Scrub typhus: All about the mystery fever that has been gripping Indian states

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Aug 31, 2021, 04:44 PM(IST)

scrub typhus Photograph:( DNA )

Story highlights

Scrub typhus, also known as bush typhus, is a disease caused by a bacteria called Orientia Tsutsugamushi. The infection spreads to people through bites of infected chiggers (larval mites)

In the western part of Uttar Pradesh’s Mathura district, more than 29 people, aged between two to 45 years, had been infected with a mystery fever, which has been identified as scrub typhus.

Following complaints of infection in the area, medical teams collected samples from people at Koh village, which found that more people have been infected with scrub typhus.

Apart from Mathura, other districts like Firozabad and Mainpuri have also been witnessing a spike in similar cases cases. Health officials have sounded alter following a surge in cases.

On August 27, there were reports that even Assam has also registered cases of scrub typhus. According to local media reports, the state health department had to temporarily shit down a Covid hospital in Guwahati where 29 cases were.

What is scrub typhus?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), scrub typhus, also known as bush typhus, is a disease caused by a bacteria called Orientia Tsutsugamushi. The infection spreads to people through bites of infected chiggers (larval mites).

What are the symptoms?

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 rash.

CDC states that people with severe illness may develop organ failure and bleeding, which can be fatal if left untreated.

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Is there any vaccine for the prevention of scrub typhus?

According to CDC, no vaccine is available to prevent scrub typhus at the moment. The organisation has suggested to avoid contact with anyone infected by chiggers. It has also asked to take precaution while travelling to areas where scrub typhus is common, areas with lots of vegetation and brush where chiggers may be found.

How to treat the infection?

The CDC says that if someone gets infected by scrub typhus, the person should be treated with the antibiotic doxycycline. People who are treated early with doxycycline usually recover quickly, according to the agency.

It has further advised people to dress children in clothing that covers arms and legs, or cover crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting in order to keep scrub typhus at bay. It also asked them to treat clothing and gear with 0.5% permethrin as it kills chiggers.

Any other countries where scrub typhus has been reported?

Apart from India, cases of scrub typhus have been reported from rural areas of Indonesia, China, Japan and northern Australia.

(With inputs from agencies)

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