The Health department has issued an alert against scrub typhus in Alappuzha. Fresh cases of the disease have been reported from Kalath and District Court wards in Alappuzha municipality.
Last year, three scrub typhus cases were reported in the district. The disease, which is caused by a bacteria called Orientia tsutsugamushi, will not spread from person to person.
District Medical Officer Jamuna Varghese urged people to exercise caution. Scrub typhus is spread to people through bites of infected chiggers, larvae of a small insect called mite. The DMO said that humans mostly get the disease when bitten by chiggers present on the body of animals such as rats, rabbits, mice, and squirrels.
Symptoms of scrub typhus include fever, chills, headache, body aches, muscle pain, a dark scab-like region at the site of the chigger bite, enlarged lymph nodes, dry cough, skin rashes, red eyes and in some cases mental changes, ranging from confusion to coma. Those with the symptoms should immediately seek medical treatment.
In a statement issued here, the DMO underlined the importance of rodent control, cleanliness and maintaining hygiene in preventing the disease. It urged people to be cautious about handling pets. Children playing in the soil have been asked to wash their hands and legs with soap and water.
Mite repellents can be applied to exposed skin. Wear fully covered clothes before entering shrubby areas for work. People should not dry clothes on the ground or grass. Regular cleaning of surroundings including removal of shrubs and low vegetation will prevent mite infestation, the statement reads.