KATHMANDU, Aug 15: Two children have died of scrub typhus that has been spreading in various districts since the beginning of this year. Another 76 have been infected.
Officials at the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division (EDCD) of the Department of Health Services (DoHS) informed that two children -- one 15 months old and the other six years -- died in the course of treatment at BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences (BPKIHS).
Dr Gunanidhi Sharma, chief of epidemiology section at EDCD, said that eight people died of the disease last year.
Scrub typhus is a disease caused by the 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 heart problems if not treated within 10 days. It may eventually lead to death.
According to Dr Sharma, the disease has been spreading in various districts including Chitwan, Nuwakot, Nawalparashi, Bara, Kailali, Gorkha, Parsa, Mahottari and Dhading.
The EDCD said that it has deployed doctors at the request of district public health offices (DPHO) to control the disease.
The DPHOs of Chitwan, Nuwakot, Nawalparashi, Bara, Kailali, Gorkha, Parsa, Mahottari, Dhading and other districts have sought the help of the EDCD to prevent the disease from spreading.
Dr Bhim Acharya, director at the EDCD, said “We have deployed doctors to bring its spread under control.”
According to epidemiology section chief Dr Gunanidhi Sharma, treatment guidelines have been sent to health facilities throughout the country.
Dr Sharma urged people not to panic because the disease can be treated even at the health posts. “It can be treated with simple antibiotics available at all health facilities,” he added.
According to him, farmers and children playing outdoors are vulnerable to the infection. He suggests avoiding walking barefoot on grass or in the fields and visiting health facilities as soon as there is high fever.