What is Scrub Typhus?

What is Scrub Typhus?
November 17 08:31 2020 Print This Article

Typhus is a disease caused by a bacterial infection. The specific bacteria  belongs to a group called Rickettsia. The disease spreads through the bites of minute insects like fleas, mites, lice, etc. In the case of scrub typhus, the infection transmits through small larval mites (chiggers). Understanding the disease will help prevent infections.

Symptoms of Scrub Typhus

The symptoms of scrub typhus typically appear within ten days of a person being bitten. The symptoms commonly include, but are not limited to:

  • Severe body aches and muscle pain
  • Severe headaches
  • Fever accompanied by chills or shivering
  • Rashes on the skin, not necessarily limited to the are of the bite
  • A dark scab like formation around the bite area – See the image below.
    scrub typhus
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Mental changes such as confusion or disorientation
  • In the most severe cases, the patient could lapse into a coma.

In severe cases, patients could develop internal bleeding and even organ failure, which could become fatal if the right treatment is not given in time.

Diagnosis and Tests for Scrub Typhus

Because the symptoms of scrub typhus are similar to many other diseases, a person suffering from one or more of the common symptoms must undergo tests for a confirmation of the diagnosis of scrub typhus. The Eschar  is a very dramatic feature that enables a confident  clinical diagnosis. The doctor may start  non-specific treatment to alleviate the symptoms while waiting for confirmatory reports.

Treatment for Scrub Typhus

The treatment for scrub typhus is with antibiotics, specifically Doxycycline. This can be given to patients of any age unless other medical conditions restrict their use. While the confirmation of the diagnosis may take time because of the processes involved, the sooner the antibiotics are taken, the more effective is the medication and the faster the recovery.

Prevention of Infection

Scrub typhus is on the rise in Tamil Nadu. There is no vaccine available for the prevention of scrub typhus. Prevention of infection comes from taking precautions to avoid being bitten by mites. This includes:

  • Avoiding travel to areas where there is an outbreak of the disease.
  • Staying away from places with thick vegetation where the mites are usually found.
  • Use insect repellent on exposed skin and clothing. Ensure that the repellent is effective against mites. Unless explicitly advised to do so, do not use the repellent on skin covered by clothing.
  • Babies and very young children should keep their arms and legs covered, and if in a crib or stroller, a mosquito net should be draped over it to keep mites from getting in.
  • Be careful in using insect repellents on children. Ensure that it does not come into contact with the eyes, mouth, or skin that is cut or sore.

Scrub Typhus is curable, and recovery usually is rapid if the condition is diagnosed early, and the medication started. Because of the spread of the disease in TN, if in doubt, contact a doctor to have the required microbiology tests done.


Kauvery Hospital is globally known for its multidisciplinary services at all its Centers of Excellence, and for its comprehensive, Avant-Grade technology, especially in diagnostics and remedial care in heart diseases, transplantation, vascular and neurosciences medicine. Located in the heart of Trichy (Tennur, Royal Road and Alexandria Road (Cantonment), Chennai, Karaikudi, Hosur and Salem, the hospital also renders adult and pediatric trauma care.

Chennai – 044 4000 6000 • Trichy – Cantonment – 0431 4077777 • Trichy – Heartcity – 0431 4003500 • Trichy – Tennur – 0431 4022555 • Karaikudi – 04565 244555 • Hosur – 04344 272727 • Salem – 0427 2677777

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