New Delhi: Odisha has been recently witnessing a rise in scrub typhus cases as eleven more people were confirmed positive in the Sundargarh district on Sunday, taking the total number of infections in the district to 180, a health official said.
He said that 59 samples were sent for testing, of which 11 were detected positive for scrub typhus, reported news agency PTI.
Kanhucharan Nayak, chief district medical officer of Sundergarh, on Sunday, said that of the 180 infected people, 10 patients are from outside Odisha and nine are from other districts.
Notably, scrub typhus infection spreads through bites of infected chiggers (larval mites).
Earlier on Saturday, Sundargarh had reported seven positive cases. The testing for scrub typhus is being done at Rourkela Government Hospital and the Sundargarh district health centre.
So far, seven people have died due to the disease in Odisha, with six deaths reported from Bargarh district, and one person succumbed to the infection in Sundargarh.
Nayak stated that if someone has a fever for a period of four or five days, the person should get tested for the infection which is available free of cost.
Soon after six deaths were reported in Bargarh district, the health department had sent a three-member medical team from Veer Surendra Sai Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (VIMSAR), Burla to Bargarh on Saturday to monitor the situation and suggest steps to control it.
Meanwhile, the health department is also deploying Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) and Auxiliary Nurse and Midwife volunteers to spread awareness about the disease.
Currently, there are 11 active cases in Bargarh district, officials said.
People, who frequently visit farmland or forests, are vulnerable to the infection. Some of the common symptoms of scrub typhus include fever, headache, body aches, and a black inflamed mark on the skin called ‘eschar’.
Odisha Govt On Alert Mode
In the wake of the deaths reported in Odisha, the state government has asked district health authorities to increase the surveillance for seasonal upsurge of scrub typhus and leptospirosis. The Health and Family Welfare Department has directed all the Chief District Medical and Public Health Officers, the Director, Capital Hospital Bhubaneswar, and the Director, RGH, Rourkela.
“Scrub typhus and Leptospirosis cases are being reported from most of the districts across the state. So intensive surveillance system for early diagnosis need to be strengthened to ensure timely treatment for prevention and management of Scrub Typhus and Leptospirosis,” read a statement from Odisha’s Health and Family Welfare Department.
“The Health Department has asked the district health authorities to ensure the availability of tests in DPHL by procuring and supplying the required test kits, sensitising doctors to advise the tests in cases of PUO, increasing public awareness and early diagnosis, and increasing surveillance,” as per the statement.