The Rickettsial infection, scrub typhus, a disease primarily found in Asia, has been reported for the first time in Ancud, a city on Chiloé Island, in Chile’s Lake District.

Image depicts an adult and a larval chigger poised on the head of a pin/CDC

In January 2015 and again in early 2016 three cases were discovered in Ancud, according to a Yahoo Noticias report (computer translated).

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.