Palakkad: After Dengue fever, sources reveal that Kerala is facing a threat of Tick fever (scrub typhus) or called Chellu pani locally, another fever transmitted from mites. Reports show that the number of infected persons are on the rise. Scrub typhus is largely reported from Thiruvananthapuram.

The number of persons affected initially by tick fever was 10 to 20  but in July, it increased to 54. Though the number came down to 24 in August, it again increased. Two deaths were reported in Thiruvananthapuram.

A total of 164 tick fever (Chellu fever) cases was reported in Thiruvananthapuram. The Health department officials informed that necessary preventive measures are being taken to control the spread of the disease.

Tick fever is also reported in Kozhikode, Thrissur, Palakkad, Pathanamthitta, Malappuram, Kannur, Kottayam and Alappuzha.

According to reports, high number of tick fever cases have been reported across Kerala after 2013.

Thickets are being cut down and actions, like spraying insecticides, are carried out to control mites which spread the bacteria that causes the disease. Control of rats is another necessary action to check the disease as mites are spread through rats.

Scrub typhus is caused by the bacteria Orientia tsutsugamushi. It is transmitted to humans and rodents by mites known as chiggers. The term scrub is used because of the vegetation that harbours the vector. However, certain endemic areas can be sandy and semi-arid, according to the World Health Organisation.