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Travel health information for people travelling abroad from the UK

Scrub Typhus in India

14 May 2015

The media has reported on the rickettsial infection, scrub typhus, in India. Scrub typhus is normally an infection associated with rural communities where the vector is more common. More recently, however, scrub typhus has increasingly been detected in residents of the outskirts of cities across the country.

The increase is thought to be attributed to rising urbanization. The vectors, (ticks) have been found in urban shrubbery. The increase in transport, influx of people and the extention of city limits into rural areas is contributing to the problem.

Cases of rickettsioses have been reported from several states in India, including Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Advice for Travellers

Scrub typhus is transmitted by the bite of an infected mite larva. Travellers should take precautions against bites including the use of insect repellents on the skin and clothes and covering the skin as much as possible (long sleeves and long trousers tucked into socks).