Scrub Typhus

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    Syllabus: GS2/Health GS3/Science and Technology

    Context

    • 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.

    Source: DTE