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Scrub typhus: All you need to know about mystery fever reported in UP

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Google Oneindia News

Lucknow, Aug 30: An mystery illness in India's most populous state Uttar Pradesh that claimed more than 40 people has left doctors and experts baffled. Mathura, Firozabad and Mainpuri districts in Uttar Pradesh have been witnessing a spike in cases of 'Scrub typhus', also known as bush typhus.

Representational Image

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday visited some dengue patients in Faizabad district where around 40 people, mostly children, have died in a week, and said teams will be formed to ascertain the cause of the deaths.

What is Scrub typhus?

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Scrub typhus is a disease caused by a bacteria called Orientia tsutsugamushi. Scrub typhus is spread to people through bites of infected chiggers (larval mites).

Most cases of scrub typhus occur in rural areas of Southeast Asia, Indonesia, China, Japan, India, and northern Australia. Anyone living in or traveling to areas where scrub typhus is found could get infected.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of scrub typhus usually begin within 10 days of being bitten. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Fever and chills
  • Headache
  • Body aches and muscle pain
  • A dark, scab-like region at the site of the chigger bite (also known as eschar)
  • Mental changes, ranging from confusion to coma
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Rash
  • People with severe illness may develop organ failure and bleeding, which can be fatal if left untreated.

Treatment

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.

Is a vaccine available? How to prevent?

No vaccine is available to prevent scrub typhus. Reduce your risk of getting scrub typhus by avoiding contact with infected chiggers.

When traveling to areas where scrub typhus is common, avoid areas with lots of vegetation and brush where chiggers may be found.

Prevention

The CDC recommends that children wear clothing that covers their arms and legs, or that they cover their cot, stroller, and infant carrier with mosquito netting. It also instructed them to treat their clothing and equipment with 0.5 percent permethrin, which kills chiggers.

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