Hyderabad: Cases of scrub typhus, an emerging rickettsial
disease, are increasingly reported in the State. This is an emerging
disease caused by an organism called Orientia tsutsugamushi, and
spread by mites.
According to doctors at the Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences, who
studied about 50 cases of scrub typhus reported from Telangana, early
diagnosis and appropriate treatment will prevent health complications
and resultant death.
“Scrub typhus needs to be considered as an important differential
diagnosis in febrile (fever) patients with elevated liver enzymes.
Complete response with the medicine doxycycline was observed in 93.75
per cent of cases,” the research team noted in a research study
published in science journal, BMC Infectious Diseases.
The study was carried out by doctors from the departments of general
medicine and microbiology at NIMS. The team comprised Dr MVS
Subbalaxmi, Dr Naval Chandra, Dr VD Teja, Dr Vemu Lakshmi, Dr MN Rao
and Dr YSN Raju. The disease begins with severe fever. Recognising the
fever and differentiating it from other febrile illnesses will help in
saving the lives of the patients.
All the patients studied hailed from the rural Telangana. Eighteen out
of 48 patients were farmers. The average duration of fever was 11days.
Eschar (falling of dead tissue from the skin) was noted in 12.5 per
cent patients. Cough and breathlessness occurred in 30 per cent cases.
The team noted central nervous system manifestations in the form of
drowsiness and seizures in 25 per cent cases. A notable feature was
acute renal failure in 33 per cent patients. Ten per cent of the
patients required mechanical ventilation. The mortality rate was 6.25
per cent and it was related to multi-organ failure.
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