Sun, Apr 02, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Protect against scrub typhus: Taipei

CRAFTY CRITTERS:People can contract scrub typhus if they are bitten by infected larval mites, which sit on low bushes and plants and launch onto people’s skin

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The Taipei Department of Health yesterday advised people to wear long sleeves and apply insect repellent to prevent scrub typhus, a mite-borne disease, during the Tomb Sweeping Day holiday.

A total of 70 cases of scrub typhus had been reported nationwide by the end of last week, Centers for Disease Control statistics showed.

Scrub typhus is an acute, febrile, infectious disease that is caused by the Orientia tsutsugamushi parasite and transmitted by the bite of larval mites.

The majority of the cases were in eastern areas, with 22 cases in Hualien County and seven cases each in Yilan County, Taitung County and Kaohsiung, the statistics showed.

However there were sporadic cases in other areas, including three in Taipei, the statistics showed.

The department said that scrub typhus is not transmitted from person to person, but people can be infected if they are bitten by infected mites, which often sit on low bushes and plants and launch onto people’s skin when they walk through.

Scrub typhus has an incubation period of about six to 21 days and symptoms include acute and lasting fever, headache, backache, aversion to cold and enlarged lymph nodes, the department said.

Scrub typhus usually leads to the formation of an eschar — a dry, dark scab or falling away of dead skin — and sometimes patients develop a maculopapular rash — red with small bumps — or pneumonia, the department said, adding that the fatality rate in people who do not receive treatment is high.

People who are planning to go tomb sweeping, especially in rural areas, should take preventive measures such as wearing long sleeves, shoes and gloves while applying Ministry of Health and Welfare-approved insect repellent to exposed skin, Division for Disease Control and Prevention Director Chen Shao-ching (陳少卿) said.

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