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Scrub typhus (Orientia tsutsugamushi), A rapidly spreading epidemic in Chennai - A standalone lab experience

Sripriya C.S.*, Shanthi B., Arockia Doss S., Antonie Raj I., Mohana priya


Scrub typhus (Orientia tsutsugamushi), is a strict intracellular bacterium which is reported to be a recent threat to parts of southern India. There is re-emergence of scrub typhus during the past few years in Chennai. Scrub typhus is an acute febrile illness which generally causes non-specific symptoms and signs. The clinical manifestations of this disease range from sub-clinical disease to organ failure to fatal disease. This study documents our laboratory experience in diagnosis of scrub typhus in patients with fever and suspected clinical symptoms of scrub typhus infection for a period of two years from April 2014 to April 2016 using immunochromatography and IgM ELISA methods. The study was conducted on 648 patients out of whom 188 patients were found to be positive for scrub typhus. Results also showed that pediatric (0 -12 years) and young adults (20 – 39 years) were more exposed to scrub typhus infection and female patients were more infected compared to male. The study also showed that the rate of infection was higher between September to February which also suggested that the infection rate is proportional to the climatic condition. Statistical analysis showed that the mean age of the patients in this study was 37.6, standard deviation was 18.97, CV % was 50.45. 


Scrub typhus; Orientia tustugamushi; Immunochromatography; IgM ELISA

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