Health News

Scrub Typhus Emerge, A New Health Concern on the Horizon

Representation for Scrub Typhus | Credits: Google Images

United States: Almost every nation across the globe has been dealing with ticks or other insect-borne disease that were earlier witnessed in certain geographical areas. The experts have outlined that the major reason behind the spread is increasing global temperature. 

Recently, an disease dubbed as scrub typhus, hitherto unknown in the elevated terrains of Bhutan, has been brought to light, as per the revelations by Eco-Business.

What’s the story?

Scrub typhus is disseminated via the sting of larval mites from the Trombiculidae lineage, commonly recognized as chiggers.

This zoonotic illness causes symptoms encompassing febrility, shivering, cephalalgia, corporeal discomfort, and myalgia, alongside cognitive alterations varying from disorientation to a state of unconsciousness, as reported by the CDC.

Despite its historical confinement to a specific geographical expanse in the Asia-Pacific, christened as the “tsutsugamushi triangle,” characterized by its profound humidity and scrub vegetation, this domain is currently undergoing expansion. A scientific assessment from 2018 underscores that over 1 billion individuals are imperiled by this disease, with this figure surging exponentially.

What instigated concern?

Scrub typhus is merely one amongst a slew of vector-borne maladies (those transmitted to humans via blood-sucking insects) that are witnessing a surge, owing to the escalating temperatures of our planet. Dengue fever, babesiosis, Lyme disease, malaria, and a host of others are all on the ascendant.

“As meteorological factors assume a pivotal role in fostering a conducive milieu for the proliferation of chiggers,” articulated Tandin Zangpo, a medical epidemiologist at Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences and co-author of another research paper on scrub typhus. “This concomitantly implies that climate fluctuations will exert profound ramifications on the incidence of scrub typhus outbreaks. Should alterations in climatic conditions culminate in a scenario wherein precipitation and humidity attain levels propitious for mite propagation, we may witness a heightened frequency of outbreaks.”

What countermeasures are being enacted?

Zangpo advocated for the adoption of a One Health paradigm to tackle the scourge of scrub typhus and other zoonotic disease outbreaks. As per the tenets delineated by the World Health Organization, “One Health epitomizes an amalgamated, harmonizing approach aimed at optimizing the health equilibrium of humans, animals, and ecosystems. Leveraging the intricate, symbiotic ties among these realms, novel methodologies for surveillance and disease mitigation are conceptualized.”

In a broader context, we must desist from practices—primarily the utilization of pollutant-laden energy sources such as gas and oil—that precipitate the planetary overheating phenomenon and transition instead towards clean, sustainable energy alternatives like wind and solar power.

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