Kerala reports second scrub typhus death— Read symptoms, prevention tips here

New Delhi: Kerala reported another fatality due to scrub typhus on Sunday (June 12), a few days after it recorded the first death. A 38-year-old woman died at the government medical college hospital in Thiruvananthapuram, PTI reported. Subitha, who was suffering from the disease for the past 15 days, was admitted to the hospital on June 10 and passed away on Sunday morning, IANS reported. A senior hospital source informed PTI, “She was brought here on June 10, but died early this morning. As of now, we don’t have any similar case.” 

This comes after 15-year-old girl Ashwathy, a native of Cherunniyoor, died on June 9 due to scrub typhus, known as ‘chellu pani’ in the local tongue. Following her death, Kerala health minister Veena George had directed a special medical team to visit the place where Ashwathy was admitted. She had assured the state health department was monitoring the situation.

What is scrub typhus?

Scrub typhus is an infectious disease caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi, that is a mite-borne bacterium. Chigger mites, the larval stage of mites, carry the disease from animals like rats, squirrels, and rabbits to humans. 

Scrub typhus symptoms

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the scrub typhus-afflicted patients experience these symptoms:  

1. Fever and body aches

2. Headache

3. Chills and muscle pain

4. A dark, scab-like region at the spot of chigger bite 

5. Mental changes, from confusion to coma can be seen in patients. 

6. Enlarged lymph nodes

7. Rashes

Scrub typhus: Prevention

So far, there is no vaccine to prevent scrub typhus. However, CDC suggests avoiding contact with infected chiggers to  the risk of getting the disease. 

In places where scrub typhus is common,  people should avoid areas with abundant vegetation and brush where chiggers are likely to exist, the CDC said. 

(With agency inputs)

Atul Tiwari

Atul Tiwari

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