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Suryakant Jena

Cases of Scrub Typhus, a mite-borne bacterial disease has been on a steady rise in western Odisha, triggering concerns.According to report, as many as 50 cases of the infection have been detected in Burla VIMSAR in the last one month. On an average two to three persons are reportedly visiting the hospital with cases of Scrub Typhus from several districts.

So what exactly is Scrub Typhus?

Scrub Typhus is a zoonotic disease and caused by bites of larval mites (chiggers). Orientia tsutsugamushi is a gram negative bacteria that causes this infection in humans. The bacteria from the mite carried on from animals like rodents enter the bloodstream and slowly spreads all over the body.

The most common symptoms of this disease include fever, headache, body ache and scrabs or lesions at the place of bite. The symptoms of the disease usually begin to onset within 10 days of interaction with the host. Delay in treatment is dangerous for patients with this disease as it may lead to organ failure and more fatal consequences.

How does it spread?

The vector mites usually come in contact with humans in forested areas, grasslands, farmlands where people engage in their work. Scrub Typhus is a re-emerging disease in India especially in Odisha where hundreds of cases are usually reported mostly in the rainy season every year.

Treatment and prevention

Scrub Typhus like many other bacterial diseases can be diagnosed in the laboratory with serology and PCR tests. No vaccine exists for this disease, however antibiotic treatment preferably with Doxycycline is generally recommended in the fight against the infection.

Spraying insecticides in areas where vectors are likely to grow, reducing rodent population, adopting safety measures like proper cleaning, wearing protective clothing during farm works and engagement in forest works is recommended.

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