Tue, Mar 22, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Centers for Disease Control urges public vigilance during scrub typhus season

Staff Writer, with CNA

A health agency urged the public on Sunday to be on guard against scrub typhus, a mite-borne infectious disease that usually appears in Taiwan in about late March when the weather starts to get warmer.

The Centers for Disease Control said scrub typhus tended to be more prevalent in warm conditions and in rural areas, such as offshore counties and mountain villages.

“The number of patients usually begins to increase in April and reaches a peak in July, when people often go outdoors to enjoy the sunny weather,” Centers for Disease Control Deputy -Director-General Lin Ting (林頂) said.

As of March 18, there had been 27 reported cases of scrub typhus, most of which were among patients over the age of 20, statistics from the centers showed. A total of 402 people were diagnosed with the disease last year.

“Although the disease can be treated with antibiotics, we want to remind the public that without proper medical treatment, the death rate could be as high as 60 percent,” Lin said, adding that most patients do receive immediate treatment.

The disease is characterized by symptoms like skin sloughing, fever, headache, rash and swollen glands, he said. It has an incubation period of nine to 12 days.

He advised the public to wear long-sleeved clothes and use insect repellent to avoid contracting mosquito-borne diseases and scrub typhus.

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