Kerala: 11-year-old dies of Scrub Typhus in Thiruvananthapuram 

Seventy people have been diagnosed with the disease in the state till now and 15 of them are still undergoing treatment.

BySreerag PS

Published Jul 19, 2022 | 4:20 PM Updated Jul 28, 2022 | 12:01 PM

Eschar in the left arm of patient with scrub typhus

Siddharth, an 11-year-old boy from the Kilimanoor town of Thiruvananthapuram district, succumbed to Scrub Typhus on Monday, 18 July.

He was admitted to a health centre at Kesavapuram village in the same district on 11 July after he developed high fever, fatigue and diarrhoea.

However, he was shifted to Sree Avittam Thirunal (SAT) Hospital in the district headquarters after his condition deteriorated.

It is reported that he tested positive for Scrub Typhus and underwent treatment. However, he died of pulmonary haemorrhage, a week later.

Siddharth’s is the third Scrub Typhus death to be reported in the state in the last two months. His 9-year-old brother Surya also died on Monday while undergoing treatment at the SAT Hospital for similar symptoms. Nevertheless, his test results are pending.

More getting treated

As many as 70 people have been diagnosed with the disease in the state till now and 15 of them are still getting treated., according to reports.

It is also reported that five people have died due to Scrub Typhus in the state this year.

Dr Althaf A, an Epidemiologist and an Associate Professor of Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram told South First that Scrub typhus is a rickettsial infection caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi bacteria.

“It is transmitted from the larva of mites which are mostly found in rodents. The disease is common in Eastern Asia and South East Asia,” he added.

Dr Althaf led the team constituted by the Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram, for an epidemiological study on Scrub Typhus in Kerala during 2003-2004.

According to him, almost 75 percent of these infections in Kerala are from the Thiruvananthapuram district and around 10-15 percent are from Wayanad and Kozhikode districts.

‘Vaccines unavailable’

Unavailability of vaccines for Scrub Typhus became a huge cause for concern now. However, the antibiotic Doxycycline is being administered to the patients who test positive for the disease, Dr Althaf said.

Fever, enlarged lymph nodes and presence of scars in the body are often the signs of this infection.

Although the mortality rate among the infected is significantly low, timely diagnosis and treatment can rule out further complications, the doctor told South First.

He stressed that there is a need for further research to understand the mode of the spread of the disease in Kerala and help people take necessary precautions to avoid getting infected by the bacteria.