At least five people in Odisha and nine people in Himachal Pradesh's Shimla have died after being infected with scrub typhus.
Four others are undergoing treatment in Odisha for scrub typhus which is a deadly infection caused by the bite of a small mite.
What is this infection? What should you need to know about it? FIT answers all your FAQs.
What is scrub typhus?
Scrub typhus, also known as bush typhus, is an infectious disease which is caused by a bacteria called Orientia Tsutsugamushi.
The infection is spread to people by the bite of mites which are at the larva stage. These mite thrive in hot and humid conditions and are found in forests, grass, bushes, etc.
The disease is prevalent in Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Islands.
What signs and symptoms should one look out for?
The symptoms of typhus usually begin 10-12 days after the bite. You can look out for the following signs:
Eschar is a very specific sign to look out for at the site of the bite. It may appear ulcer-like initially which then turns into a black scab.
Fever and chills
Muscle pain/body ache
Swollen lymph nodes
If left untreated, severe complications could happen too, like an impact on the central nervous system leading to confusion, in extreme cases loss of hearing, and sometimes changes in the patterns of the heart beat.
If left untreated, the disease can also lead to organ failure, heart failure, or cardiovascular complications which can be fatal. It can also cause inflammation of blood vessels.
How is scrub typhus diagnosed?
Scrub typhus can be identified and diagnosed through blood tests.
In case you have any of the above-mentioned symptoms, you should visit your doctor/physician who may be able to run appropriate tests.
This is all the more crucial if you have traveled to a geographical location where the disease has been reported.
A check-up may be beneficial to get an early diagnosis and take further precautions to avoid any complications.
What measures can you take to prevent scrub typhus?
There is no known vaccine of scrub typhus yet. But there are some measures you can take to prevent it:
Apply insect repellants (usually over the clothes and after the application of sunscreen).
If you are with children, ensure that they wear clothes with full coverage.
Maintain personal hygiene.
Avoid travelling to areas where scrub typhus cases are being reported.
Check your pets for ticks.
How does one treat scrub typhus?
To treat scrub typhus, medical professionals usually prescribe an antibiotic course. A relapse of the infection can be avoided by ensuring that the medication is taken timely.