Scrub typhus cases are on rise in Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh and the health authorities in the states have cautioned general public to follow precautionary tips to prevent its spread. The recent deaths of 19-year-old IIT JEE aspirant, Sneha Bharti and a 65-year-old in Shima has brought spotlight on the disease. Scrub typhus is a disease that’s spread to people through bite of a mite and is caused by a bacteria known as Orientia tsutsugamushi. You may catch it while doing outdoor activities or spending a lot of time in a garden or a forest area considering the mites are found in grass, bushes and even bodies of certain animals. The symptoms start around 10 days after getting infected and can include fever, headache, body aches, and sometimes rash. However, if the disease is not treated on time, it could cause multiple organ failure, a life-threatening complication. (Also read: Dengue outbreaks: 9 reasons why dengue cases are getting more severe; what role does global warming play)
What is Scrub typhusscrub
“Scrub typhus is an infectious disease caused by a bacteria known as Orientia tsutsugamushi. This infection spreads to people through the bite of a mite. This mite is mostly seen in grass, bushes and on the body of animals such as rats, rabbits, mice, and squirrels. Therefore, people engaged in gardening and outdoor activities are at high risk. With the onset of monsoon season, this disease begins to transmit rapidly,” says Dr Santosh Kumar Agrawal, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine, Marengo Asia Hospitals Faridabad.
All you want to know about the symptoms
Symptoms of typhus group of infection include:
- High fever
- Severe headache
- Dry cough
- Body aches
- Muscle pain
- A dark scab-like wound at the site of the chigger bite
- Enlarged lymph node
- Red spots or rashes on the body
- Red eyes
- Gastrointestinal symptoms
- Liver and spleen enlargement
Dr Agrawal says that people with these symptoms should immediately seek medical attention.
Precautions: What to keep in mind to prevent the disease
Dr Agrawal also shares all the precautionary measures that people should keep in mind to prevent getting infection.
- Focus on rodent control, cleanliness and maintaining hygiene.
- Be cautious while handling pets.
- Parents should make sure children playing in the soil wash their hands and legs with soap and water.
- People may apply mite repellents to exposed skin.
- Wear full sleeved clothes before venturing out shrubby areas for work.
- Do regular cleaning of surroundings including removal of shrubs and low vegetation will keep mite infestation in check
How is scrub typhus treated?
“Antibiotics are prescribed to control the infection and initial symptoms of this disease are identical to any viral infection, hence it can be deceptive. In case symptoms are left unattended, these may get worse. In case fever lasts for five days, a blood test is recommended to rule out scrub typhus. Doxycycline is prescribed as the best antibiotic and may work in 24 or 48 hours. Azithromycin medicine may be recommended for pregnant women,” says Dr Agrawal on how one should go about the treatment of this bacterial disease.
Courtesy – www.hindustantimes.com