Monday December 16, 2019

Microscopic Mites known as Chiggers cause Deadly Scrub Typhus, kill 140,000 people a year in Chile

Chiggers transmit the bacteria, Orientia tsutsugamushi , they spread through the lymphatic fluid and show a number of symptoms

FILE - A fisherman walks on the shore of the fishing village Quetalmahue in Chile's Chiloe island, May 10, 2016. Scrub typhus has been confirmed in a cluster of cases on the island, far from places it usually strikes. Image source: VOA
  • Sept 09, 2016: Microscopic biting mites known as chiggers leads to a deadly disease know as Scrub Typhus. Scientists quoted on Wednesday that “This disease is common in Southeast Asia and has been rapidly spreading in parts of South America and it could have become endemic there.

The bacteria that caused this disease were first identified in Japan in 1930 and it has been known since many years.

Scrub typhus is a tropical disease which kills at least 140,000 people a year in the Asia-Pacific region. This has been confirmed in a cluster of cases on a large island off Chile. This island is 12,000 kilometers away from its usual haunts on the other side of Pacific.

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Chiggers transmit the bacteria, Orientia tsutsugamushi , they spread through the lymphatic fluid and show a number of symptoms. Sudden illness with shaking chills, fever, severe headache, infection of the mucus membrane in the eyes, and lymph node swelling are the symptoms of this disease.

It was Mis conceptualized until 2006 that Scrub typhus was restricted to a limited area. This was called the “tsutsugamushi triangle,” which ranged from Pakistan in the west to far eastern Russia in the east to northern Australia in the south.

Wider distribution?

Researchers from Britain’s Oxford University and the Pontificia Universidad Católica and Universidad del Desarrollo in Chile while writing to “The New England Journal of Medicine” said that, cases found off Chile’s mainland, “suggest there may be a much wider global distribution than previously understood.”

Charles Nicolle received the 1928 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his identification of lice as the transmitter of epidemic typhus. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Charles Nicolle received the 1928 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his identification of lice as the transmitter of epidemic typhus. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Two cases of scrub typhus were found outside the triangle in the year 2006. One, in the Middle East, was caused by a previously unrecorded bacteria related to tsutsugamushi and namedOrientia Chuto. The second was found on Chiloe island, just off mainland Chile.

Paul Newton, director of the Lao-Oxford-Mahosot Hospital-Wellcome Trust Research Unit said “Scrub typhus is a common disease but a neglected one.”

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In January 2015 and again in early 2016 on the northern coast of Chiloe that is, in Ancud, three more cases were discovered.

This disease causes approximately a million clinical cases, and kills at least 140,000 people each year,there’s evidence of an even bigger burden of disease in another part of the world highlights the need for more research and attention to it.”

– prepared by Manthra Koliyer with inputs from VOA

Next Story

Make-up Products Contain Dangerous Bacteria: Study

Life-threatening bacteria found in Make-up products

Make-up products
Our daily make-up products are contaminated with dangerous superbugs. Pixabay

The vast majority of in-use make-up products such as beauty blenders, mascara and lip gloss are contaminated with potentially life threatening superbugs, researchers have warned.

“Make-up products used every day by millions of people in the UK are contaminated with potentially deadly bugs, such as E.coli and Staphylococci, because most are not being cleaned and are used far beyond their expiry dates,” said study lead author Amreen Bashir from Aston University in the US.

According to the study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology, bacteria that can cause illnesses ranging from skin infections to blood poisoning if used near eyes, mouth or cuts or grazes were found in nine out of ten of the products.

This risk is amplified in immunocompromised people who are more likely to contract infections from opportunistic bacteria.

The relatively new beauty blenders – sponges used to apply skin foundation products – were found to have the highest levels of potentially harmful bacteria – with the vast majority (93 per cent) not having ever been cleaned, despite more than two thirds (64 per cent) being dropped on the floor at some point during use.

The research looked at beauty blender products – hugely popular make-up sponges used to blend foundation and contouring on the face.

Make-up products hygiene
The make-up products are contaminated by bacteria due to poor hygiene. Pixabay

Often endorsed by celebrities, these sponges are estimated to have sold over 6.5 million worldwide.

The researchers found these products are particularly susceptible to contamination as they are often left damp after use, which creates an ideal breeding ground for harmful bacteria.

“Consumers’ poor hygiene practices when it comes to using make-up, especially beauty blenders, is very worrying when you consider that we found bacteria such as E.coli – which is linked with faecal contamination – breeding on the products we tested,” Bashir said.

The findings reveal that consumers are unwittingly putting themselves at risk, and that manufacturers and regulatory bodies should do more to protect their customers by making expiry dates and cleaning requirements more prominent on packaging.

EU guidance holds make-up brands to strict hygiene standards of manufacture and states that E.coli in particular should not be found in any concentration in new cosmetic products.

Also Read- This Face Mask Can Prevent Apnoea at Night

However, there is currently limited consumer protection around the risks of contaminating products while in use.

According to the study, post-Brexit, UK consumers could be at even greater risk as they will no longer be protected by EU regulations and could find themselves purchasing more beauty products from the US – for example – where there are no regulatory requirements to put expiry dates on make-up packaging at all. (IANS)