Bhubaneshwar TNI Bureau: – The state of Odisha is grappling with a dual health crisis as outbreaks of Scrub Typhus and Leptospirosis have claimed several lives in recent weeks. According to senior health officials, as many as five people have reportedly succumbed to the deadly Scrub Typhus disease, while Leptospirosis has also posed a significant threat to public health in the region.
Scrub Typhus Outbreak:
Sadhu Charan Dash, the district public health official in Bargarh, revealed that the Scrub Typhus outbreak initially went unnoticed, with no cases detected in August when 168 samples were tested. However, the situation took a worrisome turn as of September 10, when 110 samples were tested, and four cases were identified. Fortunately, all infected individuals are currently receiving treatment and are reported to be in stable condition.
Tragically, five individuals have lost their lives to Scrub Typhus in Bargarh district alone, with two cases diagnosed in Burla, two in Vikash Hospital, and one under treatment in Bolangir. The deceased hailed from various blocks in the district, including Attabira, Barpali, Bheden, and Sohela.
Scrub Typhus is a zoonotic disease caused by the bites of larval mites known as chiggers. The disease is triggered by Orientia tsutsugamushi, a gram-negative bacteria transmitted to humans from animals like rodents via the mites. Common symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, and lesions at the site of the bite. Early detection and treatment are crucial as the disease can lead to organ failure and severe complications.
The vector mites responsible for the transmission of Scrub Typhus are often encountered by individuals working in forested areas, grasslands, and farmlands, making it a recurring issue in Odisha, particularly during the rainy season.
Treatment involves antibiotics, primarily Doxycycline, as no vaccine exists for this disease. Prevention strategies include insecticide spraying in vector-prone areas, rodent population control, and safety measures such as proper hygiene and protective clothing during outdoor activities.
In addition to the Scrub Typhus outbreak, Odisha is facing a threat from Leptospirosis, a bacterial disease affecting both humans and animals. Leptospirosis has claimed lives in the state as well.
Common symptoms of Leptospirosis include high fever, headache, chills, vomiting, red eyes, abdominal pain, rashes, and diarrhea. If left untreated, it can lead to severe complications such as kidney damage, meningitis, liver failure, and respiratory distress.
The Odisha Health Department has taken several measures to address these outbreaks, including increased surveillance, ensuring the availability of diagnostic tests, raising public awareness, and maintaining an adequate stock of antibiotics.
While Odisha deals with these twin health challenges, the state government continues to emphasize the importance of early detection, prompt treatment, and preventative measures to protect the population from Scrub Typhus and Leptospirosis.