The Nepal Epidemiology and Disease Control Division reported that as of Aug. 1, there has been 105 scrub typhus cases reported in the country in just the past two months. Twenty cases have been recorded in Chitwan District, 14 cases in Nawalparasi and 10 cases in Palpa.

Image/Nepal EDCD
Image/Nepal EDCD

The number of cases compare to last year when 168 cases were reported for the whole year.

The Himalayan Times reports scrub typhus was first reported in the country in 2015. That year, 101 people from 16 districts had tested positive for scrub typhus. Of them, eight succumbed to the disease. In 2016, 831 people from 14 districts had tested positive for the disease. Of them, 14 died.

Scrub typhus, caused by the bacterium Orientia tsutsugamushi, which is transmitted by chiggers encountered in high grass and brush, is endemic in northern Japan, Southeast Asia, the western Pacific Islands, eastern Australia, China, maritime areas and several parts of south-central Russia, India, and Sri Lanka. More than 1 million cases occur annually.

Scrub typhus kills at least 140,000 people a year in the Asia-Pacific.

After being bitten by the chigger, an eschar will form over the bite, and the incubation period usually ranges from 9 to 12 days.   Subsequently, symptoms such as fever, headache, sweating and swelling or inflammation of the lymph gland will begin to develop.

After having had fever for about 1 week, a dark red papule will appear in the trunk, spread to extremities, and disappear after several days.

Complications of untreated scrub typhus include swelling of the lungs, brain encephalitis, renal failure or even heart problems.