KATHMANDU, Sept 15: In the last five months, seven people, including two children, have died and 240 have been infected with scrub typhus in 37 districts.
The latest victim of the disease was a man who died three weeks ago while undergoing treatment at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital (STIDH) following scrub typhus infection, as per the officials at the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division (EDCD).
“The disease has claimed seven lives so far,” Dr Bhim Acharya, director at the EDCD, said.
He suspects the number of infection to be much higher than reported as several hospitals across the country have been informing about new cases of scrub typhus infection to the EDCD.
According to Dr Acharya, two children, one 15 months old and other three, died from the disease while receiving treatment at the BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences.
Similarly, a 45-year-old woman who was infected from scrub typhus died in the course of treatment at Bharatpur hospital in Chitwan. Director Acharya informed that 37 District Public Health Offices (DPHOs) have so far reported the cases of scrub typhus to the EDCD.
Scrub typhus is a disease caused by Rickettsia bacteria. Doctors say the bacteria is transmitted by fleas, mites or lice and can affect the lungs and brain and lead to renal failure and even lead to heart problems if not treated within 10 days. It may eventually result in death.
The EDCD has already sent guidelines to health facilities throughout the country and directed health workers to take the necessary steps to contain the disease from spreading further.
Doctors say that farmers who work in the fields and children playing outdoors are vulnerable to the infection. They suggest avoiding walking barefoot on grass or in the fields and visiting health facilities as soon as there is high fever.