Scrub typhus is key encephalitis cause in eastern U.P.: study

Scrub typhus is key encephalitis cause in eastern U.P.: study


  1. Data from Gorakhpur’s Baba Raghave Das (BRD) medical college shows that majority of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) patients hospitalized in the last three years had scrub typhus.

Important facts:

2. The finding is important because scrub typhus can be treated easily if detected early.

3. There are various research findings related to scrub typhus such as :

a) Study conducted by Karnataka’s Manipur Centre for viral research:

  • This was the first case of scrub typhus role came during 2014 study at BRD by researchers.

b) Chennai’s National Institute of Epidemiology:

  • Conducted in 2015, the study found that out of 370 AES patients tested, 63% had antibodies to scrub typhus.
  • While in 2016, out of 407 AES patients, 65% had the illness.
  • These patients were given azithromycin, a treatment for scrub typhus.
  • As a result, 35% of non-scrub typhus patients died, while only 15% scrub patients died, indicating that azithromycin was effective.
  • These findings were published in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal in May this year.

c) Chennai’s Vector Control Research Centre (VCRC):

  • These findings shows evidence for the role of scrub typhus comes from a study of trombiculid mites in Eastern UP.
  • Findings show that the mites carried Orientia tsutsugumashi, the bacterium which causes scrub typhus.
  • The study was published in Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases in July 2018.
  • Unpublished research has shown an increase in infestation of rodents by trombiculid mites .
  • The study revealed that scrub typhus incidence peaks during the monsoon season.

d) Indian Council of Medical Research:

  • According to data shared by Indian Council of Medical Reseach, in 2017, over 50% of patients admitted to BRD in August-September were positive for scrub typhus.

4. About Scrub typhus:

  • Scrub typhus, also known as bush typhus, is a disease caused by a bacteria called Orientia tsutsugamushi.
  • Most cases of scrub typhus occur in rural areas of Southeast Asia, Indonesia, China, Japan, India, and northern Australia.
  • Anyone living in or traveling to areas where scrub typhus is found could get infected.


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