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Beware of dengue-like fever, warns doctors in the State

Bengaluru: Doctors have said patients who test negative for dengue despite exhibiting its typical symptoms should be screened for Scrub Typhus, which could be an epidemic in the near future.

The advisory comes in the light of the State reporting a large number of dengue cases, while Scrub Typhus, the dengue-like fever that has been widely reported, is hardly being screened for.

Scrub Typhus, a viral fever, could be a cause for worry if not screened effectively, City-based doctors have said. Two cases of its infection have been reported at Vanivilas Hospitals, where 363 people were screened for dengue.

Dr Asha Benakappa, head of the Department of Paediatrics at Vanivilas Hospitals, told Deccan Herald: “Symptoms of this illness hardly differ from those of dengue, and children are the most affected. Patients will have fever for over a week, rashes, vomiting and diarrhoea.”

When a person is tested negative for dengue despite these typical symptoms, he or she should be screened for Scrub Typhus.

The acute infection is caused by the bite of mites, ticks or body lice, said doctors. Painless skin lesions can appear at the site of the bite, said Benakappa.

“This could even look like typhoid. The infection could be mild to severe, and life-threatening if severe. In severe cases, it could lead to enlargement of the spleen and liver. It can be treated with antibiotics,” she said.

The Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI) has also been screening patients for this infection.

The disease, which was seen in other Asian countries like Japan, China, Tibet and Pakistan, is now being widely reported here, especially in rural Karnataka. Cases were reported from Chikkaballapur and Kollegal earlier.

A State Health Department official said samples of the suspected patients are being sent from Chikkaballapur to the BMCRI as there are a few labs testing it there.

Dr Vishwanath Veeranna, Director (in-charge) at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health Hospital, said sporadic cases have been reported.

“It is reported mostly during heavy rain and from overcrowded places. Unhygienic conditions are a leading cause for this. The laboratory test done to confirm the infection is called ‘Weil Felix’. Low body hygiene puts a person at risk of infection,” he added.
He also said it was important for one to be diagnosed early as treatment at later stages could be difficult

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