Scrub Typhus

Description

Scrub Typhus is a rare, acute infectious disease transmitted to humans by bites from chiggers or mites infected with the Rickettsia parasite. The disease is caused by the Rickettsia parasite family. Scrub Typhus is caused by a bacteria called Orientia tsutsugamushi that is part of the Rickettsiaceae family. Among the causative agents of scrub typhus is the bacteria R.tsutsugamushi. Leptotrophidium (Trombicula) akamushi and Leptotrophidium deliens will remain as vectors. Alternatively, Scrub Typhus is referred to as Bush Typhus.

It is an obligate intracellular gram-negative bacterium that has a large number of serotypes. This pathogen does not have a vacuolar membrane; thus, it grows freely in the cytoplasm of infected cells. Because they are intracellular parasites, they can live only within the cells of other animals. Even though it is recognized as one of the tropical rickettsioses diseases.

Scrub Typhus and Its Origin:

Southeast Asia is the origin of Scrub Typhus. Scientists initially set out to investigate scrub typhus in 1906-1932, after first describing it in 1899. As a result of this disease, thousands of Japanese soldiers were killed during World War II. The Pacific region was greatly impacted by Scrub Typhus.

Various types of Typhus:

Usually caused by rickettsia or orientia bacteria, the Typus is a bacterial infection. A human being gets infected with typhus by being bitten by an infected mite, flea, or lice. Three different types of Typhus exist. Here are the details:
Murine Typhus: Mostly, it is caused by fleabites and rat bites. U.S. cases account for the majority of all reported cases.
Epidemic Typhus: The disease is also called louse-borne typhus. Infections caused by infected lice bodies are one of the rarest forms of spread. In a different form of epidemic typhus, squirrels carry the disease.
Scrub Typhus: Infected chiggers and mites are the main vectors of scrub typhus. Southeast Asia, China, Japan, India, and Northern Australia are among the regions where many cases have been reported.

What are the symptoms of Scrub Typhus:

Within two weeks, someone with scrub typhus will exhibit symptoms. Symptoms such as those below can be absorbed by them.
• Fever
• Chills
• Headache
• Muscular pain
• Body pain
• Red or pink rashes
• Loss of appetite
• Stomach Pain
• Vomiting
• Enlarged lymph nodes
The infected person will not begin to develop symptoms until 10 to 12 days after biting a mite that was infected. As the infection progresses, red or pink spots, caused by typhus eschar, appear. An individual experiencing typhus fever scrub, headache, chills, and general pain will also experience swelling of the lymph glands. Within a week, the trunk develops a pinkish rash that spreads to the arms and legs.

Diagnosis

• The symptoms of scrub typhus are similar to symptoms of many other diseases. See your healthcare provider if you develop the symptoms listed above after spending time in areas where scrub typhus is found.
• If you have recently traveled, tell your healthcare provider where and when you traveled.
• Your healthcare provider may order blood tests to look for scrub typhus or other diseases.
• Laboratory testing and reporting of results can take several weeks, so your healthcare provider may start treatment before results are available.

Treatment

The disease scrub typhus can be cured. The only treatment required is simple scrub typhus treatment, a few weeks of care, and medication. The ideal antibiotic is Doxycycline, which can be prescribed to a wide range of age groups. Those who can’t take Doxycycline may benefit from Ciprofloxacin. A pregnant woman cannot be prescribed chloramphenicol, but it provides fast recovery as well.

Prevention

• 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.

How is the disease transmitted

• Scrub typhus is transmitted to humans and rodents by some species of trombiculid mites (“chiggers”, Leptotrombidium deliense and others). The mite is very small (0.2 – 0.4mm) and can only be seen through a microscope or magnifying glass.
• Humans acquire the disease from the bite of an infected chigger. The bite of the mite leaves a characteristic black eschar that is useful to the doctor for making the diagnosis.
• The adult mites have a four-stage lifecycle: egg, larva, nymph and adult. The larva is the only stage (chigger) that can transmit the disease to humans and other vertebrates, since the other life stages (nymph and adult) do not feed on vertebrate animals. Both the nymph and the adult are free-living in the soil.

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