Tiffany Asked, We Answered: What Is “Tsutsugamushi” And How Does Sunny Know About It?!

Thank you, Sunny, for raising awareness! 😂

In a recent Instagram update, Girls’ Generation‘s Tiffany wowed her followers with some gorgeous pictures for Burberry! Posing in her comfy but classy outfit, Tiffany is glowing with all the summer vibes.

Girls’ Generation’s Tiffany | @tiffanyyoungofficial/Instagram

As soon as the pictures got shared, however, her girl group teammate Sunny came by and warned Tiffany of “Tsutsugamushi” in a concerned but playful comment.

| @tiffanyyoungofficial/Instagram

T!!!!!! You’ll get tsutsugamushi!!!! Make sure you sit on something when you’re on grass!!!!!!!

— Sunny @515sunnyday

The comment left Tiffany extremely puzzled, asking, “What is tsutsugamushi 🥺🤯😳😵‍🥴🤮” and… well, we have the answers.

Girls’ Generation’s Sunny | @515sunnyday/Instagram

The tsutsugamushi disease, better known in the United States as the scrub typhus (or bush typhus), is a disease caused by a bacteria called Orientia tsutsugamushi. It is caused be tick bites, most easily and often occurring to people who expose themselves to these ticks by sitting on grassy areas.

A type of tsutsugamushi-carrying chigger found in Korea. | JTBC

Scrub typhus is spread to people through bites of infected chiggers (larval mites).


According to the CDC, “Most cases of scrub typhus occur in rural areas of Southeast Asia, Indonesia, China, Japan, India, and northern Australia”—but South Korea has seen cases since the 1950s. In fact, it is one of the three most frequently diagnosed diseases in the summer-fall seasons in Korea.

The most common symptoms of scrub typhus include fever, headache, body aches, and sometimes rash. Most cases of scrub typhus occur in rural areas of Southeast Asia, Indonesia, China, Japan, India, and northern Australia. Anyone living in or traveling to areas where scrub typhus is found could get infected.


Scrub typhus is treatable, though “no vaccine is available to prevent” it. CDC suggests avoiding areas with a lot of vegetation and brush where chiggers may be found.

That being said, starting around the month of May—with the increase in outdoor activities, Korean media constantly warns and reminds the public about the risks of sitting on grass and the symptoms of scrub typhus (which is probably how Sunny knows about all about it!).

Signage that reads, “The best way to prevent chigger bites is to stay away from chiggers,” displayed at the Han River park, where Seoul residents can be widely exposed to grassy areas. The signage suggests wearing long sleeves and bringing something to sit on. | @relief1004/Facebook

Symptoms of scrub typhus usually begin within 10 days of being bitten. Signs and symptoms may include: Fever and chills, headache, body aches and muscle pain, a dark scab-like region at the site of the chigger bite (also known as eschar), mental changes—ranging from confusion to coma, enlarged lymph nodes, and rashes.

Scrub typhus should be treated with the antibiotic doxycycline. Doxycycline can be used in persons of any age. Antibiotics are most effective if given soon after symptoms begin. People who are treated early with doxycycline usually recover quickly.


Thank you, Sunny, for raising awareness and saving Tiffany from the nasty bugs!

| @tiffanyyoungofficial/Instagram
Source: CDC, NamuWiki and THEQOO