Scrub typhus is caused by R. tsutsugamushi, which is transmitted by chiggers. The term "scrub typhus" comes from the observation that the disease is found in habitats with scrub vegetation, but the name is somewhat of a misnomer. Scrub typhus is found in beach areas, savannas, tropical rainsforests, and deserts—in short, anywhere chiggers live. Scientists studying scrub typhus label a habitat that contains all the elements that might prompt an outbreak of the disease a "scrub typhus island." A scrub typhus island contains chiggers, rats, vegetation that will sustain the chiggers, and, of course, a reservoir of R. tsutsugamushi. Scrub typhus islands are common in the geographic area that includes Australia, Japan, Korea, India, and Vietnam.
The rash that occurs in scrub typhus sometimes includes a lesion called an eschar. An eschar is a sore that develops around the chigger bite. Scrub typhus symptoms of fever, rash, and chills may evolve into stupor, pneumonia, and circulatory failure if antibiotic treatment is not administered. Scrub typhus, like epidemic typhus, is fatal if not treated.