• People in Kathmandu Valley, too, are under risk of scrub typhus
Scrub typhus
Scrub typhus is caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi, an obligate intracellular gram-negative bacterium, which is transmitted to humans and rodents by chigger mites.
Kathmandu, September 15 Of the 352 cases of scrub typhus reported from 34 districts in the country so far this year, five patients have succumbed to the disease. According to Dr Bhim Acharya, director, Epidemiology and Disease Control Division, Teku, two patients each from Chitwan and Syangja and one from Nawalparasi died of the disease. Four of the scrub typhus cases were from Kathmandu. “This shows that people in Kathmandu too are under the risk of scrub typhus,” said Dr Acharya. People in Kathmandu throw vegetable peels, leftover food, raw vegetable pieces and create a favourable environment for rodents to survive, grow and multiply. As these rodents enter the houses and are available in and areas around, people living in Kathmandu are in a close contact with them. Therefore, people living here too are under the risk of contracting scrub typhus, as per Dr Acharya. Scrub typhus, also known as tsutsugamushi disease, is an infectious illness caused by Orientia (Rickettsia) tsutsugamushi, transmitted to humans  and  rodents  by  the  bite  of  the  larva  of  trombiculid  mites (chigger). “The mites are both the vector and reservoir of the disease. The disease is transmitted from mites to rats and mice and the mites in their larval stage contact the disease by biting these rodents,” said Dr Acharya. However, the disease is not directly transmitted from person to person. Human beings of all ages, including children, are affected by it. Those involved in agriculture and living near forest areas are advised to stay away from rodents.  People are advised to sleep on beds instead of open ground, wear full-sleeved clothes and gum boots while working in the field.