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Written by Roxanne Royce from Colorado Travel Health
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April '10- Scrub typhus, a disease caused by the bites of chiggers (mite larva) has killed 5 people in Meghalaya India and affected more than 80 others, particularly in the rural areas of the state.

Symptoms of this illness include a fever, headache, chills and generalized swelling of the lymph nodes which develop suddenly (after the 6 to 12 day incubation period). The site of the bite develops into a red, hardened lesion which eventually turns into a fluid-filled blister which ruptures and forms a black scab. A rash also develops which will either disappear rapidly or become more pronounced (deeper color and maculopapular). During the first week of fever a cough is typical and during the second week, pneumonitis may develop.

Sometimes more serious symptoms may develop and without treatment these cases are often fatal. In these cases, a reduction in blood pressure, stupor, muscular twitching and delirium can develop. Enlargement of the spleen, inflammation of the heart and a persistant high fever may also be present. With treatment, however, recovery is common.

It is important to apply repellents to one's skin containing DEET or Picaradin and permethrin to one's clothing when in rural areas.

Written by Roxanne Royce of Colorado Travel Health
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