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Scrub typhus claims 2 lives in Kerala: What is it? Signs, symptoms, treatment and more

Google Oneindia News

New Delhi, Jun 12: Scrub typhus disease has claimed second life in the last three days in Kerala, after a 38-year-old woman died at the government medical college hospital on Sunday.

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Fifteen-year-old Ashwathy, a native of Cherunniyoor, a hamlet located over 40 km away from here had died on June 9 due to the disease that is known as 'chellu pani' in local parlance.

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
  • Rash

People with severe illness may develop organ failure and bleeding, which can be fatal if left untreated.


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.

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