2 succumb to Scurb typhus in Bundelkhand as disease spreads in 12 districts

Scrub typhus, a disease caused by a bacterium Orientia tsutsugamushi with rodents like rats and mice being the main vectors has claimed two lives in Panna district in Bundelkhand region setting off alarm bells ringing in the government amid the Covid situation. A team of doctors sent from Bhopal to Panna collected blood samples from some rodents from the affected areas on Thursday, as per health department officials.

As per officials, patients suffering from the disease were found in more than 12 districts in the state and prevalence of the disease came to be known in October when some patients from Panna were referred to Jabalpur and the pathology test of blood samples of patients in a virology laboratory over there confirmed presence of the bacterium in their body. Two of the patients died.

The districts where patients have been reported from so far include Panna, Jabalpur, Dindori, Satna, Mandala,Narsinghpur, Katni, Neemuch, Damoh, Umariya, Seoni, Shahdol, said chief medical and health officer (CMHO), Panna district Dr LK Tiwari.

Dr Tiwari said a team of doctors from Bhopal reached the district on Thursday and collected blood samples from rats and mice from four villages in three blocks where patients of the disease were found.

“With pathological examination of the blood samples we will try to find out if the disease was spread by the rodents in the same area or people were affected by the disease outside the local areas. However, it’s possible that the blood samples taken from the rodents might have been taken from those rodents which are not vectors of the bacterium”, said Dr Tiwari.

One of the Bhopal team members Dr Gunjan Singh said, “The situation is not scary. Two of four patients in Panna have died. The disease can be cured in 5 days if diagnosed and treated timely. The vectors of the disease are rats, mice, squirrels and rabbits. Symptoms of the disease are high fever, headache, body ache, rash etc.”

She said, “We are trying to find out scale of the spread of the disease. Alertness is the key to protecting oneself from the disease. People should immediately consult doctors in case of high fever and take all preventive measures like covering hands and feet while working in agriculture fields, maintaining heigine in homes and outside etc.”

Additional director, Health services Dr Veena Sinha said, “We have come to know about the disease reported from certain districts. The situation is not alarming as yet. We are taking all preventive measures including creating awareness among people to check spread of the disease.”

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