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Study Reveals Presence of Scrub Typhus Among Encephalitis Patients

  • 08 Aug 2018
  • 3 min read

Majority of the patients admitted for treatment of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) have Scrub Typhus according to the recent study of Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical college,Gorakhpur.

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome

  • Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) is an umbrella term for all symptoms which cause inflammatory brain diseases. The World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2006, coined the term AES to signify a group of diseases which seem similar to one another but are difficult to differentiate in the chaotic environment of an outbreak.
  • AES can be caused by a range of factors, including toxins in unripe lychee fruit, viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites and chemical poisons. It is not vaccine-preventable.
  • In India, AES outbreaks in north and eastern India have been linked to children eating unripe lychee fruit on empty stomachs. Unripe lychees contain the toxins hypoglycin A (naturally occurring amino acid) and methylenecyclopropyl-glycine (MCPG), which cause vomiting if ingested in large quantities.
  • This findings has also been backed by the research conducted by National Institute of Epidemiology.
  • The finding is important as Scrub Typhus if diagonsed earlier can be easily treated.
  • As per the  paper published in Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal in May this year revealed about the efficacy of drug azithromycin in treating Scrub Typhus.
  • Further evidence regarding the role of scrub typhus comes from a study of trombiculid mites in eastern Uttar Pradesh by Chennai’s Vector Control Research Centre (VCRC) which found that  the mites carried Orientia tsutsugumashi, the bacterium which causes scrub typhus.
  • The study also found an increase in infestation of rodents by trombiculid mites during August-October, a reason behind high occurrence of the disease during monsoon.

Scrub Typhus

  • Scrub Typhus is an acute illness caused by a bacterium Orienta Tsutsugamushi, which is transmitted by the bite of an infected mite larva present in the soil.
  • Its symptoms includes fever (often accompanied by an eschar at the bite site), chills, severe headache, rashes and generalized lymphadenopathy.
  • 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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