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Scrub Typhus: What is it? Know symptoms, causes, prevention tips and other details

The scrub typhus infection spreads when a chigger bites someone. Persons who frequently visit farmland or forests are vulnerable to the infection.

Kristina Das Written By: Kristina Das New Delhi Updated on: September 14, 2023 14:37 IST
Scrub Typhus
Image Source : SOCIAL Know what is Scrub Typhus and its symptoms, causes and other details.

In Odisha, at least five people in Odisha died in a month due to scrub typhus infection, which spreads through bites of infected chiggers (larval mites). As per PTI reports, Bargarh Chief District Medical and Public Health Officer, Sadhu Charan Das said, two of the deceased were from Sohela block, Attabira, Bheden and Barpali blocks of Bargarh district reported one such death case each.

Public Health Director Niranjan Mishra alerted people about the mite-borne disease. The scrub typhus infection spreads when a chigger bites someone. The persons who frequently visit farmland or forests are vulnerable to the infection, he said. The most common symptoms of scrub typhus include fever and a black inflamed mark on the skin called ‘eschar’, Mishra said. When fever continues for several days, the patient should go through an ELISA test to scrub typhus. The test is available at the district public health laboratory of all district headquarters hospitals in the state. 

Regarding the Scrub Typhus, we have also connected with Dr Sujit Chatterjee, CEO at Dr LH Hiranandani Hospital, Powai, Mumbai and he has explained everything about the infectious disease.

What is scrub typhus?

Scrub typhus is a bacterial infection which is caused by the bacterium called Orientia tsutsugamushu. This bacterial infection is spread amongst humans by the bites of infected mites usually found in forested environments like forests and tall grass.

Why is it in focus in India?

Scrub typhus is a significant concern in India because of the variety of dense forests. present in different parts of the country. Usually in monsoon, there is a rise in scrub typhus patients leading to the health professionals paying little closer attention to this infection spread.

What are the causes and symptoms of Scrub Typhus?

Causes of Scrub Typhus

  • The main cause of scrub typhus is the bacterium Orientuai tsutsugamushi.
  • It is majorly spread in human beings by the bites of infected mites known as chiggers. 
  • These mites are usually present in dense forest green environments and tall grasses.

Symptoms of Scrub Typhus

  • For scrub typhus the main symptom is fever. 
  • Muscle discomfort, body pain, and headache are other common symptoms found.
  • At the point of bite, a black scab-like mark may be developed. 
  • In serious cases, scrub typhus may convert into pneumonia and organ failure, that why proper medical attention is a must.

Risk factors

The risk factors included in scrub typhus are usually people who spend 80 per cent of the day in dense vegetation are without wearing any protective gear such as sleeve clothes or full pants are usually at higher risk of getting infected and people who are involved in activities like farming, trekking, and cramping have the higher chances of getting infected.

How to prevent and treat it

To avoid getting infected from scrub typhus, people should always wear protective gear while going to forests like full-sleeved clothes and full pants. Always apply insect repellent and avoid extremely close contact with plants. If you feel any of the above-mentioned symptoms then do visit your doctor first and keep your medical safety as your priority. Usually, antibiotics like doxycycline are effective in such cases, but for this early detection is a must for proper recovery.

Is it fatal?

If you leave the prescription in between, scrub typhus can be fatal. Extreme cases can be recovered with proper medical care and appropriate antibiotic therapy. However, it is a must to recognize the symptoms as early as possible to reduce the risk of bacterial infection and chances of fatality linked with this infection.

(With PTI Inputs)

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