Syllabus: GS2/Health GS3/Science and Technology
- Scrub typhus, an infectious disease, outbreak in Western Odisha.
About Scrub Typhus
- It is caused by a zoonotic rickettsial bacterium called Orientia tsutsugamushi, which is transmitted to humans through the bites of infected chiggers (larval mites).
- Mites carrying the disease are generally found in the bush, jungle and paddy areas, so the disease is also called jungle or bush typhus.
- The symptoms of scrub typhus commonly include fever, headache, body ache and sometimes a rash.
Role of climate in spread of Scrub Typhus
- The chiggers that transmit the disease generally live in low temperature and high humidity conditions.
- A 2022 study looked into clustering of scrub typhus cases in South India, found temperature, humidity and rainfall had a major role in the incidence of scrub typhus.
- A 2017 study looking into scrub typhus cases in China also found that a 1°C increase in mean temperature was associated with a 3.8% increase in the odds of scrub typhus cases during the same week.
Diagnosis and Testing:
- Laboratory testing like Elisa tests, which is available almost in all district public health laboratories.
Prevention and Treatment:
- No vaccine is available to prevent scrub typhus.
- It is suggested the risk of contracting the infection by avoiding contact with infected chiggers.
- If someone gets infected by scrub typhus then it should be treated with the antibiotic doxycycline.