Govt Sounds Alert To All Districts As Scrub Typhus Claims 6 Lives In Odisha

Bhubaneswar: Following the death of six persons due to scrub typhus in Bargarh and Sundargarh districts, the Odisha government has issued directives to all district health authorities to step up surveillance and testing.

They have been asked to follow the treatment protocol with proper use of antibiotics to contain the highly infectious scrub typhus and leptospirosis, also a bacterial disease, with similar symptoms like high fever, vomiting, muscle ache and abdominal pain. While scrub typhus spreads through bites by infected larval mites, leptospirosis is transmitted on coming in contact with the urine of infected animals.

Since early diagnosis and timely treatment are key for cure of these diseases, CDMOs, Capital Hospital and Rourkela Government Hospital (RGH) authorities have been asked to ensure timely treatment.

“Scrub typhus and leptospirosis cases are being reported from most districts. So an intensive surveillance system for early diagnosis is needed to ensure timely treatment. The district health authorities have also been asked to update the government on data regarding scrub typhus cases every day,” Public Health director Niranjan Mishra said on Thursday.

Health officials have been asked to ensure adequate availability of test kits and medicines in the district public health laboratories (DPHLs).

Currently, 12 patients are undergoing treatment at the VSS Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (VIMSAR) in Burla for scrub typhus. Apart from the Bargarh and Sundargarh, the disease has also been reported from Jharsuguda, Balangir, Keonjhar and Nabarangpur districts. “Though most of the districts are reporting around two cases on a daily basis, the exact situation will be clear once data from all districts starts coming in,” Mishra added.

According VIMSAR authorities, the fatality rate is less than 6%. The six deaths are being attributed to late diagnosis and delayed treatment.

“Since January, 132 scrub typhus positive cases have been detected in Sundargarh district, of which almost all people have been cured. However, we received a report claiming that a patient allegedly died due to scrub typhus,” Sundargarh CDMO Kanhu Charan Nayak was quoted as saying by PTI.

The patient was suffering from various diseases and was under treatment in ICU for 20 days. Iinvestigation is in progress to find the exact cause of death, he added.

In Bargarh, two patients from Sohela block and one each from, Bheden, Barpali and Attabira blocks have died due to the disease.

The Health department has also advised people, especially those who work in farmlands, to adopt safety measures like proper cleaning, wearing protective clothes during farm work and engagement in gardening and forest work.

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