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Talks to contain scrub typhus in Bengal

Kolkata: Senior health department officials have decided to a hold a meeting with district officials to hold talks over scrub typhus disease which has so far claimed two lives in the state.

The officials will discuss measures to contain the disease and the district health officers will also be given detailed guidelines to check the surge of the number of affected victims. A few days ago, health officials had sought a report from chief medical officers of the districts.

The disease is spreading among people through infected chiggers (larval mites). Scrub typhus is a disease caused by bacteria called orientia tsutsugamushi and it commonly occurs in rural areas.

According to the virologists, the most common symptoms of scrub typhus include fever, headache, body aches and rashes. Most of the scrub typhus cases have so far been reported from rural areas. People travelling to areas where scrub typhus is found are always at the risk of getting infected with the disease. Earlier, the disease mostly had its impact on southeast Asia, Indonesia, China, Japan and northern Australia.

After two persons, including a woman reportedly died of the disease, the health department asked the district officials to be alert and to conduct vigilance.

Hospitals have been asked to conduct blood tests of the patients if fever persists in a patient for more than five days. The department has already sent kits for blood tests related to scrub typhus to various hospitals and medical colleges across the state.

According to doctors, scrub typhus is a disease that can be treated with antibiotics, if it is detected early. They also stressed on the early detection of the disease.

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