Scrub Typhus

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Overview:

According to a new study conducted in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore, every millimetre increase in rainfall could lead to a 0.5 to 0.7 per cent rise in monthly scrub typhus cases.

About Scrub Typhus

  • It is an infectious disease caused by bacteria called Orientia tsutsugamushi.
  • It is transmitted through infected mites.
  • Symptoms
    • The symptoms typically include fever, headache, body ache and sometimes a rash.
    • In severe cases, the infection can lead to respiratory distress, brain and lung inflammation, kidney failure and multi-organ failure, ultimately resulting in death.
  • Several factors like vector abundance, climatic factors, exposures like farming and owning domestic animals, outdoor activities and sanitation, affect its prevalence.
  • This disease is more prevalent in cooler months.
  • In Northeast India, cases of scrub typhus occur from July to November in Manipur, July to October in Sikkim and September to November in Darjeeling.
  • It will not spread from person to person.
  • Treatment: Scrub typhus should be treated with the antibiotic doxycycline. Doxycycline can be used in persons of any age.
  • There is no vaccine available for this disease.

Key facts about Typhus fever

  • Typhus fevers are a group of diseases caused by bacteria that include epidemic typhus, scrub typhus, and murine typhus.
    • Epidemic typhus: It is caused due to Rickettsia prowazeki and it is spread to people through contact with infected body lice. 
    • Scrub typhusis: It is caused due to Orientia tsutsugamushi and spread by chiggers.
    • Murine typhus: It is caused due to Rickettsia typhi spread by fleas. It occurs in tropical and subtropical climates around the world

Q1) What are Mites?

It is a term commonly used to refer to a group of insect-like organisms, some of which bite or cause irritation to humans. While some mites parasitize animals, including man, others are scavengers, some feed on plants, and many prey on insects and other arthropods.

Source: Climate impact: Tamil Nadu study links vector-borne scrub typhus cases with high rainfall, humidity