Beware! Mite bite might bring deadly infection

If you step into slushy soil, make sure you wash your feet, as you might just contract Scrub Typhus.

Published: 20th November 2013 07:19 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th November 2013 07:19 AM   |  A+A-

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The showers might have brought some respite to the city from heat, but the slush and loose soil it left behind on the roads might bring nothing but harm.

Doctors in the city are warning of an infection that spreads due to the bite of mites found in the soil.

These mites cause a disease called Scrub Typhus that is prevalent during peak monsoon season. The disease, which leaves symptoms similar to other monsoon-related diseases, could prove fatal if not diagnosed and treated on time.

Medical experts have been expressing concern over Scrub Typhus as they have been witnessing a rise in the number of cases at government hospitals.

At the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH) alone, there had been two or three cases every week in the last few months.

The disease has symptoms which people often associate with dengue and other viral diseases – high fever, headaches, rashes, lymph-node enlargement and body ache.

“People often test for other viral diseases, but don’t think of scrub typhus. Not many know that it is a completely treatable disease. But if left untreated, it could prove fatal,” a doctor at the RGGGH said.

These mites in the soil, usually found in forest areas in the hills, will look similar to the normal head lice. But when they bite, they will leave eschar or a dead tissue on the surface of the skin that will look like a cigarette burn. This eschar is particularly important for diagnosis, doctors said.

Toddlers, infants, pregnant women, diabetics, asthmatics, elderly and HIV positive people are more prone to this infection than adults. Doctors advise that the only way to stay safe from the disease is to regularly wash hands and feet, especially when children get home after playing outdoors. The elderly should cover their feet while walking on the street and wash their hands and feet when they return home.

Experts also suggest that beds of infants and the clothes used for swaddling should be kept clean.

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