Sunday February 24, 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

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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

Chile Survives Through Major Quake With Little Damage

Chile is located along the so-called Ring of Fire, which makes it one of the most seismic countries in the world.

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Boats lifted by an earthquake-triggered tsunami sit on a dock, in Coquimbo, Chile, Sept. 18, 2015. A magnitude 6.7 quake struck the city Jan. 19, 2018, but no tsunami was generated. VOA

A 6.7-magnitude earthquake has shaken cities on Chile’s northern coast. No damages have been reported so far, but Chile’s National Emergency Office ordered a preventative evacuation of a stretch of coast near the city of Coquimbo.

Chilean authorities said the quake didn’t have the characteristics that would generate a tsunami. The U.S. Tsunami Warning System also ruled out a tsunami.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the epicenter of the magnitude-6.7 quake was 15.6 kilometers (9.7 miles) south-southwest of Coquimbo, and had a depth of 53 kilometers. It struck at 7:32 p.m. local time.

Chile
Earthquake epicenter

A witness told Reuters there was minor damage to older buildings and power outages in the nearby coastal city of La Serena, a popular beach town about 400 kilometers (250 miles) north of Santiago.

“It felt very strong … the tourists were very nervous, but nothing serious happened,” Camila Castillo, a receptionist at a hotel in La Serena, told Reuters.

Chilean miner Antofagasta Plc said operations were normal at its Los Pelambres copper mine following the nearby earthquake.

Also Read: Amazon.com In Talks With Chile To Create A Ground For Developing Artificial Intelligence

Chile is located along the so-called Ring of Fire, which makes it one of the most seismic countries in the world.Chile is located along the so-called Ring of Fire, which makes it one of the most seismic countries in the world. An 8.8-magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami in 2010 killed 525 people. (VOA)