The monsoon season offers a much-needed break from the intense heat, but it also brings a range of diseases, from bacterial infections to waterborne diseases, the list is endless. Recently, a new bacterial infection, Scrub Typhus, has emerged, claiming lives in Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh. According to the reports, at least 5 people have succumbed to the infection and more than 700 people have tested positive.
What is Scrub Typhus exactly?
Scrub Typhus, also known as ‘bush typhus’ according to the doctors, is an emerging infectious disease with seasonal prevalence, caused by the bacteria ‘Orentia tsutsugamushi’. This bacterium is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected mites, commonly found in areas with dense vegetation. It is commonly found in the Asia-Pacific region, including India, and is more prominent during the rainy season and in hilly areas. And people who regularly visit farmlands or forests are at heightened risk of contracting the infection.
It is primarily spread to human beings by the bites of infected mites known as chiggers. These mites are usually present in densely forested environments and tall grasses. The symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pain, rashes, and swollen lymph nodes, as explained by the doctors.
Additionally, a distinctive feature of Scrub Typhus is the presence of an eschar, a type of necrotic tissue that can form at the site of a chigger bite. Doctors highlighted that without treatment, severe cases can lead to organ dysfunction, including respiratory and renal failure.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Scrub Typhus is a cause of concern in India due to its potential to cause significant morbidity and, in some cases morality if not promptly diagnosed and treated. Doctors have highlighted that this disease shares symptoms with malaria, dengue, and other febrile disease during the monsoon season, making both the diagnosis and management challenging yet crucial.
Who is more likely to be affected?
Individuals who are at risk of Scrub Typhus include those residing in rural or forested areas, engaging in outdoor activities like farming, camping, or hiking in endemic regions, and lack protective measures.
While Scrub Typhus can be a severe and potentially life-threatening disease, especially if left untreated, timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment can significantly decrease the risk of complications and death. If you suspect that you’ve been infected with this disease, go and seek medical attention as soon as possible.