January 16, 2018 1:20:23 pm
At least 34 cases of scrub typhus infection have been reported from Haulawng village in Mizoram’s southern Lunglei district, said state nodal officer of the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme, Dr Pachuau Lalmalswama. The first case of scrub typhus infection was reported from the village in early January. Lalmalswama said a team of doctors has been dispatched to the village. No death due to the infection has been reported yet.
Earlier in December 2017 scrub typhus claimed the life of one person. 81 people were reported affected by the infection in Phullen under Aizawl district and surrounding villages like Luangpawn, Thanglailung and Zawngin.
Scrub typhus is a mite-borne disease caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi (formerly Rickettsia tsutsugamushi). The adult mites do not bite, and the larvae – which are too small to be seen by the naked eye – do so in a painless manner. Symptoms are fever, a primary lesion, a macular rash, and lymphadenopathy.
Over 1,000 people were infected with the scrub typhus of which 35 people have died since 2012, the state Health department record said.
Experts say scrub typhus is not a new but a re-emerging disease in India. A review of the disease in 2013 noted that “scrub typhus is probably the single most prevalent, under-recognised, neglected and severe but easily treatable disease in the world.”
The first scrub typhus infection in the country was reported from Assam and West Bengal during the World War II. During 2010-2011, resurgence of the infection was reported in Assam after a gap of 65 years. Thereafter, sporadic cases of scrub typhus in Assam as well as from its neighbouring states have been reported. Sikkim was put on high alert in September 2017 over the spread of the scrub typhus infection.
There is no vaccine for preventing scrub typhus. But it can still be prevented by maintaining cleanliness and being aware of surroundings. Contact with the mite larvae can be prevented by not walking barefoot, and sitting or lying directly on the ground. Doctors advise change of clothes after a day’s work and a thorough wash. Insect repellent creams may also be protective and homes and surroundings should be kept rodent-free.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.