SCRUB TYPHUS (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Env & Eco)

News-CRUX-10     15th September 2023        

Context: The recent upsurge in scrub typhus cases in Odisha has highlighted the influence of climate on the increased prevalence of this highly contagious disease.

  • A 2022 study looked into clustering of scrub typhus cases in children in three contiguous adm
  • inistrative districts in South India over five years. It found temperature, humidity and rainfall had a major role in the incidence of scrub typhus.

Scrub Typhus

  • About: Scrub typhus is a potentially life-threatening infection caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi bacteria, posing a significant public health risk in South and Southeast Asia.
  • Mites carrying the disease are generally found in the bush, jungle and paddy areas, so the disease is also called jungle or bush typhus.
  • Transmission: People contract scrub typhus through the bites of infected chiggers, which are larval mites.
  • Common Symptoms: Fever, headache, body aches, and sometimes a rash.
  • Treatment: Scrub typhus requires treatment with the antibiotic doxycycline, suitable for individuals of all ages.
  • Vaccine: Currently, there is no available vaccine for preventing scrub typhus.

Typhus Fever

  • About: Typhus fevers encompass a collection of diseases caused by various bacteria, including epidemic typhus, scrub typhus, and murine typhus.
  • Epidemic Typhus: Epidemic typhus is triggered by Rickettsia prowazeki and transmitted by body lice.
  • Scrub Typhus: Scrub typhus, on the other hand, results from Orientia tsutsugamushi bacteria and is spread by chiggers.
  • Murine Typhus: Murine typhus is caused by Rickettsia typhi and transmitted by fleas.
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