Monday September 23, 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

Salmonella Bacteria Found In MDH ‘Sambhar Masala’ In US

After the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) detected the salmonella bacteria in the MDH brand 'sambar masala'

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salmonella, bacteria, MDH, masala, US, India
Dosa with Sambhar and other side dishes. Wikimedia Commons

After the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) detected the salmonella bacteria in the MDH brand ‘sambar masala’, the company is withdrawing at least three lots of the product from the shelves.

Produced by R Pure Agro Specialities and distributed by the House Of Spices (India), the product was tested by the FDA through a certified laboratory and found positive for salmonella.

The recalled MDH sambar masala was distributed in northern California retail stores, House Of Spices (India) said in a statement.

salmonella, bacteria, MDH, masala, US, India
Salmonella bacteria found in MDH ‘Sambhar Masala’ sold in US. Wikimedia Commons

Consumption of food contaminated with salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses.

The most common symptoms of salmonellosis are diarrohea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating the contaminated product.

The illness usually lasts four to seven days. Most people recover without treatment. In some persons, however, the diarrohea may be so severe that the patient requires hospitalisation.

ALSO READ: Nano and Microplastics Harming Drinking Water for Humans, Says Study

Older adults, infants, and persons with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop severe symptoms.

The recall was initiated after it the FDA discovered that the salmonella contaminated products were distributed.

“Consumers who have purchased the MDH SAMBAR MASALA, 3.5 oz (100g) are urged to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund,” House Of Spices said in the statement issued last week. (IANS)