Cassian Baliarsingh

As many as five people have reportedly succumbed to the deadly Scrub Typhus disease in Odisha, informed senior health official.

Sadhu Charan Dash, district public health official, Bargarh said that in August 168 samples were tested but no such cases were detected. “Till September 10, we tested 110 samples of which 4 cases detected. All the infected persons are safe,” he said.

Dash further said, “So far, 5 persons have succumbed to the disease from Bargarh district. Of the 5, two were diagnosed in Burla, 2 in Vikash hospital and 1 was under treatment in Bolangir. The deceased were 1 each from Attabira, Barpali and Bheden block, and 2 from Sohela block.”

Meanwhile, at least 3 cases of the mite-borne bacterial disease have been reported from western Odisha. One case each has been reported from from Sundargarh, Jharsuguda and Bargarh district.

All the patients are currently under treatment at Burla-based VIMSAR hospital. Fortunately, there have been no reports of any casualty due to the disease.

Nature of Scrub Typhus

Caused by bites of larval mites (chiggers), Scrub Typhus is a zoonotic disease. 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.

Symptoms of Scrub Typhus

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 & 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.

Speaking to media, Public Health Director, Niranjan Mishra said, “Scrub Typhus is not a new disease. It was detected in Odisha last year too. This is a bacterial disease and occurs when people are bitten by a red-insect like thing called chigger. This is especially when people are working in the fields and jungle. Most common symptoms of this disease include fever, headache, body ache and scrabs or lesions at the place of bite.”