A 38-year-old woman died at a government medical college hospital in Thiruvananthapuram due to scrub typhus on Sunday, the second death due to the disease in the last three days.
The patient, identified as Subitha, was admitted on June 10, hospital authorities said. “She was brought here on June 10, but died early this morning. As of now, we don’t have any similar case,” a senior hospital source said.
Fifteen-year-old Ashwathy died on June 9 due to the disease that is known as ‘chellu pani’ in local parlance. Ashwathy was a native of Cherunniyoor, a hamlet located over 40 km away from Thiruvananthapuram.
What is scrub typhus?
Scrub typhus is an infectious disease caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi, a mite-borne bacterium. Chigger mites, the larval stage of mites, transmit the disease from animals like rats, squirrels, and rabbits to humans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people get infected by it after getting bit by infected larval mites. Another name for bacterial fever is ‘Bush typhus’.
What are the symptoms of scrub typhus?
According to the CDC, symptoms of this disease a is just like any other viral fever. This may include
- Body aches
- Muscle soreness
Post contracting the virus a person might experience mental disorientation to going into a come. Some may patients are likely to experience joint pains, respiratory distress, inflammation in brain and lung, renal failure or multi-organ failure. These may lead to death.
What is the treatment for scrub typhus?
As per CDC, Scrub typhus should be treated with the antibiotic doxycycline. Doxycycline can be used in persons of any age. Antibiotics are most effective if given soon after symptoms begin. People who are treated early with doxycycline usually recover quickly.
It is important to note that there is no vaccine available for scrub typhus as of now.
Kids and adults must avoid getting bit by mosquitoes and chiggers. When traveling to areas where scrub typhus is common, avoid areas with lots of vegetation and brush where chiggers may be found.