubMed, PubMed Central, and Directory of Open Access Journals databases was performed from 3 December 2016 to 28 December 2017. The primary outcome was mortality in patients with HLH associated with scrub typhus; secondary outcomes were differences in clinical symptoms, laboratory findings, and treatment between pediatric and adult patients with HLH associated with scrub typhus. Results: thirty cases of HLH associated with scrub typhus were identified (age range: 2 months to 75 years; median age: 21.5 years, male:female ratio, 1:1). Eschar was frequently observed in the pediatric group (p
= 0.017), whereas acute kidney injury was more prevalent in the adult group (p
= 0.010). Two patients died of intracranial hemorrhage complicated with multiple organ failure; overall mortality rate was 6.7%. Conclusions: HLH associated with scrub typhus could be cured with remarkable improvement using single antibiotic therapy in approximately half the cases, with the mortality rate being relatively lower than that of HLH associated with other secondary causes.
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