Kathmandu, August 14
With two reported deaths from scrub typhus in Dharan-based BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences, the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division under the Department of Health Service has sounded high alert against possible spread of the deadly disease.
Two children from Bhojpur and Sankhuwasabha died of scrub typhus while undergoing treatment at the BPKIHS recently. The blood sample collected from the victims was tested positive in the National Public Health Laboratory, Teku.
“We have issued and heightened health alert across the country with special focus in 15 districts after the death of two children among 11 admitted to the BPKIHS from scrub typhus. The EDCD has mobilsed rapid response teams, regional health directorates and all health facilities to tackle the problems,” Bhim Acharya, EDCD director, told The Himalayan Times.
The 15 districts under intense surveillance and response include Sankhuwasabha, Bhojpur, Sindhuli and Dhading, among others. Acharya also informed that health facilities had free medicines in stock to provide medical service to patients. The children, who died of the infectious disease, were brought to the hospital in a serious state and could not be saved, said the officials.
Director Acharya added that the Kathmandu Valley is also under surveillance and necessary measures have been taken to prevent the outbreak of the disease. According to World Health Organisation, scrub typhus is an acute, febrile, infectious illness that is caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi. It is also known as tsutsugamushi disease.
Scrub typhus was first described from Japan in 1899. Humans are accidental hosts of this zoonotic disease. Scrub typhus is transmitted to humans by some species of trombiculid mites. 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. It is a curable disease and fever, headache, myalgia cough, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting are its major symptoms, said health officials.
A version of this article appears in print on August 15, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.