Thiruvananthapuram: Scrub typhus turned the cause of death for two persons in Thiruvananthapuram in the last week. Parasuvaikkal native Subitha succumbed to the bacterial infection only on Sunday. A fifteen-year-old girl from Varkala had also died of scrub typhus on June 8. However, the district medical officer Jose G D’Cruz informed the public that no state of health emergency exists in the district and alerted people to be cautious.
For the past few years, Thiruvananthapuram reported more cases of scrub typhus compared to the other districts. Though more than 200 persons are diagnosed with Scrub typhus annually in the state, the mortality rate caused by the infection is very low. Less than ten deaths are being reported in Kerala yearly.
The mite-borne bacterium Orientia Tsutsugamushi has been causing scrub typhus. Chigger mites found under the upper layer of soil were found as the vector behind the infection. It is a zoonosis, where the infection could be transmitted through any other creatures like rodents and domestic animals or directly from the mites. The disease can be wholly prevented by maintaining personal hygiene and clean surrounding.
When the health experts inspected the house of the Varkala native who succumbed to scrub typhus, they could not find the presence of Chigger mites from there. But the experts recognised that the pet dog here had been infected by the same bacteria.
- Reduce the risk of contact with mites.
- Bath using soap and change the clothes daily.
- Cover whole body while playing or working on grass.
- Regularly cut the grasses and weeds grown wild in the premises.
- Clothes shall not be dried by placing on floor or grass.
- Bath the pet animals regularly.
The symptoms appear only after 10 to 12 days after being infected with the mites. Initially only red minor marks might be visible on the area where the mite was bitten. But later it would turn to be dark scab.
- Similar rashes may appear at the armpits, genitals, neck and regions where it sweats profusely.
- Fever with chills
- Head ache
- Appearance of red colour in eyes
- Inflammation of lymph nodes
- Muscle pain
- Dry cough